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Dr Irit Katz BArch, MA, PhD


Irit Katz is an architect and scholar who focuses on the socio-political and cultural aspects of architecture and urbanism. Her work examines the dynamic relations between the built environment and the changing human condition, covering a range of historical and contemporary areas and geographical contexts. She is particularly interested in the processes through which human environments are formed and reshaped in extreme situations such as forced displacement and violent conflicts, as well as in the role of spaces of everyday life in mediating social, ethnic and cultural diversity. Her research examines these environments as ever-changing spatial constellations through which political negotiations and cultural transformations are staged and reworked. 

Irit’s research has won numerous academic awards including the SAH/Mellon Author Award and the RIBA President’s Award for Research and her work has appeared in a number of peer-reviewed journals including Public Culture, City, Political Geography, Progress in Human Geography and The Journal of Architecture. Her forthcoming monograph, The Common Camp: Spatial Instruments of Power and Resistance on the Edge of Architecture (University of Minnesota Press), focuses on Israel-Palestine as an extensive laboratory of camps and examines how camps, whether employed by colonial, national and global powers as instruments of control or constructed ad hoc as makeshift spaces of resistance and refuge, are used as versatile mechanisms by which modern societies and territories are administered, negotiated and reorganised. In her forthcoming co-edited volume Camps Revisited (Rowman & Littlefield’s series Geopolitical Bodies, Material Worlds), the multifaceted spatial forms and meanings of the camp are examined in multiple geopolitical contexts.

Irit held academic position at the University of Pennsylvania, the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), and the University of Sheffield. She holds a PhD in Architecture from the University of Cambridge, MA (Magna Cum Laude) in Hermeneutics and Cultural Studies and a B.Arch (Cum Laude) in Architecture. Her career as a practicing architect in Tel Aviv and in London includes work on large scale housing projects such as Peabody Avenue social housing in Pimlico, London (for Haworth Tompkins) and the design of the winning entry for the English Partnerships bid for the housing scheme of the Victorian Stonehouse Hospital in Dartford, Kent (for HTA Architects).

Research Interests

  • Spaces of displacement, migration and refuge
  • Urban spaces of ethnic and cultural diversity, exclusion and inequality
  • Camps (refugee camps, migrant camps, resettlement camps, protest camps, detention camps, etc.)
  • Transnational and urban borderscapes
  • Spaces of conflict and violence
  • Housing, including rights and evictions, emergency shelters and diaspora homes
  • The relations between politics, aesthetics, and poetics
  • Prticipatory architecture and urban design
  • Critical theories, including urban critical theories, feminist theories, post/decolonial theories and political philosophy

I would be interested in supervising PhD students in any of the topics listed above.

Key Publications


The Common Camp: Spatial Instruments of Power and Resistance on the Edge of Architecture (forthcoming, University of Minnesota Press).  

(edited with Claudio Minca & Diana Martin) Camps Revisited: Multifaceted Spatialities of a Modern Political Technology (in Rowman & Littlefield's book series ‘Geopolitical Bodies, Material Worlds’). 

Peer-reviewed articles

2019  (with Martin D. and C. Minca) Rethinking the Camp: On Spatial Technologies of Power and Resistance, Progress in Human Geography.

2017   Between bare life and everyday life: spatialising the new migrant camps in Europe, Amps: Architecture_Media_Politics_Society (journal of UCL Press).

2017   The Common Camp: Temporary Settlements as a Spatio-Political Instrument in Israel-Palestine, The Journal of Architecture, 22 (1), 54-103.

2016   Camp evolution and Israel’s creation: between ‘state of emergency’ and ‘emergence of state’, Political Geography, 55, 144-155.

2015   Spreading and Concentrating: the Camp as the Space of the Frontier, City, ‘Durable Camps’ special issue, 19(5), 722-735.

2010   Spaces Stretch Inward: Interactions between Architecture and Minor Literature', Public Culture, 22/3 (62), 425-432.

Book chapters

2020   Precariousness and Protest: Negotiating Urban Refuge in Cairo and Tel Aviv. In: Goldhill, S. (ed.), Being Urban: Community, Conflict and Belonging in the Middle East. Routledge.

2020   Adhocism, Agency and Emergency Shelter: On Architectural Nuclei of Life in Displacement. In: T. Scott-Smith & M. E. Breeze (eds.), Structures of Protection: Rethinking Refugee Shelter. Berghahn Books.

