Nina Alaily-Mattar holds a PhD in Planning Studies from UCL and is research associate at TUM's Chair of Urban Development since 2014. For the past five years, she has been researching processes, outputs and impacts associated with Star Architecture. Most recently she has co-edited the book titled “About Star Architecture: Reflecting on Cities in Europe” (Alaily-Mattar et al. 2020). She has increasingly become interested in questions of how exceptional architecture projects support political projects and the role of media exposure and narratives in this process. In the past thirty years numerous local public agencies commissioned internationally acclaimed architects for the design of public cultural facilities that help re-position their cities on global networks by expressing global cultural references that draw attention and recognition of a global audience. Buildings by such architects have not only received acclaim in the wider media, they have often been idolized in architecture teaching and architectural press. In architecture research such buildings have been often formally and architecturally scrutinized, yet their discursive power- especially that associated with their recognition status- evades critical investigation.
During her time as Feodor Lynen Research Fellow at the TU Delft, Nina will focus on researching the processes through which architecture practices work to enable their architectural artefacts to perform narratively. Under the title “The Making of Architecture for Narrative Performance– A View from Architecture Practice” she aims to understand the nexus between publicly funded architecture and the production of collective identity. She argues that a key aspect of the contribution of architecture to collective identity is its narrative performance; namely, the capacity of architecture to perform in such a manner that it enables the interpreter of this performance to build a certain cognitive construct or mental image. Uncovering these processes is significant for advancing our understanding of the sustained political power of architecture and the contingent nature of architecture production.