Aliki Economides

Portrait of Aliki Economides

B.Arch (professional degree), University of Toronto

M.Arch (post-professional degree in the history and theory of architecture), McGill University

M.A. History of Science, Harvard University

Ph.D. History and Theory of Architecture, Harvard University


As CIRM Resident Scholar for 2016, Aliki Economides brings to CIRM her interdisciplinary approach to the study of culture. An alumna of McGill who has a background in the practice as well as the theory and history of architecture, in addition to training in the history of science, her research probes the ways in which the built environment participates in the construction of individual and collective identities. Since completing her Ph.D. at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design in the spring of 2015, Economides has been teaching design studio and architectural history at the Université de Montréal’s École d’architecture.

Her first book manuscript, entitled Constructing Identity: Ernest Cormier and the Project of Modernity, explores the world and work of French-Canadian architect and engineer Ernest Cormier (1885-1980), to analyze understudied yet illuminating insights into sociocultural and architectural modernity in Montréal during the interwar period. More broadly, the book contributes to examining the figure of the architect, and the architect's contributions to modern design culture, as well as their place within the life of the modern city.

During her residency at CIRM, Economides also pursued several other interrelated projects. In the chapter she is contributing to the forthcoming Ashgate Research Companion to Art Deco, Economides concentrates on the relationship between architecture and sculpture within art deco aesthetics. Focusing on the bas-reliefs incorporated into the house that Cormier designed for himself in Montréal’s upscale ‘Golden Mile’ neighborhood in 1930, she analyzes how these ornamental objects spatially and indexically operate as vital constituents of the house’s form and meaning.

In parallel, her research into the artistic and intellectual life of Montréal during the 1920s is being pursued in an article on the purpose-built artist’s studio and garden that Cormier designed for himself in the early 1920s, following the formative decade (1908-1918) he spent in Europe, studying, working and traveling. Seeking to recreate a Parisian-styled milieu in Montréal, he gathered around him a number of the city’s emerging avant-garde artists, notably some who were involved in the production of the short-lived but important journal Le Nigog, which polemically sought to bring modern sophistication to the arts in Québec.

Economides also contributed directly to several of CIRM’s research initiatives, including a chapter (co-authored with Colin MacWhirter) to the Centre’s forthcoming book Living Together/Vivre Ensemble, whose publication in 2017 will commemorate Montréal’s 375th anniversary. Focusing on the Ville-Marie Expressway, which was one of the most ambitious large-scale urban planning initiatives advanced in the 1960s, this chapter critically examines the expressway’s sociocultural implications, its impact on the city’s civic potential, and the conflicting notions of the identity of Montréal that it embodies.


Research areas

History and theory of architecture and urbanism

Architecture’s capacity to communicate and construct identity

Ornament, style and the decorative arts (19th-21stC)

Sociocultural and urban history of Montréal (20th century emphasis)

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