2019   En Route: The Networked Mobile Border Camps of Northern France. In Darshani Pieris, A. (ed.), Architecture on the Borderline: Boundary politics and built space. In the book series ‘Architext’ of Routledge.

2018  (with Minca C. and D. Martin) The Camp Reconsidered’. First co-author  In I. Katz, C. Minca & D. Martin (eds.), Camps Revisited. London: Rowman & Littlefield (2018), pp. 1-14.

2018   (with Parsloe T., Poll Z. and Scafe-Smith A.), The Bubble, the Airport, the Jungle: Europe’s Urban Migrant Camps. In I. Katz, C. Minca & D. Martin (eds.), Camps Revisited. London: Rowman & Littlefield (2018), pp. 61-82.

2018  (with Gueguen-Teil C.) On the Meaning of Shelter: Living in Calais’ Camps de la Lande.  In I. Katz, C. Minca & D. Martin (eds.), Camps Revisited. London: Rowman & Littlefield (2018), pp. 83-98.

2012   Tents, in The Political Lexicon of the Social Protest, Israel (Summer 2011- ), Editor: Ariel Handel, Hakibbutz Hameuchad Publishing House, Tel Aviv (In Hebrew).

Journal papers, commentaries, reviews and online essays

2018   Urban Recalibrations and Radical Potentials, a book review on 'Rethinking Life at the Margins' edited by Michele Lancione, City (forthcoming).

2018   (with Ammar Azzouz), Fleeing Home at Home: Internal Displacement in Homs, Syria. The Middle East Centre website of The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

2017   Architecture of Control and Struggle: Camps and the Reordering of Populations and Territories in Israel-Palestine. Architecture Beyond Europe (ABE), vol. 12 (2017). Journal of Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS) & Institut national d'histoire de l'art (INHA).

2017   Homeland: Zionism as Housing Regime 1860-2011 by Yael Allweil (a book review), Traditional Dwellings and Settlements Review (TDSR), vol. XXIX (2017), pp. 88-89. Journal of the Center for Environmental Design Research, University of California at Berkeley.

2017   Pre-fabricated or Freely fabricated?, Forced Migration Review, ‘Shelter in Displacement’ issue, vol. 54, 17-19 (journal of University of Oxford; also translated to Arabic, French and Spanish).

2017   (with Felipe Hernández) Urban Spaces of Internal Displacement in Mexico: Reproducing Inequalities, ReVista: Harvard Review of Latin Americs. XVI-2, 58-60.  

2017   A Global Infrastructure of Camps, an essay for the MoMA exhibition Insecurities: Tracing Displacement and Shelter.

2016   The Common Camp, The RIBA Journal December 2016, p. 38.

2016   A network of camps on the way to Europe, Forced Migration Review, 'Destination Europe', 51, 17-19 (journal of University of Oxford; also translated to Arabic, French and Spanish).

2015   From Spaces of Thanatopolitics to Spaces of Natality – A Commentary on ‘Geographies of the Camp’', Political Geography, 49, 84-86.

2007   Spaces Stretch Inward, Theory and Criticism, Volume 30, 231-236, Van-Lir Institute, Jerusalem (In Hebrew).

Selected awards and fellowships

2018   SAH/Mellon Author Award for The Common Camp: Instruments of Power and Resistance on the Edge of Architecture.

2018          Postdoctoral Fellowship, Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Arts (of Yale University - in London).

2017-18     Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of Pennsylvania's Perry World House.

2017   The Annual Ben Halpern Award for the Best Dissertation in Israel Studies, the Association for Israeli Studies. 

2017         The Society of Architectural Historians (SAH) Opler Grant for Emerging Professionals.

2016          The RIBA President’s Awards for Research in the ‘Cities and Communities’ category.

2013          The James Morris Essay Prize, The Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain.

2012-14     Girton College Scholarship Awards.

Teaching interests

History and theory of architecture and urbanism, including the political, social and cultural aspects of the built environment, participatory architecture and urban design, built environments facing extreme condiitons, and architectural design. 

Undergraduate Teaching [2020-2021]

  • Part IB: Acting through Architecture: Design Activism and Participatory Design Approaches [8 lectures]
  • Part II: Thresholds and Borderlines: Space and Power on the Edge of Architecture [4 lectures]