European Architectural History Network Fourth International Meeting Dublin Castle 2-4 June 2016, Call for Paper

European Architectural History Network – Fourth International Meeting – Dublin Castle 2-4 June 2016
Abstracts are invited for the sessions and round tables listed below.  They may be submitted between 1 June and 30 September 2015. Abstracts of no more than 300 words should be submitted to the conference website along with applicant’s name, professional affiliation, title of paper or position, a C.V. of no more than five pages, home and work addresses, e-mail addresses and telephone numbers.
More information:

Time Travel
Upon his arrival in Pompeii, Stendhal stated that he felt “transporté dans l’antiquité”, and that by studying the ruins of Pompeii first-­‐hand “one immediately knows more than a scholar.” The ruins and rubble induced a feeling of time travel, and the place revealed a feeling of history of a sort that he obviously found more profound than scholarly, written history. By experience, the history of the place came alive, so to speak. At the same time, in 1818, Quatremère de Quincy travelled to London to inspect the Elgin Marbles. Exposed to the massively dismembered building parts as installed in a provisory gallery adjacent to the British Museum under construction, he felt as if propelled back to their moment of creation, to the Athenian construction site or the studio, “you are confounded at the quantity of work and speed of execution that were required to carry off such an enterprise at once so quickly and so perfectly.” Respect for such architectural time travel waned by the end of the century when the idea that art and architecture are products of a particular period and place, promoted by art historians like Heinrich Wőlfflin, took hold. After Friedrich Nietzsche condemned the study of history a dubious pursuit, looking forward, rather than looking backward, became the mantra of modern architecture.
Alternative approaches to time and change emerged at the mid 20th  century, when architects and historians became increasingly interested in establishing historical continuities. For example, the exhibition “La Mostra di Studi sulle Proporzioni” at the 1951 Ninth Milan Triennale displayed photographic reproductions of buildings from different eras on a three-­‐dimensional lattice, which allowed the eye to trace analogies without a particular chronology. Similarly, Sigfried Giedion saw the baroque in a similar vain: a timeless synthetic impulse. Yet, despite this sea change in historical imagination, the idea that architecture should be in sync with its time prevailed. When Eero Saarinen later in the 1950s mimicked a medieval Italian hilltown for his Morse and Stiles Colleges at Yale University, Reyner Banham deemed the outcome a mere stage set, suggesting that such time travel belonged to theatre, not to architecture.
Art historian George Kubler can be credited for revealing the methodological shortcomings of modern historiography, demonstrating in his landmark The Shape of Time: Remarks on the History of Things (1962) how formal motifs get transmitted through time and space. Kubler stated that ”even architecture … is guided from one utterance to the next by the images of the admired buildings of the past, both far and near in time.” Yet, insistence of periodization and obsession with newness still dominates how we think of architecture’s relationship to time. This session investigates conflating or competing temporalities, beyond the mere chronological schemes that have governed modern historiography. We invite papers that discuss convoluted constellations of architecture and time drawing on documents and monuments, images, landscapes, or cities.
Mari Lending
Department of Form, Theory and History
The Oslo School of Architecture and Design
Box 6768 St. Olavs Plass
N-0130 Oslo, Norway
+47 9229 7220
Eeva-Liisa Pelkonen
Yale School of Architecture
180 York Street/ New Haven, CT 06511 USA
+ 1.203.4368056

Architecture and the Neoliberal Turn
Recent scholarship on the postwar period has significantly revised our understanding of architectural modernism by examining the complex role of architecture in larger historical processes such as the expansion of the welfare state, decolonization, and Cold War modernization. In doing so, such scholarship implicitly or explicitly posits the 1970s as a historical break, dually marked by economic restructuring and the advent of a new cultural condition. While innovative studies are currently being pursued on the architecture of this period, analysis continues to be elided by recourse to black-boxed terms such as “postmodernism” and “neoliberalism.” Yet what exactly is the historical relationship between architecture—whether we call it postmodern or not—and the so-called neoliberal turn?
This session aims to answer this question and in doing so, to develop new analytical and methodological approaches to the more recent history of architecture. The changing relationship between state, society, and economy during and since the 1970s is often shorthanded with the rubric of neoliberalism. Yet the term itself describes an economic theory whose roots long precede the policies of privatization, deregulation, and market reform of the Thatcher and Reagan era. Rather than to ask what a neoliberal architecture looks like, or how architecture represents neoliberalism, this session aims to examine how architecture has participated in neoliberalization—a historically and geographically specific process rather than a blanket condition.
We are looking for papers that critically deconstruct the term “neoliberalism” by shifting the focus from discourse to the analysis of specific economic or political transformations such as the reorganization of government spending, policies of deregulation, privatization, and market reform, the rise of free trade zones, and so on. Of special interest are papers that demonstrate how architectural form and materiality articulate and specify neoliberalization. We ask that papers demonstrate a method for analyzing the role of architecture in such historically and geographically specific processes. While we are primarily interested in papers covering the period since the 1970s, we also welcome approaches that provide a longer historical perspective. Topics could include but are not limited to: public housing policy and design, the transformation of participatory and community planning, the role of aesthetics in new economic formations such as the “experience economy,” the relationship between private developers and architects, the role of postmodern theory “on the ground,” the changing role of the building industry, and the global economic geography of architectural practice.
Kenny Cupers
History Program
School of Architecture
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
611 Lorado Taft Dr.
117 Temple Buell Hall, MC-621
Champaign, IL  61820 USA
+1 217 333 1331
Helena Mattsson
KTH School of Architecture
Royal Institute of Technology
100 44 Stockholm Sweden
+ 46 (0) 70 721 35 12

