The Society of Architectural Historians is now accepting abstracts for its 69th Annual International Conference in Pasadena/Los Angeles, April 6–10, 2016. Please submit abstracts no later than June 9, 2015, for one of the 38 thematic sessions, Graduate Student Lightning Talks or for open sessions. The thematic sessions have been selected to cover topics across all time periods and architectural styles. SAH encourages submissions from architectural, landscape, and urban historians; museum curators; preservationists; independent scholars; architects; and members of SAH chapters and partner organizations.
Thematic sessions and Graduate Student Lightning Talks are listed below. Open sessions are available for those whose research does not match any of the themed sessions. Instructions and deadlines for submitting to themed sessions and open sessions are the same. Only one abstract per conference by author or co-author may be submitted. A maximum of two (2) authors per abstract will be accepted. SAH is using an online abstract submission process—please do not send your abstract to the session chair’s email address as this will delay the review of your abstract or possibly void your submission.
Accounting for Mannerism in 20th-Century Architectural Culture
The concept of “mannerism” has been susceptible to shifts in historiographical values across the twentieth century. Although the scope of Renaissance (or classicism) and baroque implied the redundancy of mannerism and rendered it problematic, it retained a fluctuating currency as a term to explain the coincidence of several factors that ostensibly lent it conceptual credibility and historical specificity: the assertion of individual artistic agency; the expression of the undermined worldview of the universal church. Such themes as a loss of universal order and a crisis of civilization might have made sense of the architecture of mannerism, but they resonated, too, with the path of twentieth-century culture, and inflected its architecture, historiography and debate over the course of a long twentieth century. In writing the architectural history of mannerism, modern historians of art and architecture negotiated the historiographical theme of culture in crisis, exploring its architectural symptoms and consequences as well as models of restitution. This session will consider the historiographical periodization of mannerism as a product of modern thought, and position the historiography of mannerist architecture as a dimension of the twentieth-century history of architecture. It will initiate a discussion on the discursive formulations that owe a debt (acknowledged or otherwise) to the historiography of architectural mannerism. We invite proposals exploring mannerism as an ordering device in the historiography of architecture indexing twentieth-century conceptualizations of architectural history; as a body of historical work associated in the twentieth-century with the dual themes of individual agency and cultural crisis; and as a theme in the intellectual history of twentieth-century architecture.
Session Chairs: Andrew Leach, Griffith University, a.leach [at] griffith.edu.au; Martino Stierli, Museum of Modern Art, martino_stierli [at] moma.org
In The Poetics of Reverie (1965) Gaston Bachelard proposed a hermeneutic of the imagination that offers a model for the powerful psychological impact that buildings and spaces make upon us. This interaction takes the form of reverie, a moment of suspension from ordinary experience, when the body and mind, neither daydreaming nor sleeping, become more open and attentive. Drawing upon the work of Bachelard as well as related psychoanalytical studies, from Eugene Minkowski's "reverberation" of the object to Christopher Bollas's "evocative object world," this session focuses on the relationship between architecture and reverie and its implications for architectural and urban history. How do buildings generate or trigger reverie? What is this process, how does it create new understandings? This session argues that architectural reverie enables us to make new and unexpected connections that may change our understanding of our environments and ourselves.
We are particularly interested in the range of architectural experiences that fall between the analytic and the unconscious, and in the evocation of architecture as literary symbol, psychological archetype, or childhood experience. All of these architectural moments fall somewhere outside the usual range of verifiable data for the historian, yet they remain powerful indicators of how buildings participate in the shaping of experience and mood. Such moments may be found in representations of architecture in film or fiction, in painting or photography, or in virtual worlds. Essays from all periods and places are especially encouraged in which architecture, cities, or landscapes play a leading part in dramas and narratives that go beyond the literal or the simply descriptive.
