Dr. Iliona Outram Khalili is a professional architect registered in the U.K. As a Master Builder in Earth Architecture, her practice specialises in load-bearing masonry. As a theoretician, her doctoral research translates between theology and earth architecture to deduce the hands-on spirituality of the master builders of Hagia Sophia in Thessaloniki.
My enduring interest is, “How can architects re-awaken the knowledge, latent in the world’s diverse religious systems, of architectural design and building construction as an orderly process of spiritual guidance?”
This includes the process of “research and in-search” in the architect’s education; unity within diverse multiplicity enabled through making and design practices; the architect as master builder or project manager; the principle of “acheiropoieton”; working with properties and qualities and the process of analogy; the universal elements of earth, water, air and fire as architectural design generators and innovators; integrating digital fabrication with traditional masonry; sustainable eco-villages circumscribed within the suburban sprawl.
Academic and professional qualifications
ARB registered (2013-present)
PhD, University of Kent, Canterbury (awarded 2023)
Associate lecturer, School of Architecture and Planning, University of Kent, Canterbury (2021-2022)
Director, New Earth UK (formerly Ansari Sustainable Living UK), London (2012-present); Director, Ansari Sustainable Living LLC, Nassau New York (2009-2012)
Associate lecturer (ARP “Desert Studio”, and seminars: ARP1 Sustainable Materials, ARP2 Sustainable Energy) at SCI-Arc (Southern California Institute of Architecture), Los Angeles, California (2000-2007).
Co-Founder and Co-Director of Cal-Earth Institute (California Institute of Earth Art and Architecture) Hesperia, California (1991 – 2009)
Associate Architect at E. Nader Khalili and Associates, Hesperia, California (1993-2009)
English, Greek, Italian, French
Projects and initiatives
Projects, workshops and lectures after 2009:
- In the USA: AQRT Sufi Church, Community Centre planning permission and Farmhouse renovation with sustainable practices (2009-2012)
- In Spain: IAAC (Institute of Advanced Architecture Catalunya) lecture to the Advanced Architecture group Masters degree class; (2019) and Domoterra Institute, hands-on workshops (2012 - 2017)
- In Bangladesh: a) Masterclasses in Earth Architecture and Eco-Village design at The Bengal Institute (2016), and HBRI (Housing and Building Research Institute) (2013 & 2015) b) Lectures at BUET (Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology); Southeast University; Ahsanullah University (2014); UNESCO World Heritage Volounteers, Paharpur (2022).
- In the U.K.: Lectures at the Architectural Association School, London (2013); University of Kent, Canterbury (2013). Hands-on workshops: “Rumi Dome” at Caravanserai community garden, Canning Town, London (2014); Thresholds Centre retreat, Shropshire (2013).
- In Nepal: Real-time construction training of local architects, students and volunteers on post-earthquake transitional dome home (2015).
- In Cyprus: a) Nicosia University, seminar (2016); East Mediterranean University (2016, 2022) b) Bi-Communal hands-on workshops at permaculture farms in Petrera and Ayia Irini (2015, 2016).
- In Tanzania: Training villagers and labourers to construct an Eco-Dome village home (2010).
- In Czechia: Jindřichovice Pod Smrkem, Eco-Dome (2010)
- In France: Atelier Superadobe, Varennes-Saint-Saveur (2018)
- In India: a) Keynote speaker at “Green Design in Interior Architecture”, Kolkata (2015). b) Visva Bharati University, West Bengal, Masterclass for ceramics, fine art, and sculpture students which built the “Ceramic Dome Tagore” at Kala Bhavana, and glaze-fired it in-situ (2015).
Prizes and awards
CHASE doctoral scholarship (2018-2021)
Aga Khan Award for Architecture: Project Manager for ‘Sandbag Shelter Prototypes’ by architect Nader Khalili / Cal-Earth (2004).
Membership of professional associations
RIBA chartered member (2014 – present)