“Big Data” in Architectural Historiography
Traditionally, architectural research has privileged qualitative narratives about individual objects considered singular, isolating these works as exemplary within larger series of buildings or sites. Only rarely were architectural thinkers concerned with large collections of building data with some spatial, temporal or social coherence. However, this stress on isolated buildings contrasts with the fact that architecture, since the late 19th century at the latest, has become a mass phenomenon related to other mass systems of production, consumption, management and governance.
In line with the current discussions of the “digital humanities”, and in the context of political critiques of big data urbanism as potentially undemocratic, this session aims at rethinking, discussing and developing architectural research based on large data sets. We encourage submissions of papers which address both historical examples of the use of large data sets for architectural production since the late 19th century and in a global perspective as well as contemporary scholarly uses of “big data” for analysis of historical and contemporary built environments. The large data sets may be numerical, visual/typological, textual, or otherwise defined by the proposed submission. We are especially looking for papers which analyze data by means of digital tools, techniques, and media, which may include graphic methods of knowledge production (rather than simply visualization).
In particular, this panel aims at addressing the epistemic gains of large data research, as well as its methodological and conceptual affordances and blind spots. What quantity of data is “big” in architectural history? How does it change the research question? What happens to an analysis of buildings in this environment? Are certain topics privileged, for example the history of reception and construction, while others are put aside, such as art history of design? Are conceptual frameworks considering architecture a part of larger social processes (“production of space”) taking over specific architectural concepts? Or, rather, could the analysis of visual data renew such traditional concepts in architectural historiography as that of typology? Does architectural history based on “big data” foreground powerful actors who produced records? Or, rather, can aggregate actors be revealed by the application of such quantifiable categories as labor, a common denominator for many agents? How can new, alternative archives be produced? Does large data research privilege certain types of explanations while omitting others; for example, does it run into the danger of reducing causality to correlation? All proposals that address these questions or others are welcome.
Paul B. Jaskot
CASVA-National Gallery
2000 B South Club Drive
Landover, MD 20785 USA
1.202. 842-6643
Łukasz Stanek
Manchester Architecture Research Centre
School of Environment & Development
Room 1.12, Humanities Building
University Of Manchester
Oxford Road
Manchester M139PL United Kingdom
+44 (0) 161 275 0257

 ‘What is Europe?’ Roundtable
The emergence of new, European-wide architectural history groupings like EAHN and  ABE Journal (Architecture Beyond Europe) encourage us to think more about the entity – Europe – that underpins them and the way it functions in our discipline. These new groupings and journals may enliven debates about how strongly that entity, whether geographical (Europe as continent) or conceptual (Europe as idea), might be played up as a core element of our work and what the consequences of such moves might be.  The potential for Europe to act as either a bulwark against encroachment (in disciplinary terms, a definition of limits) or as a means towards colonization (a license to take in wider areas), will no doubt also loom large. Definitional tightness and definitional looseness both have their problems, while Europe as idea and Europe as geographical referent may not be so easily separated.
Nations and regions, rather than continents, have tended to be used as frameworks in architectural history. Where ‘European architecture’ framed historical studies it was often a synonym for the classical tradition or for Christian architecture. Perhaps, similarly, in foregrounding Europe again as entity, there may be more than an undertow of the European Union, the sense of an intellectual phenomenon opportunistically emerging alongside contemporary political and economic phenomena.
Thus we might want to reconsider that poorly theorized term ‘Eurocentrism’ in architectural terms. Might it now be regarded as a local example of a wider cultural phenomenon, or is there really something uniquely European about its centricity? And, in either case, how have the practices and experiences of architecture contributed?
There are many all-too familiar accounts in which European architecture, like European empires, spread by influence or imposition like either a beam of light or a stain across the world. But what happens to ‘Europe’ during the various phases and forms of that spreading? The edges of the phenomenon may be where its characteristics are most sharply defined and most blurred; it is there that non-European agents claim the phenomenon as their own; there that motley and trans-cultural forms question what was taken for granted; but there, too, that what is universal may come into sharper clarity. Where does European architecture stop beyond Europe?
This roundtable invites discussants to reflect on all of these issues.
Mark Crinson
Art History & Visual Studies
Mansfield Cooper Building
University of Manchester
Manchester M13 9PL United Kingdom
+44 (0) 161 275 2242

Beyond Constructivism: Soviet Early-Modernist Architecture Revisited
Architectural production of the two decades after the October Revolution is often, from the perspective of a Western architectural historian, neatly divided into two eras: that of “Constructivism” in the 1920s and that of “Socialist Realism” in the 1930s.  However, this periodization might be considered too neat.  The dichotomy of Constructivism and Socialist Realism is based on an assumption that the course of Soviet architecture directly mirrored the changes in the political regime—an assumption that simplifies the complex and complicate character of early-Soviet architectural theory.  For example, whereas Classicism and Expressionism enjoyed a noticeable presence in Soviet architecture during the 1920s, in the subsequent decade, the former avant-gardists created prominent experimental works that offered their vision of the new Soviet architecture.
Moreover, in subsuming all avant-garde production under the notion of “Constructivism,” architectural history follows a tradition developed by art historians, who singled out a movement that, as it seemed, presaged the forms of post-Second-World-War American art. In fact, however, apart from the work of the Constructivist OSA group, Soviet architectural avant-garde entailed a vast variety of non-Constructivist movements and practices, such as Nikolai Ladovskii’s Rationalism, Il’ia Golosov and Konstantin Mel’nikov’s neo-Expressionist fascination with form, or Iakov Chernikhov’s architectural fantasies. By challenging reductive periodization, architectural historians can better grasp the complexity of Soviet early-modernist architectural landscape, stylistic overlaps, and the diversity of practices and theories that constituted it.
The aim of this panel is to go beyond the notion of Constructivism as a style-based label for the Soviet avant-garde and to present to the public academic work on the rich and stylistically and ideologically dissonant field of architectural innovation in design education, visual repertoires, politics of artistic production, and design for everyday life.  We welcome papers that present alternative accounts of Soviet Interwar modernity and its relationship to institutions of power and the scientific, artistic, political discourses of the time.
Alla G. Vronskaya
Freiburgstrasse 76A
Bern 3008
Tijana Vujosevic
University of Western Australia
School of Architecture Landscape and Visual Arts
35 Stirling Highway, Perth WA 6009
+61 08 6488 1556

