Call for Papers: Remnants, Relics, and “Ruin Porn”: On the Material Past in the Architecture of the Present. CAA Annual Conference (online event), 10-13 February 2020

For many, a fascination with the past remains an enduring influence on how one perceives, designs, and studies built environments. During the current—in so many ways volatile—era, when nostalgia inspires increasing interest in times and contexts that seem simpler or more stable, it remains worth considering the abiding appeal of evocative ruins, picturesque remnants, and signs of decay and disaster. Indeed, such sites and images have long since inspired writers, artists, and architects. For some, these visual and spatial references to the past suggest cyclical rebirth and renewal, for others they are reminders of weakness and folly. Although interpretations vary, for many these references and materials tap into deeply human feelings that can hold our attention and anchor our views. While much has been written in recent decades on these issues in art and literature, less has been published on the architectural ramifications of such provocative retrospection.

This panel invites papers that explore the direct influences and incorporation of the tangible past (ancient through modern) in later and contemporary architectures of the 19th through 21st centuries. Papers might explore these issues through a diversity of lenses including, but not limited to, archaeology, heritage preservation and tourism, spolia, identity, and nostalgia. Questions one might address include: How does society’s general infatuation with ruins manifest itself in design, restoration, and interpretation practices? To what ends? How have valued materials from the past been incorporated into modern works and why? How relevant and meaningful are these physical connections today?

For more information and for submitting your abstract please visit the conference webpage.

Abstracts submission deadline: 16 September 2020.

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