Session Chairs: Christy Anderson, University of Toronto, christy.anderson [at] utoronto.ca and David Karmon, College of the Holy Cross, dkarmon [at] holycross.edu
Architecture of Early Modern Catholicism
In his 2000 book, Trent and All That: Renaming Catholicism in the Early Modern Era, historian John O’Malley proposed “Early Modern Catholicism” as a label that embraced the variety of Catholic experience during a period of religious upheaval and transformation. This session seeks to explore the ways in which the concept—and others such as Counter Reformation and Catholic Reformation that O’Malley tacitly rejected—might be useful as alternatives or complements to the stylistic labels Renaissance and Baroque for thinking about churches, convents, almshouses, colleges, hospitals, and other Catholic religious buildings made in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Moreover, might the concept of an architecture of early modern Catholicism allow for geographical expansion, thereby encompassing the built environment of Europe as well as its colonial territories and contributing to a wider understanding of a global phenomenon in architecture as well as religion? And, likewise, could it help scholars better understand coeval stylistic variation in the built environment of this expanded domain?
Case studies of building sites are especially welcome as paper topics. Other topics might consider the diffusion of architectural knowledge via books and traveling architects or perhaps present a historiographical exploration of the ways scholars have named the architecture of the early modern Catholic world.
Session Chair: Jesús Escobar, Northwestern University, j-escobar [at] northwestern.edu
Coded Architecture: The Paradox of Control
The advent of cybernetics in the post-WWII period seemed to fulfill an architectural dream of predictable performance and objective beauty. Cybernetics and computation introduced a new scale of rule-based design to architecture. Conceived as a common language between man and machine, code provided the fantasy of overcoming the modern subject-object divide. Yet rule-based design has a long history: from proportions to standards, architects have repeatedly tried to not only prescribe form, but also exert social and political control. This session will examine a history of architectural production characterized by rules, codes, and laws. We will scrutinize both rules imposed from without—standards, norms, regulations—and those deliberately introduced as part of the design process—proportions, combinatorics, and algorithms. As rules were exported into material form, architecture became both an accomplice in constructions of governance as well as an agent in social and political change. While typically viewed as a bureaucratic impediment, code more often operated at a meeting point between constraint and potential. We thus posit that rules are characterized less by dichotomies between order and disorder, or freedom and constraint, but rather a series of paradoxes. Attempts to maximize control through systems often produced unpredictable results. Prediction through codes and calculation is thus inseparable from risk, irrationality, and excess. In this session we want to ask: What are the architectural, spatial, and political implications of codes, whether prescribed or self-imposed? What is the longer history of coding in architectural production, and how did it change with computation? How have irrational tendencies been complicit in, or even instrumental to, coded architecture? We invite papers that address these tensions, and encourage explorations beyond the geographical limits of the “Western world.”
Session Chairs: Daniela Fabricius, Pratt Institute, dfabricius [at] earthlink.net and Anna-Maria Meister, Princeton University, ameister [at] princeton.edu
The Cost of Architecture
Commercial and industrial architecture links expenditure to productivity, input to output. Connections between cash input and material output, however, have often been obfuscated, eliminated, or rejected from the history of architecture. Searching for the cost of buildings in the archives of that history presents particular challenges to the historian, who finds the data hidden, encrypted, contradictory, or simply absent altogether. What do buildings cost? And why do we need to ask?
This session turns our attention to the relationship between architecture and cost. Over time, how has the architect’s ability to work within an economic framework determined by successful trade under capitalism related to his or her ability to work within the cultural framework by which the architecture market—a cultural market—is governed? In turn, how do considerations of architecture’s costs enable a recalibration of building history today? This session welcomes papers from any time period, but particularly from the onset of early capitalism in the 15th or 16th century up through the present, that consider the implications of building costs on and for architecture. This includes cost as reckoned in currency or in debt, as amortized by changes in floor area ratio or by dynamic real estate cycles more generally, as protected by insurance or other instruments that shield investment from risk. Not solely an investigation of building commerce, the session also seeks to explore relationships between what things cost, and how they are valued. We will consider the history of architecture in terms of what goes into it, and how that input is then hidden and encrypted by our own disciplinary structures. Papers from all regions of the globe are encouraged.