The Modern Village
Although the village has been an important object of modernization, architectural history has mostly focused on the city as the locus of modernity. Yet throughout the 20th century the production of the rural space was subject to much debate and research. Situated at a more complex intersection of modernity and tradition, the village presented specific challenges of modernization, as well as national-territorial opportunities. Various modernization schemes used the village as a strategic tool to naturalize colonization, often entailing displacement and coerced resettlement, as in the case of the Nazi plans to resettle and Germanize the occupied East, Italian settlements of southern farmers in its North African colonies and resettlement projects within Italy, and Zionist rural settlements in Palestine.
The modern village was not only a nostalgic symbol of national, regional or vernacular identity. Especially since the 1930s, in regional projects inspired by Tennessee Valley Authority, it served as a symbol of progress, and was subjected to rationalization and industrial reform. By the mid twentieth century, the village became a global concern, and served as a means for active political and economic intervention. The increasing pace of urbanization, specifically in the post-colonial nations, as well as the threat of social unrest, intensified village planning endeavours. As part of the Cold War development race, rural planning expanded from national to international institutions, primarily the UN. One of the problems governments and planners faced was how to reformulate the village as an attractive alternative to the lure and paying jobs of the modern city. African governments, for example, often in cooperation with international agencies, initiated agricultural resettlement projects to control urban migration. These projects served various political goals, as in the case of the Iranian Shah’s White Revolution, whose agrarian reform served to legitimize.
This panel calls for papers that deal with the modern village and village planning, not as an isolated unit but as part of various scales: regional, national, and transnational. Papers dealing with post-war and post-colonial development plans are especially welcome. Range of topics may include but is not limited to demonstration units (as in agricultural universities, farms, or laboratories); rural planning and regional planning vis-à-vis urban centres; the work of international agencies (UN, OECD, USAID, Ford Foundation, Peace Corps, etc.) with national governments; humanitarian relief and resettlement projects.
Neta Feniger
38 Hovevey Zion St.
Tel Aviv, 6334630 Israel
Ayala Levin
15 Seaman Ave., Apt. 4F
New York NY 10034 USA
+1 919 740 7927

Architecture exhibition and the emergence of public debate on architecture, cities, and the public good in the 18th and early 19th centuries
“All the world is now writing and speaking about architecture…,” the press noted when a competition was announced for a new Royal Exchange to be erected in Dublin in 1768.   The competition results were put on public exhibition.  This was, it would seem, an almost unprecedented act, and one that recalls a practice that seems largely to have lapsed since the famed display of designs from the bronze doors to the Florence Baptistery in 1410.  Although the Jesuits had been forced to quell public opinion by displaying designs for the Chapel of St. Ignatius in the Church of Il Gesú in Rome in 1709, this was an isolated event with intent to curtail gossip rather than elicit debate.   The Dublin exhibition then would seem to be a seminal event, one that deserves much greater recognition for its novelty and a greater place in the history of modern architecture and its publics.  In the wake of Richard Wittman’s important study of the periodical press and public debate on architecture in mid-18th century, study has begun of the emergence of architecture’s contribution in relationship to the debated emergence of the public sphere (R. Wittman, Architecture, Print Culture, and the Public Sphere in Eighteenth-Century France.  Routledge, 2007).
This session invites contributions to an emerging history of the role of public exhibition of architectural designs in the creation of a public discourse on architecture, and in particular papers on the emergence of the architectural exhibition before 1851 on both sides of the Atlantic.  The exhibition of architecture is associated primarily with the rise of World’s Fairs in the mid-19th century and the episodic attempts of creating an architecture museum from Lenoir in Paris to Cottingham and Soane in London.  These were largely historical repositories.  Less attention has been paid to the entry of architecture into public venues for the display of art in Europe and the Americas in the 18th and early 19th century or the role of the exhibition in relationship to the modern renaissance of the architectural competition as means, supposedly democratic, for selecting a design, and a designer, for a public building.  While the use of exhibition in academies of art and architecture is of interest, it is the self-conscious seeking of a public, and a public discussion, which remains the main focus of the invitation to propose new evidence of the origins of a practice that had, by the mid-19th century, become an established culture.
Barry Bergdoll
Department of Art History and Archaeology
Columbia University
826 Schermerhorn Hall
1190 Amsterdam Avenue
New York, NY 10027 USA

Architectures of Waiting in the City
Visual representations of contemporary urban milieus commonly suggest precise or uninterrupted activity: People move unhindered in and out of buildings and vehicles pass smoothly through the city. However, we must acknowledge that as everyday users of the city, our activities are often punctuated by intermissions, halts, interruptions and delays. In fact, a significant amount of our time in the city is spent doing very little – simply waiting.
In contemporary culture, the places where we tend to wait are frequently pigeonholed as neutral or even unremarkable spaces; interstitial settings that are patently functional but devoid of wider consequence and meaning. Despite being a modality of participation in urban life, waiting or loitering is seen as a negative that contrasts with more active, goal-oriented activities. This session presents an opportunity to reappraise the significance of urban architectures of waiting. In doing so, it will also uncover how the phenomenon of waiting is fundamental to how we negotiate not just individual buildings or architectural settings but also the wider urban realm. More often than not, places of waiting are important thresholds, liminal spaces that communicate between two or more different locations or activities. The session proposes to explore the intricate relationships between waiting as an urban praxis – something people incontrovertibly do in the city – and the urban places or architectures of waiting that support it. It thereby will cast new light on a phenomenon that we know all too well, but whose significance as an explicitly urban phenomenon remains unexplored.
We seek innovative proposals that examine not only well-known typologies of the modern or contemporary city, such as airport departure lounges and the waiting rooms of railway or bus stations, but also atypical or improvised settings that have, for one reason or another, become spaces of waiting – what, for instance, Jeremy Till refers to as ‘slack space’ (Architecture Depends, MIT Press, 2009). A case in point is the main entrance of Trinity College Dublin where a covered archway serves as a prominent and very public waiting place in the heart of the city. But the history of architecture provides a much larger body of material that deserves interpretation, and therefore we welcome proposals from broad chronological as well as geographical contexts. For example, papers might deal with one of the sophisticated places for waiting in a pre- or early-modern city, such as the colonnaded stoas that bordered the ancient Athenian Agora, or the loggia of the Ospedale degli Innocenti of Renaissance Florence. They may also equally consider something like the lobby and plaza of the modernist Seagram Building in New York City or the main entrance lobby of Adler and Sullivan’s Auditorium Building in Chicago or contemporary examples.
Henriette Steiner
Section for Landscape Architecture and Planning
University of Copenhagen
Rolighedsvej 23
DK-1958 Denmark
+45 61796842

