Dr Ioana Popovici

Dr Ioana Popovici

Lecturer in Architecture

School of Art, Design and Architecture (Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business)



Teaching roles within BA (Hons) Architecture:

Module Leader - Y1 History, Theory + Critical Context | HTCC402

Studio Tutor for Y1 - Design Studio, Communications | DESN401, DESN402, COMM401

History, Theory + Critical Context tutor for Y2 & Y3 | HTCC501, HTCC601            


PhD in Architecture | School of Art, Design and Architecture | Plymouth University

Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

B.Arch + M.Arch | Ion Mincu University of Architecture and Urbanism | Bucharest




Teaching interests

My research and teaching interests converge on the critical examination of architecture praxis - past, present, and future - in articulation with power, social, economic and cultural practices. The pedagogy of architecture and the role of language in shaping the spatial practices of the everyday also form a core area of my research focus. 

Starting from 2014, I have been supporting PU architecture students in History, Theory + Critical Context, exploring topics such as liminality, transgressive architecture, disaster-relief design, the architectural critique of neo-capitalism, sustainability, the ethics of architecture practice, etc. 

Since 2018, I have joined the Y1 Design Studio / Communications team, taking a keen interest in the pedagogy of architecture, and the intersection between my core research areas and the process of studio-based design. 

Over the past two years I have continued to support the critical curiosity and theoretical research of our Y2 and Y3 students, while also leading the History, Theory, and Critical Context module for Y1.

Other interests include photography; mixed media representations; exploring differences in the perception of architectural and urban contexts between professional and non-professional audiences; and strategies for derelict urban spaces. 



Research interests

Over the past academic year I have joined the research team of Creative Recovery: Mapping Refugees’ Memories of Home as Heritage, initiated and led by Associate Professor Sana Murrani. The project highlights the adaptive spatial agency of refugees and those affected by displacement, and proposes collaborative methodologies for creative recovery through memory and identity work centred on being at home / being in the city.


This research initiative and project is unpacked at length in a final report co-written by Associate Professor Sana Murrani and myself.

Alongside BA(hons) Arch Y1 Leader Toshiko Terazono, and Dr Karen Wickett (Lecturer in Early Childhood Studies), I have been supporting the Y1 architecture students' engagement in community-based, inter-disciplinary design with a strong focus on the collaborative, social, and pedagogical facets of the architectural gesture. One of the projects resulting from this initiative, an outdoors classroom for the the Riverside Community Primary School, has been shortlisted for the RIBAJ MacEwen Award: 


Additional research interest carried through from my PhD project focus on discursive interference between several fields – politics, the profession, economy, and socio-cultural practices. Broader research interests include architecture theory in totalitarian regimes, the urban development of modern Bucharest, industrial architecture, and intersections between architecture, philosophy, cultural theory and social sciences in a variety of geo-cultural contexts.  

Research groups




Co-authored reports: 

Sana Murrani and Ioana Popovici, 'Mapping Creative Recovery' (European Cultural Foundation, 2020)



(upcoming – 2020-21) Sana Murrani, Helen Lloyd, and Ioana Popovici, ‘Between Memory and Mapping: Journeys through Spatial Recovery in Forced Displacement’, Social and Cultural Geography.

2017 - 'Communist Romanian architecture. Des critiques autres: song, comedy, caricature', Critical Context Journal  (2017), 93-96.

2016 - 'Two Churches and A Hat: The National Bucharest Theatre or the Mythology of Post-War Romanian

      Architecture', PARSE Journal, 3 (2017), 109-128.

2014 - 'Architecture Competitions – A Space for Political Contention. Socialist Romania, 1950–1956',
      Journal of Architecture and Urbanism, 38 (2014), 24-38.

     - ‘The City as a Part of Nature, and Concrete as a Kind of Earth'. Japanese Architecture Meets 1960s-1980s 

       Romanian Modernism, studies in History & Theory of Architecture, 2 (2014), 116-139.

 2013 - 'Star-topped Spires and Cardboard Heroes. Soviet Socialist Realism in Arhitectura R.P.R.', studies in History &

       Theory of Architecture, 1 (2013), 60-77.

Other Publications

2019 - 'Arhitectura 1950-1989. Interstitial Spaces of Communist Romanian Architecture' (unpublished doctoral thesis, University of Plymouth, 2019)



Reports & invited lectures

Conferences abroad: 

21-22 Nov 2019 - European Foundation Centre - Arts and Culture Thematic Network - invited to present the Mapping Creative Recoveries project


Plymouth University:

2019 - Oct - Y2 HTCC501 guest lecture: 'Shaping ethical architecture practice: between professional culture and individual ethos'

         - Y1 Communications lecture / workshop: 'Architectural drafting | Orthographic projection | Axonometric projection | Plan and Elevation'

2019 - Jan - Y1 Communications lecture / workshop: 'Analytical Photography in Architecture' 

2018 - Oct - Y1 Critical Context lecture: 'Radical vs. Liveable. Moments of Rupture and Patterns of Flow'

2012 - Dec - M.Arch Design Studio lecture: 'Bucharest - city out of sync'

Other academic activities

Ion Mincu University of Architecture and Urbanism | Bucharest

 2011 Feb - 2012 June: History & Theory of Architecture and Heritage Conservation Department
 'Architecture, dwelling, city' course, 2nd year of study B. Arch | teaching assistant