Session Chair: Claire Zimmerman, University of Michigan, zimclair [at] umich.edu
Distance and Difference: Does Place Matter?
How has cultural geography, and the location of specific publishing hubs, affected historiography, and ultimately what is produced in architectural history? Do distances produce differences that hinder common discourse, arousing distain rather than dialogue or debate? Is there a disconnect, say, between East and West, that precludes understanding or acceptance of aspects too easily dismissed? Some would argue yes (the West with all that space and freedom to do one's own thing, unburdened by the weight of the past or ghost of tradition); others would deny any significant difference in perspective stemming from time or place, any differences in a sense of space or decorum. Addressing the issue broadly, this session opens the debate, in all its myriad facets. Papers might address the IAUS (distinctly East Coast) vs Reyner Banham's very different West Coast vision in the 1970s, and their decidedly different theoretical stances; or the careers of specific architects, such as Charles Moore or Steven Holl, and changes in their work as they shifted practice from coast to coast. One might speak of the impact of regional differences on historiography – who gets published, who ignored or dismissed as too provincial, out of step with "the main stream," defined by whom and where? Yet another approach might be to address architectural training - schools, and the differences of their outlook as well as curriculum (Berkeley in the 1960s, for example, with Sim Van der Ryn, Christopher Alexander, Kostof, vs the Ivies, with Colin Rowe, Eisenman, Frampton, et al) or influential individuals such as Ada Louise Huxtable (New York City was her terrain/ focus of most of her work, yet at the end left her papers to the Getty in Los Angeles).
Session Chair: Meredith L. Clausen, University of Washington, mlc [at] uw.edu
Exhibition As Model: Theorizing Architecture in the Gallery Space
The session examines the format of the (architecture) exhibition as a site for theorizing architecture in the 19thand 20th centuries. The gallery space creates its own forms of display and knowledge production. Instead of providing a neutral environment, it defines how objects are perceived and contextualized. Moreover, architecture can hardly be present in a gallery; it is rather evoked through mediating objects. These objects also have agency and engage actively in a dialogue about architecture with the built display. Through such reciprocal processes of bringing architecture and objects into the exhibition space, conventions of architectural functionality and purpose are oftentimes rendered obsolete; the gallery space becomes a laboratory for engaging critically with architecture as a spatial art through objects, the constructed display, and processes of viewing and experiencing. The exhibition thus creates a setting that challenges architectural forms—their phenomenological, ostentatious and socio-economic qualities—to a great extent.
We invite papers that explore how, why and to which consequence architecture is placed and theorized in the gallery space. Which role do the displayed objects perform in an exhibition? And how does an exhibit’s space of display correlate with the re-presentation of architecture? To which extent does the gallery space evoke notions of architectural theory and imagination? In short: From which angles can we talk about an exhibition as (architectural) model, what is at stake when we do so, and how do we methodologically frame these processes of showing and constructing?
We are interested in the analysis of projects, which articulate ideas and imaginations of architecture that reach beyond the grand narratives of architecture modernism, and that engage with nuanced contexts in a global perspective.
Session Chairs: Nadine Helm, University of Zurich, nadine.helm [at] uzh.ch and Claudio Leoni, ETH Zurich/University College London, claudio.leoni [at] gmx.ch
Ethics and Aesthetics in Latin American Design
Some of the most significant design work in the twentieth century in Latin American countries is characterized by the tension between ethical concerns and aesthetic manifestations. This session invites papers that clarify and explore the relationship between ethical design- inspired by the vocation to dignify the human experience, contributing to resolve issues created by conflicted social-political realities, and aesthetics, informed by the formal and constructive expressions that an ethical approach demand.
The range of topics is vast, from larger theoretical inquiries exploring the evolving relationship between ethics concerns and aesthetic approaches within the diverse context of Latin American conditions, to the study of particular schools or individuals promoting uncompromising positions about architecture’s role advancing social reform or remaining outside dominant design currents as a form of resistance to power.