Constructing the ‘Georgian’: Anglo-Palladianism, Identity and Colonialism c.1700 to the Present
The Anglo-Palladian style which became popular in Britain from the 1720s, under the Georgian (German) monarchs, was then transmitted throughout the British colonies.  In locations as varied as Ireland, India, America, Australasia and the Caribbean it was used both for official buildings and the residencies of the ruling elite.  It thus became a widely understood and powerful international signifier of Anglophone culture and imperialism.  However, the forms and associations that ‘Georgian’ architecture developed in subsequent centuries varied enormously in different locales and have been little researched within an international context.  In the United States there was a reaction against the ‘colonial style’ post-Independence.  But then in the twentieth century it was reappropriated as a symbol of ‘traditional’ national and historic values.  The American timber form of the Georgian in turn became the model in other dominions, such as New Zealand and the Caribbean, where the British brick or stone original was less feasible.  Dublin is a particularly appropriate place to explore the vicissitudes of approaches to the Georgian as the Irish relationship with its British architectural legacy remained a particularly fraught one; as was seen in the conservation battles over the historic townscape from the 1960s onwards.  However, at the same time in a further twist under modernism neo-Palladianism became the most admired historical style due to its shared formal similarities with the functionalist white cube approach.  Subsequently in the postmodern classical revival of the 1980s the Georgian was again widely adopted, particularly by the new ‘townscape’ movement in the US.  Thus re-interpretations and adaptations of the Georgian have been a constant theme over the past three centuries and constitute a powerful and enduring strand in Anglophile culture across the globe.
This session seeks to address how varying and sometimes contradictory ideologies have been attached to the Georgian internationally. Papers might explore the central themes of notions of home, nation, gender, race and class in Anglo-Palladian architectural, town planning, landscape and interior design.  They might also investigate museological and curatorial constructions of the Georgian or its treatment in theoretical and historiographical texts.  The overall aim of the session is to investigate how, where, when and why the Georgian has been represented since the eighteenth century and to assess its impact as a global cultural phenomenon.
Elizabeth McKellar
Department of Art History
Open University
Milton Keynes MK7 6AA United Kingdom
+44 19 0865 4633

 Architecture and the Changing Construction of National Identity in Image, Text and Building Roundtable
This roundtable session considers the various roles played by architecture in the creation and propagation of modern national identity. The production of a particular national identity can be thought of as a series of discourses cohering to form a consistent narrative. While this may have origins within a shared language, its development often extends to the cultural appropriation of physical and built space as much as to the production of new architecture. Such acts of collection and curation serve to confer order upon the messiness of territorial histories, producing consistencies rather than revealing disruptions. Selected topological or architectural fragments become physical synecdoches for culturally constructed narratives.
Whereas national  identity  might  be  explicitly  reflected  in  new  monumental, religious,  civic  and  governmental  buildings, it  might  also  be  inferred  through more ephemeral types of architecture deployed to celebrate a particular event, or through a country’s more anonymous and ubiquitous institutional, domestic and  industrial  architecture.  Architecture’s  embedding  of  national  identity  is necessarily  complex.  Histories  are  mediated  and  disseminated  through  built artefacts  themselves  (as  they  are  restored,  reused,  become  monuments  and  so on) but also through publication, exhibition and depiction. What architecture can signify   as   a   medium   is   often   immediately   dependent   on   its   dissemination through other forms of broadcast media. Thus, the construction of such histories becomes bound up in the discourse of media as well as the discourses of identity, of nation-­‐formation etc.
These narratives, in turn, tend to become sites of contestation and interpretation, to   be   periodically   revisited   and   revised.   Recognising   that   nations   evolved different spatial and architectural strategies to define themselves over time, this roundtable  hopes  to  convene  a  conversation  across  epochs  and  geographies: between the emergent nations of the 19th  century; those whose collective history is much longer; and other, twentieth-­‐century nations for whom the language of modernism  often  promised  a  positive  break  from  an  inherited  or  imposed history.  Within  this,  the  focus  is  particularly  on  the  processes  through  which meaning  is  contested  and  revised,  exploring  the  means  by  which  buildings themselves, as well as the images and texts which accrue around them, become the bearers of different sets of cultural meanings.
Contributions are invited from those involved in the historical study and critique of the theme as well as those who continue to explore the relationship of architecture and national identity through exhibition, publication and other media.
Hugh Campbell
UCD School of Architecture
Dublin 4 Ireland
+353 1 716 2787
Gary Boyd
School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering
David Keir Building
Queens University
Belfast BT9 5AG United Kingdom
+44 28 9097 4375

Asia at Play: Ideas of Leisure and the Emergence of Modernist Recreational Landscapes, 1900-1970
Play spaces have historically functioned as temporary ideal worlds, not complete utopias but imagined perfect worlds in which people find momentary escape from everyday reality. Research on the histories of recreation in Europe and America has shown that the emergence of modernist “playscapes” in the early 20th century, such as amusement parks, expositions, theme parks and fun fairs, etc., was part and parcel of the advent of industrialization and concomitant social reform movements that sought to introduce new “free time” and collective leisure activities to the working class. While these processes helped generate new relations between work and leisure and gave new meanings to collective social life, some of these spaces also worked to reinforce existing social and cultural hierarchies and perpetuate social stratification. Meanwhile, the provision of recreational landscapes was incorporated into practices of planning, landscape architecture and real estate, where a multitude of experts, institutions and other agents participated in their development, with varied implications for the ongoing reshaping of urban forms as well as the connection between city centers and suburban territories.
Although developed under very different conditions, a variety of modernist recreational spaces emerged in major metropolises in East and Southeast Asia in the early and mid 20th century. Earlier examples include the pleasure gardens that flourished in the early 20th century and provided mass entertainment to Chinese audiences in Shanghai, the zoos and amusement parks constructed by private railway companies in Japan to facilitate suburban expansion, and the new spectator sports venues such as baseball fields in Taiwan and racecourses in other cities that were adapted from earlier colonial models. While these and other play spaces have been studied by historians, research to date has tended to approach them as discrete entities with little connection either to accelerating capitalist development in the region or the larger networks of experts, entrepreneurs and other institutional players that participated in their conception and development. Papers in this session will explore the diverse agendas, strategies and transnational exchange of knowledge in the production of recreational landscapes in East and Southeast Asia from the 1900s up to the 1970s. Of particular interest are the changing roles of recreation and their impacts on spatial relations, the adaptation of foreign planning and design models and their implications for local urban forms, the commercialization of leisure and their links with new consumption practices, and the relations between formal and informal recreational spaces.
Cecilia L. Chu
Department of Urban Planning and Design, The University of Hong Kong
717 Knowles Building, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong
Dorothy S. Tang
Division of Landscape Architecture, The University of Hong Kong
604 Knowles Building, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong

Formalizations of Ambience Since the Eighteenth Century
In recent decades, renewed scholarly attention to the space of everyday life, critiques of the ocularcentrism of architectural discourse, and technologies for visualizing and simulating otherwise unseen spatial processes have marked the ambient environment as an important field of research. This session situates architectural efforts to conceptualize the ambient within the larger historical trajectory of modernity, by focusing on cases over the past 250 years in which designers have found intangible characteristics of their physical surroundings to possess an “architecture” of their own.
If the nebulous shadows of Giambattista Piranesi’s Carceri etchings suggested an incipient desire to bring the atmospheric environment within the scope of architectural thought, Enlightenment advances in optics, pneumatic chemistry, and acoustics were already pointing the way toward a project of managing ambient characteristics of space. Miasma and airborne disease soon became issues of particularly urgent concern, both in densifying European capitals and in the less familiar environments of colonial lands, but other invisible spatial phenomena, such as the ringing of bells, proved no less politically contentious. By the time Karl Marx declared, “all that is solid melts into air,” the landscape was beginning to be defined as much by new patterns of light, sound, and foul air as by monumental buildings. These new ways of conceiving the physical environment—and the architectural techniques associated with their amelioration—set the stage for more recent critical interventions ranging from Guy Debord’s psychogeographic mappings of ambiance to R. Murray Schafer’s systematic documentation of “soundscapes.” At the scale of the building interior, too, the circulation of air, odors, and acoustic and luminous energy has been the object of increasing efforts at representation and control.
This session focuses on the modeling techniques, design procedures, and formulas that have been posited in order to make architectural sense of such intangible spatial factors. Speakers are invited to analyze projects of visualizing, diagramming, manipulating, and otherwise formalizing ambient or atmospheric phenomena, particularly those at the juncture of aesthetic and scientific interest, and to consider the role of these practices with respect to broader conceptions of architectural modernity. At stake in the session is how elusive spatial effects ordinarily thought to be experienced on a prereflective level become objects of critical architectural reflection.
Joseph Clarke
College of Architecture
Illinois Institute of Technology
State Street Drive, 2007
Chicago, IL 60616 USA
+1 312 567 3000 x 3876

Changing Identities? Planning and Building in Border Regions, a difficult European Heritage
From the very first one the European town has always been the immediate expression of social and political circumstances, its current shape appears as the result of antagonistic and individual interests. This applies as well and especially for the period between 1850, when within nationalism a discussion arose on the expression of national identities in architecture and urbanism, and 1945, when traditional and/or local architectural concepts were marginalized by an international modernism.
In the same period, from 1850 to 1945, numerous European cities located in border regions had changed their national affiliation as a result of national conflicts, rooting in the same nationalism. At this point, the border regions Schleswig, Poznan-West Prussia, Alsace-Lorraine, South Tyrol, Trentino and Slovenia should be mentioned.
As impacts of the Industrial Revolution, both new, efficient building materials and construction methods were introduced, furthermore the significant growth of cities in Europe causes the development of urbanism as an independent academic discipline. Irrespective of any national discussion, those phenomena lead to an intensive exchange of ideas and mutual, cross-border interferences. Unfortunately, due to mostly national dominated architectural historiographies, those interferences were ignored so far, only the German-French border region and the Rhine-Meuse region were investigated recently. However, it becomes more and more evident, that mainly the border regions played a key role for those interferences.
Within this session the various mutual transfer phenomenas within the European border regions should be discussed and compared; papers may be concerned with, but are not limited to:

  • How does the change of the national affiliation affect the planning and building activities and processes?
  • Are those processes in the various European border regions similar or are they all different?
  • How does the conquering nation represent itself in its new territory by architecture and urbanism?
  • Which kind of administrative, legal and/or staff structures were needed for the realisation of those concepts?
  • Which lores and traditions were used for the therefore needed elements and symbols? How were they choosen and (re)interpreted?
  • What happens to the existing, traditional and local cultures and identities in a border region after changing the national affiliation?
  • How does knowledge, e.g. knowledge on new construction materials and methods travel along Europe? Does border regions play a particular role in those travels?
  • How does the European border regions deal today with their often difficult and nationalistically charged heritage?

The aim of the session is to create a deeper knowledge of the various mutual transfer phenomenon within the European border regions, to discuss the appropriate methods and instruments of research and, last but not least, to contribute to a stronger (public) consciousness of this – literally – common European heritage.
Klaus Tragbar
Institute of Theory and History of Architecture
Unit History of Architecture and Preservation of Monuments
Leopold-Franzens-University Innsbruck
Technikerstraße 21
A–6020 Innsbruck, Austria
+43 512 507.640.10
Volker Ziegler
L’Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’architecture de Strasbourg
6-8 boulevard du Président Wilson BP 10037
67068 Strasbourg Cedex, France