This commitment to design as transformative agent is present, among others, in the work of the architects that embraced the ideals of the School of São Paulo, culminating in Mendes da Rocha, who advances an understanding of architecture as a meta-disciplinary discourse about human dignity. Without limiting other possible subjects, papers may discuss the work of Eladio Dieste, who emphasized local and humble technology, Barragán’s formal inventions rejecting the commodification of modern life, Lina Bo Bardi’s work in São Paulo and Salvador, or Clara Porcet’s industrial products reinterpreting indigenous traditions.
Papers can also address contemporary cases such as the work of Jorge Mario Jáuregui in the favelas of Rio, or the urban renewal of Medellín, in Colombia, inspired by mayor Fajardo. These examples of urban renewal link social justice to environmental issues and community engagement, indicating that the relationship between ethics and aesthetics remain being an active force in Latin American design.
Session Chair: José Bernardi, Arizona State University, jose.bernardi [at] asu.edu
Food and Architecture
From the layout of a city to the design of a fork, spatial relationships shape and are shaped by the production, circulation, and consumption of food. After a few early calls that noted the parallels between food and architecture, from Peter Collins’ Changing Ideals in Modern Architecture (1965) to Marco Frascari’s “Semiotica ab edendo, Taste in Architecture” (1984), the last decade has seen a surge of interest in the topic, with articles, journals such as Gastronomica, and edited volumes. This session aims to take stock of current scholarship addressing these issues.
Food has an architectural dimension. The plating and arrangement of dishes, the setting of tables, and the construction of pastry confections must consider function, form, structure, organization, and tactility. Food has also served as fodder for the architectural imagination, such as in Sarah Wigglesworth’s House on 9/10 Stock Orchard Street in London (1998). The connections of food and urbanism are even more evident: the use of public spaces for vending, eating, and picnicking; urban agriculture and community gardens; systems of food supply; and the role of eating establishments in processes of minority integration or gentrification.
Papers might trace the history of food spaces such as restaurants, grocery stores, kitchens, factories, and farms; they might also focus on the design of food-related objects such as dinnerware, furniture, and appliances; or they might map the role of food in the development of urban spaces. This session also welcomes theoretical explorations that consider food as a metaphor or parallel for architectural creation and vice-versa; or which connect specific food topics, such as ethnic restaurants or public eating, to larger social and cultural issues.
Session Chair: Daniela Sandler, University of Minnesota, dsandler [at] umn.edu
Fiske Kimball and Visual Culture
2016 marks the centenary anniversary of the publication of Fiske Kimball’s Thomas Jefferson Architect (1916), a seminal book that not only established Jefferson as an architect but also propelled the young Kimball to the forefront of architectural history in the United States. Until his death in 1955, Kimball remained a powerful and influential voice in the arts. As a historian, his pioneering publications earned him the sobriquet “the father of American architectural history.” As an educator, he established the School of Fine Arts at the University of Virginia and laid the groundwork for the Institute of Fine Arts in New York City. As a preservationist, he played a critical role at Monticello, Colonial Williamsburg, Fairmount Park, and numerous other historic sites. As a critic, he wrote regularly on contemporary architecture. As the director of the Philadelphia Museum of Art (1925-55), he oversaw the construction of the new museum, installed period rooms, and built the collection. He practiced architecture throughout his life and had a keen regard for landscape architecture and its history.
The range of Kimball’s activities invites connections between disciplines often studied in isolation. This session therefore seeks to examine Kimball’s contributions as a lens to situate architectural history within the broader context of visual culture in the early twentieth century.
Papers on a broad range of topics are welcome. Topics can include studies of individual projects in which Kimball had a presence; or they might provide more synthesizing studies on his methodology and the current state of research; or address the legacy of Kimball-inspired scholarship. Because he spent over half of his professional career as a museum director, papers could also address the role of the architectural historian within museum studies.