Modern Nature: the Architecture of Gardens and Landscapes
In the history of modern garden and landscape design the relationship between nature and culture tends to be reduced to simple schemes. Landscape is either considered as nature (in contrast to architecture) or as architecture in itself (as an extension of the built environment). Recently, architectural historians, such as David Haney in his study of the German landscape architect Leberecht Migge, have demonstrated that these interpretations need to be revised, both theoretically and historically.
Also (landscape) architects themselves handled the nature-culture relationship in various ways, especially in the heydays of modernism. Le Corbusier, for example, conceived landscape in the first place as nature, an arcadian landscape as a setting for the white box on pilotis. A more architectural way of intervening was propagated by landscape architects who defined themselves as modernist, such as the Canadian Christopher Tunnard and the Belgian Jean Canneel-Claes. In 1937 they founded the Association Internationale d’Architectes de Jardins Modernistes (AIAJM) whose program adhered to the form follows function credo and the use of geometrical forms. However, a third position can be discerned in the work of landscape architects, such as Migge or the Dutch Jan Bijhouwer and Wim Boer, who considered gardens and landscapes as the outcome of a more ecocentric design attitude and the integration of nature and culture.
This third position is embedded in the expertise of landscape architects rather than in that of architects. Although modern landscape architects shared social and aesthetical ideals with architects and urbanists, they approached nature differently in their designs. To include this design perspective in (landscape) architectural historiography opens up the possibility of expanding the field of study with other disciplines such as biology, geography and ecology. Such a historiography then would be rooted in a discussion about the relationship between nature and culture that goes back to the nineteenth century, for example to the influential German Reformbewegung.
This session aims at exploring the possible expansion and repositioning of architectural history in Europe, by inviting reflections on the relationship between nature and culture in both design praxis and discourse of (landscape) architects in the first half of the twentieth century. It will include discussions of terms like modernity and modernism, of attitudes of (landscape) architects towards nature in design and of theoretical and historiographical issues of modern landscape architecture.
Imke van Hellemondt
VU University Amsterdam, Faculty of Humanities
De Boelelaan 1105
1081 HV Amsterdam
Bruno Notteboom
University of Antwerp, Faculty of Design Sciences
Mutsaardstraat 31
2000 Antwerp, Belgium

A Question of “Shared Culture” or of “(Selective) Borrowing(s)”? 20th Century Colonial Public Works Departments seen from a Transnational Perspective.
Despite Peter Scriver’s seminal early research on the Public Works Department (PWD) in British India (1994/2007), whose role he aptly described as the “scaffolding of empire”, scholarship on colonial architecture has remained restricted for a long time to the more prestigious buildings authored by individual architects. In recent years, a growing number of inquiries have nevertheless been conducted on the often mundane built production in various territories designed by the more anonymous technicians within these particular branches of colonial administration. These range from primarily documentary studies to more theoretically engaged investigations providing a postcolonial critique of PWD-architecture as an instrument of what Michel Foucault termed “governmentality”. Yet, in contrast with studies on colonial urban planning where a global approach has since long been introduced, even the more substantial scholarship on the topic, in particular that focusing on the 20th century, most often remains confined by the boundaries of one particular colony or empire and rarely goes beyond a mere metropole-colony framework.
By organizing this session, we argue that it is timely to engage with the links that also during those decades existed between the ideas, models and practices underlying PWD-architecture in a variety of locales. Belgian officials, for instance, looked carefully at the design of labor camps in South Africa when modeling new housing accommodations for the workers in the mining cities of Katanga or took inspiration from sanitary facilities introduced in the Dutch Indies when trying to tackle issues of urban hygiene in the Congo. Similarly, recent research has provided ample indications that the technical branches of the colonial administrations in the Portuguese Empire, which stretched out across three continents, were looking across the borders to shape their own building policies, at times even to create a “progressive image”.
We invite papers dealing with such transfers of building expertise across colonies and empires, taking into account the politics involved. This may include, for instance, transfers in terms of building regulations, building typologies and design, or the mode of production of buildings, including the management of building sites and ‘indigenous labor’. Contributions that highlight particular vectors of such transfer (conferences, specific publications, professional associations, education, study trips, etc.) are also welcomed. By bringing together new research on this topic, this session seeks to investigate to what extent this phenomenon should be understood in terms of a “shared (techno-scientific) culture” among colonial powers, or rather, as a particular form of “(selective) borrowing(s)”, to refer to Stephen Ward’s model for describing the mechanisms underlying the international diffusion of urban planning ideas and practices.
Johan Lagae
Department of Architecture and Urban Planning
Ghent University
J. Plateaustraat 22
9000 Gent, Belgium
+32 9 264 3908
Ana Viz Milheiro
Departamento de Arquitectura e Urbanismo
Escola de Tecnologias e Arquitectura, Instituto
Universitário de Lisboa
Rua Sá Nogueira
1349-055 Lisbon, Portugal

Ornament and the Renewal of Architecture in the Nineteenth Century
During the nineteenth century, the call to renew the decorative surface of architecture was heard far and wide, and from voices in diverse artistic fields. French author and critic Théophile Gautier, for instance, published an impassioned plea in 1848 decrying “old and ancient emblems . . . now empty of meaning” and calling for a “whole new, vast system of symbols” to be “invented to answer the new needs of our time.” Gautier appealed to artists and ornamentalists to collectively transform the “nudity of Parisian edifices” and “envelop them with resplendent garments” made up of decorative murals and surface ornamentation.
The call to renew ornament, however, was primarily championed by architects, many believing that experimentation in ornament would be the most expedient way of arriving at a new architecture. The thought may seem paradoxical today, especially in light of the modernist debasement of ornament by the early twentieth-century avant-garde, but architects such as Owen Jones in Britain and Victor Ruprich- Robert in France, among many others, were explicit in their belief that ornament could engender a wholly rejuvenated architectural form and expression. In Grammar of Ornament, for instance, Jones proposed that a new style of ornament would be “one of the readiest means of arriving at a new style” of architecture.
This session will examine the production and theorization of ornament as it relates to a renewal of architecture. We seek papers that consider the role that ornament played in catalyzing a reassessment of architecture in the nineteenth century. Rather than treat ornament as a vestige of pre-modern impulses, this session is premised on the understanding that ornament in the nineteenth century was the privilege terrain where the issue of the “modern” was being waged. As such, we seek papers that provide new ways of narrating the history of architectural modernism, countering the canonic view that the shedding of ornament is its most conspicuous characteristic.
Ralph Ghoche
Architecture Department
Barnard College, Columbia University
3009 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
+ 1 (212) 854-2964
Martin Bressani,
School of Architecture
McGill University
815, rue Sherbrooke oust
Montréal, Québec H3A 0C2 Canada
+1 (514) 398-5901

Exploring regionality in the architecture of the late medieval tower house
This session invites papers that explore regional patterns in the architecture of the late medieval tower house. Commonly found in both rural and urban contexts from Scotland to northern Spain, and beyond, tower houses are thought to have proliferated in kinship-based aristocracies. However, there have been few comparative studies of their architectural development, distribution and socio-political context. Unusually for a building type that has attracted many detailed regional studies, there is little research that looks beyond provincial or national borders. This session aims to bring together researchers from different parts of Europe (and potentially elsewhere) with the aim of querying issues of mutual concern.
Recent research into the use and meaning of castles has stressed their social and symbolic role within cultures embedded in courtly traditions, but there has been less attention to the social context of castle building in clan-based societies on the periphery of centralised monarchies, such as Gaelic Ireland, where tower house building was more prolific. A key question is whether the tower house form is a response to the emergence of particular socio-political conditions or whether similarities in morphology are potentially superficial. Comparative approaches on a broader scale may demonstrate cultural cross-currents in the conventions of militaristic display between diverse regions, as well as common practical concerns of security, economy and estate management. Alternatively, densities of distribution, variations in scale, the differing quality and character of ornamentation (or its absence), as well as variations in approaches to internal planning and defence, may all serve to highlight distinctive regional concerns, or instances of unique architectural responses to similar social, economic and political problems. Only through a broader comparative approach can regional patterns and differences in tower house architecture be properly appreciated and contextualised.
Andrew Tierney
Apt. 9, Block 2
Gallery Quay,
Dublin 2 Ireland
+353 (0) 87 9621885

Housing: Representing Finance 
The architectural history of housing is generally written through the perspective of the designers’ intentions, focusing on the flexibility of the floor plan, the articulation of private and public in the façade or the aesthetic adaption of building and construction technology, to take a few examples. Accordingly, architectural representation is privileged: plan, section, perspective, photograph.
A project’s financial structure, governmental regulations, the form of tenancy or the duration of subsidies are rarely addressed in these histories and even less so their (direct or indirect) impact on design choices. But just as the architectural and social intentions are inscribed in any realized project, so are its real-estate goals. The go-ahead that makes any project a reality is the result of an ideological “yes” to a specific form of financing. Who is to pay for, who is to gain from a particular project? How can we think the design and real-estate goals of housing in tandem?
We are interested in papers that study, through novel approaches and methods of representation, the mutual dependency between real-estate and design choices in housing.  The quest is to better understand the conditions of the production of housing, a discursive field situated between architecture, planning, finance and government techniques, which draws both on a knowledge of the populace and of the political economy.
Of particular interest are the years between the First and the Second World Wars, when architects, planners, and policy makers actively experimented with various real-estate models in historic constellations where land was not yet definitively considered to be an entity for private ownership. Martin Wagner’s cooperative settlements in Berlin or Ernst May’s work for municipal housing corporations in Frankfurt and later the Soviet Union are well-known; less known are both the financial underpinnings that made these projects feasible and the discursive settings that made certain design choices possible.
Another historic moment that merits closer attention are the late 1960s and early 1970s, when private investment in social housing was actively sought after even in largely state-driven housing production. These early shifts toward market-driven policies are of particular interest as they coincided with a celebration of user participation in architecture (Lucien Kroll, Christopher Alexander, Herman Hertzberger, IBA Alt Berlin), a discourse which rarely, however, addressed questions of finance, ownership, and profit.
Anne Kockelkorn
Admiralstr. 20, D-10999 Berlin Germany
+49 152 5391 3469
Suzanne Schneider
178 Prospect Avenue, Princeton, NJ 08540, USA
+1 609 356 4162

The ‘work’ of architecture: labor theory and the production of architecture
After having been confined to the margins, the subject of labor is returning to critical discourse, in part because of the radical transformation in the organization and experience of work brought about by globalization, de-industrialization and the information economy. Likewise, in the field of architecture, the digitization of design and fabrication has stimulated the rethinking of architectural modernity in terms of its production.
The term ‘work of architecture’ suggests that the built environment could be analyzed within the broader discourse of labor theory of value. Architectural production brings together labor, skills, materials, technique, and capital to produce value which is itself entangled with the system of production. How does analyzing the labor invested in buildings reflect upon the interpretation of the architectural object, and beyond that, architectural practice and history, with their notions of authorship, technology and style? How does labor theory reflect upon modernist history, and especially its tradition of casting modernity in terms of a conflict between craft and mechanization? How does architecture figure in respect to the debate over deskilling and re-skilling? Moreover, one might ask whether architecture not is merely a representation or the effect of labor but also an active agent in the ways the built environment can incite alternative forms of labor and agency.
The panel examines the nexus of architecture and labor through four central lines of inquiry: the historical transformation in the organization and meaning of work, and its effect on the social and cultural constitution of modernity; the ideological function of architecture as legitimization of the social relation of production; architecture’s self- reflexivity in relation to its conditions of production; and finally, critique of theoretical perspectives and methodologies that currently inform research into architectural labor.
Papers are invited from all periods and academic fields where architectural history and labor intersect, including history of technology, labor studies, anthropology, archaeology, architectural theory and architectural history. Topics for submission may include social history of construction labor: mobility and migration of craftsmen, organization of construction labor; anthropological examinations of labor; the labor done through and in collaboration with non-human agents.
Roy Kozlovsky
School of Architecture
Tel Aviv University
P. O. Box 309040
Tel Aviv 6997801
Lutz Robbers
RWTH Aachen
Fakultät Architektur
Lehr- und Forschungsgebiet Architekturtheorie
Templergraben 49
D-52056 Aachen
+49 241 80 93593