Session Chair: Marie Frank, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Marie_Frank [at] uml.edu
There is arguably no more luxurious, conspicuous, and enduring gift than architecture. Intentionally extravagant, architecture has been the chosen medium to convey love, goodwill, alliance, altruism, memory, and other spectacular declarations. While a gift by dictionary definition is a thing given without expectation of compensation, social scientists, theorists, and cynics alike have asserted that there is no such thing as a free gift. The “free” is usually compromised: conditional giving, and of things with calculated value, make the norm rather than exception. As argued in the pioneering work of Marcel Mauss, gifting has functioned as an essential form of social exchange throughout human history, with most societies enacting protocols of giving, receiving, and reciprocating as associated acts to bind individuals within a collective. In the current globalizing climate, whether the gifting occurs at the personal, diplomatic, or corporate level, the giving and taking has often involved parties across national and cultural group boundaries, requiring the mediation of disparate perceptions of obligation and reciprocation.
The modern period has witnessed a range of built spaces dedicated as gifts: from single rooms to entire campuses comprised of designer buildings and landscapes. This session invites papers that examine specific cases of architecture given as gift, with the aim of understanding the incentives and intentions of using buildings and designed spaces and environments to establish a relationship between giver and receiver. Issues to explore are gifting’s potential to either sustain or destabilize existing social order, and the effectiveness of architecture to communicate intended values or perform proposed functions. Investigations should be historically and contextually grounded studies and may address architecture of any scale in any world region from 1850 to the present. Papers that examine case studies of cross-cultural and cross-regional gifting are especially welcome.
Session Chair: Alice Y. Tseng, Boston University, aytseng [at] bu.edu
Global Exchanges of Social Housing in the Middle-East
Writing the global history of social housing that goes beyond the temporal, geographical, and conceptual boundaries of the “West” is still an unfinished project. Equally important is the task of expanding the scope of existing scholarship on social housing experiences in the “non-West”, which has predominantly been limited to the study of direct or indirect implementations of European or American models: what types of social housing have been built in the Middle East in the 20th and 21st centuries? Where, when, and under which circumstances did these types originate? How were architectural forms, layouts, and construction technologies transformed while traveling across cities, continents, and cultures? More importantly, what is the role of local builders, tenants, and homeowners in the production of the “modern vernacular”?
This session aims to bring together less well-known examples of social housing projects built in the Middle East to explore transnational connections that shaped low-cost dwelling practices. We invite scholarly works that pursue hitherto neglected histories of lower-income residents and their homes, both equally pushed to the margins of architectural history. As such, the panel seeks proposals that address social housing through chronologically diverse contexts in the Middle East (including, but not limited to, Turkey, Iran, Lebanon, Israel, and Persian Gulf region) through case study or comparative research. Paper proposals that focus on the multiplicity of (post)colonial, international and transnational influences on social housing in Middle-Eastern cities and their ‘localized’ interpretations are particularly welcome. Papers could also address how social housing contributed to the planning and evolution of cities in the Middle East, or how certain cases delved into contextual issues and the question of modernity in this region.
Session Chairs: Kivanc Kilinc, Yaşar University, kivanckilinc [at] gmail.com and Mohammad Gharipour, Morgan State University, mohammad [at] gatech.edu
Graduate Student Lightning Talks
This session is composed of approximately 12 five-minute talks that allow graduate students to introduce their current research. We are seeking work in various forms, including a focused summation, concentrated case study, and methodological exegesis. The individual talks are divided into thematic groups with a short question and discussion period following each set of presentations.
Graduate students are invited to submit a concise abstract (under 300 words). Preference will be given to doctoral students, but all graduate students are encouraged to apply, and the Lightning Talks co-chairs welcome geographic and institutional diversity.
The Graduate Student Lightning Talks provide graduate students with an invaluable opportunity to test their ideas, refine their thoughts, and enhance their presentation skills among a circle of empathetic and supportive peers.