Pre-modern Architecture and the Shift of Historiography Roundtable
For several years now, architectural historians have seemed increasingly to concentrate on the history, theory and philosophy of the 20th and 21st centuries. It is evident, that scholarly interest, teaching and professional discourses focus on modern architecture. In contrast, Early Modern and Medieval topics are understood as dwelling in a dark past, researched by apparently specialised circles and expert associations. Without any doubt there is a discernable shift in the self-consciousness and the choice of subjects by architectural historians that may be described as a crisis; the impact of this limited focus on the study of modernism on educational canons, social identities, and teaching curricula is considerable. The possible reasons are multilayered: In a globalized world, pre-modern architecture tends to be seen as the expression of regional, even provincial identities, used moreover to create tourist clichés within a consumerist economy. Taking a more philosophical view, the loss of “big narratives” in favor of a constructed and fragmented notion of history has profoundly modified our understandings of continuity and relevance across scholarship in history and art history.  At the same time, however, the public shows great interest in historic settings, as can be seen by the success of historic film sets as well as medieval fairs and plays and, not least, the historicist reconstructions in city centers. The round table seeks contributors who can take a broad view in discussing these phenomena, their causes, and their contexts. In lieu of mourning or being scandalized, specific insights into new notions of temporalities, chronologies, and historiographies are sought that enrich our understanding of writing architectural history.
Christian Freigang
Department of Art History
Freie Universität
Koserstr. 20
14195 Berlin
+49 30 838 53812

Housing and the Grassroots. Rethinking Production and Agency in the Architecture of Dwelling
In the introduction to The City and the Grassroots, published in 1983, Manuel Castells pointed out that there was an increasing gap between urban research and urban problems. According to Castells, this gap resulted from an intellectual failure to account for the spatial agencies of citizens, social movements and community organizations. The last three decades architectural discourse has further emphasized the need to re-conceptualize architecture and urban design as “relational” disciplines, as Nicolas Bourriaud put it.
Throughout the last century there have been many initiatives to promote architecture as part of the social fabric, calling for a socially engaged and democratic architecture. Citizens’ participation has been praised as part and parcel of the rituals, pleasures and politics of co-operation as Richard Sennett put it in Together (2012). Housing has been arguably the prime site for the definition and redefinition of the states of encounter between the agency of the architect and that of the inhabitants.
In the context of these attempts to define inter-subjectivity as the substratum of architecture, this session welcomes papers that address the relation between architectural expertise and the grassroots as co-producers of housing. The session aims to contribute to bridge the gap between urban research and urban problems, examining concepts, perspectives and approaches that were developed to re-articulate the ways of doing of the architect. Among these, we would like to focus specially, but not exclusively, on processes related with citizens’ participation in the production of dwelling spaces, particularly those exploring concepts such as assisted self-help, open form, and incremental housing.
Tom Avermaete
Delft University of Technology
Julianalaan 134
Delft 2628 BL
+31 15 27 85 999
Nelson Mota
Delft University of Technology
Julianalaan 134
Delft 2628 BL
+31 643 264 398

Architecture of the Antipodes (SAHANZ-sponsored Session)
This session invites papers that investigate ways in which an exchange between Europe and its South Pacific ‘antipodes’ have shaped the production of architecture in Australia and New Zealand as well as Europe from the 18th century to the present.  The session will reconsider theories of architectural ideas and the mechanisms by which they circulated and had an impact in architectural production and debate.  In what ways did the architecture of Australia and New Zealand come to participate in the construction of that alternative ‘antipodean’ world imagined by Europeans as its southern hemisphere opposite?  And, equally, in what terms was the idea of a distant European architecture for the antipodes resisted?  Australia and New Zealand might be seen as brought together by the term ‘antipodean,’ but this is not the case for their architectural histories, which remain distinctly national.  Proposals are also invited that consider the commonalities or tensions that put these separate histories into productive conversation, especially regarding the reception and representation of European ideas and indeed, of the antipodes in Europe, and the way in which they affected architecture in both contexts.  We welcome proposals treating any moment in the history of this exchange including, but by no means limited to, colonial cases, examples of reception and mobility among Australian and New Zealand architects, the success of post-war émigré culture, all of which have each in their own way fostered a diversity of architectural knowledge in Europe’s ‘antipodes.’
Antony Moulis
School of Architecture
Zelman Cowen Building
The University of Queensland
Brisbane Qld 4072
+61 7 3365 4010
Robin Skinner
Faculty of Architecture and Design
University of Victoria of Wellington
P.O. Box 600
Wellington 6140
Te W?hanga Waihange-Hoahoa o Te Whare W?manga o te Upoko o te ika a Maui
New Zealand
+64 4 463 6273

Cities, Preservation and Violence Roundtable
The location of this meeting in Ireland, an island that has witnessed violent political and religious conflict over the last century, presents an opportunity to explore the spatial dimension of civil war and the ways in which it affects the practice of preservation.
Repeated eruptions of strife in recent decades, as well as of former and continuing spatial division, have been inscribed on the built fabric of cities around the world, and testify to the ongoing entanglement of destructive force with national, ethnic and racial politics.  The persistence of the traces of these conflicts raises questions about the prospect of consensual peace or whether the halted violence in places like Belfast and Kosovo can possibly achieve a transition to residing in shared urban spaces.  To recover a city does not mean to suppress or eclipse the physical legacy of its conflicts but rather to manage their repercussions and institutionalize the legitimacy of opposing claims, including for symbolic monuments.
Chantal Mouffe, who insists that accepting such antagonism as inevitable in human society, argues for the role of institutions in maintaining “conflictual consensus.”  This roundtable probes the potential of architecture, and of preservation in particular, to function as such an institution.  How can we allow for conflicting interpretations of buildings and the urban spaces in which they sit?  How can such claims co-exist without denying the competing meanings they embody?  We seek to explore these questions through topics ranging from case studies, such as Mostar Bridge, a symbol of conflict but also of peace that provokes debate regarding the ambiguity of cultural heritage, to institutional frameworks, of which the vulnerable regulating power of UNESCO, who does not list the world heritage site of Jerusalem’s Walled City under a particular country, is an example.  We are particularly interested in the tension between preservation as an institution and the power structure of the nation state through which it is usually practiced.
We invite statements that elaborate a theoretical position and/or analyze an exemplary case study that can provoke further discussion.
Alona Nitzan-Shiftan
Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning
Haifa 3200003 Israel
Heghnar Watempaugh
Department of Art History
Everson Hall
University of California Davis
Davis CA 95616 USA
+1 530 754 8683

More information:

Share this post

News from the field

On the Traces of Misery

“Miserabilia” investigates spaces and spectres of misery in the imagination and reality of the contemporary Italian urban context. The main objective is the definition of tools for the recognition and investigation of the tangible and intangible manifestations of...