Session Chairs: R. Scott Gill, University of Texas at Austin, SAHligtningtalks [at] gmail.com
Group Form and Urban Design Since 1960
For this session, we invite papers that examine the historical development of Group Form in the theory and practice of urban design. Group Form was a theory of urban design proposed by Fumihiko Maki in Investigations in Collective Form (1964) that sought to allow for growth and change in urban development by maintaining a consistent urban image through the use of systems of generative urban elements in space. Maki’s career as a successful architect in practice in Tokyo has often eclipsed the global significance of Group Form as a 1960s critique of CIAM rationalism that paralleled that of Team 10, and as a foundational thread in the development of urban design as a discipline internationally.
The Group Form concept emerged from the varied facets of Maki’s own activities, which ranged from his student work with Josep Lluís Sert at the Harvard Graduate School of Design in 1953- 54; his teaching at Washington University in St. Louis from 1955-62, where in 1962 he cofounded the Master of Architecture and Urban Design program in the Kennedy era of urban renewal, and developed his influential revision of Japanese Metabolism with the idea of “Group Form;” his involvement in the Tokyo World Design Conference of 1960 and in a series of megastructural urban proposals; his teaching in urban design at Harvard from 1962-65, and his interactions while there with the MIT-Harvard Joint Center for Urban Studies; and aspects of his continuing design practice. We also welcome papers that engage Group Form in a broader disciplinary and discursive context, related to the sensory city of image and time developed by Kevin Lynch and György Kepes, and its contextual turn toward valorizing the traditional city and vernacular architecture.
Session Chairs: Eric Mumford, Washington University, epm [at] wustl.edu; Seng Kuan, Washington University,skuan [at] wustl.edu
Historic Preservation in the Middle East: Mapping the Region
The history of architectural conservation and restoration in the Middle East remains unmapped and unwritten. Entangled with the colonial project, historic preservation was conscribed by often short-lived Middle Eastern nationalisms to subsequently flourish under the commercial aegis of global tourist industry. It was burdened with orientalist roots and consequent self-orientalization, just as it functioned as an instrument of de-colonization and authentic recovery of suppressed identity. Yet, despite all the differences, most Middle Eastern countries shared the perception of architectural heritage as a leverage of modernization with a broad range of potentials from perpetuating current ideological agenda to capitalizing on the exoticized past.
This panel aims at bringing together scholars of historic preservation in the Middle East with a particular focus on theories and methodological approaches to architectural restoration and conservation developed in the region since the 19th century. We equally encourage presentations that trace the influence of national and colonial ideologies on the restoration of specific monuments and the reconstruction of archeological sites both – and often simultaneously – for the benefit of state propaganda and international tourism. We are particularly interested in the papers that explore the influence of local architectural historiographies on the specific restoration and conservation techniques and the practices of selected demolition of historic fabric. The panel is also open to the presentations that address the questions of urban reconstruction and strategic planning in relation to historic preservation.
We particular encourage applications from scholars residing, teaching, and doing research in the Middle East or directly involved in the restoration of its monuments. The preference will be given to papers based on original archival research or the study of local architectural and historic preservation periodicals.
Session Chairs: Leïla el-Wakil, University of Geneva, Leila.El-Wakil [at] unige.ch; Igor Demchenko, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, igord [at] mit.edu
Histories in Conflict
This session focuses on the historiography of cities in conflict, examining how conflict shapes architectural histories, and reciprocally, how architectural history intervenes in the predicament of conflict.
We interrogate the inextricable ties between history and urban conflict through several complimentary questions. First, we examine how situations of socio-political conflict affect research. How does the temporality of spatial conditions stirred by conflict influence historiographical methodologies? What particular relationships and priorities develop among concepts of heritage, history, preservation and urban renewal in areas of national, ethnic or class conflict? Bitter conflicts often inspire dichotomized readings of history, or conversely, generate pleas for “symmetry” or “moderation” that put the historical rigor at risk. What are the implications for historiography in either case?
A second set of questions focus on the historian who strives for methodological rigor even as she is operating from a particular “side”. We examine the palpable restrictions in the form of inaccessible national, physical and moral boundaries that may put the researcher at risk. Can one set claims on a “legitimate” history from any particular perspective? Reciprocally, should architectural history actively assume a civic responsibility towards conflict? How does uneven power distribution affect historical analysis? Can history become a platform of negotiation? Moreover, conflict has lingering effects. How does conflict inspire the post-traumatic histories of places such as Mostar, Famgusta and Dublin, even Jerusalem?
By focusing on history and urban conflict, this session questions the impact of conflict on the larger disciplinary discourse, and particularly on our understanding of urban citizenship. We welcome well-documented research papers that investigate into conflict’s related aspects of change and heterogeneity.
Session Chairs: Alona Nitzan-Shiftan, Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, alona [at] technion.ac.il; and Panayiota Pyla, University of Cyprus, pyla [at] ucy.ac.cy
History of Heritage Preservation Revisited
Although we should conceptualise medieval relics as the prime forms of Western heritage, it is well known that the modern Western understanding of heritage and preservation have their origin in the debates that took place between the French Revolution and the Industrial Revolution. They were later enriched through different national-building processes during 19th and 20th centuries, and finally spread worldwide after World War II when the United Nations decided to create World Heritage.
This globalization of the modern Western understanding of heritage and preservation has challenged the contemporary notion of heritage and has given rise to dissonances and conflicts around the world. In the emergent interdisciplinary field of heritage studies is widely accepted that Heritage should be understood as a process rather than as an object to be revered and preserved – that is, as the constantly changing outcome of the struggle between those who aspire to capitalize it. This dynamic and creative understanding is rather different from the preservation and conservation paradigm widely assumed within the field of architecture. However, in recent years new attempts by architects and architectural historians have been made to define a novel approach to this discussion.
This session welcomes papers reviewing and examining this dynamic political, social and cultural process from late 18th century up to the present. Innovative research on case studies about the history of preservation and conservation and on the theoretical conceptualization of heritage are particularly welcome, as well as on architects and provocative key case studies ranging in scope from individual architectural works to the urban scale. The ultimate goal is to interconnect existing original research on Heritage and preservation with the aim to contribute to the definition of a new approach to Heritage research grounded on the history of Architecture.
Session Chair: Josep-Maria Garcia-Fuentes, Newcastle University, josep.garciafuentes [at] ncl.ac.uk
Ibero-American Modern Paths
This section analyzes the exchange channels between the Iberian Europe and North and South America during modernity. The discussion's main objectives are: a review of the consolidated hegemonic discourse on the influence of European architecture in America, distinguishing between the notion of influence and the exchange; the discover of economic and political nature of these individual or collective interests that motivate these exchanges; questions and debates arising from the field of architecture and urbanism. Exchanges paths can be defined as works and actions, publications and exhibitions of American or Latin American architects in the Iberian Europe and vice versa.
The financial capital and technical knowledge flows are an integral part of the various networks like transport, production, knowledge and socialization that featuring the twentieth century. In the first decades, the American urbanization and development efforts offered a lot of opportunities for companies and professionals that circulated between continents.
The choice of architectural historians in the history of the styles or the movements, concentrated only in the formal and symbolic aspects, excluded urban character, social and economic, material and cultural considerations. On the other hand, the marxits historiography dealing with large urban transformations focused on macro-economic political and ideological aspects. As a result, urban history studies over the last century were produced completely separate from architectural studies, which has been changed in recent decades.
This session aims to discuss, through well-defined and circumscribed examples, differentiated approaches to ways of the main exchange reasons, whether individual or collective, focusing on situations and professionals not particularly studied. Such papers should consider the object of analysis as part of networks of material, intellectual and social production, as well as their exchange motivations.
Session Chairs: Maria Cristina Cabral, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, mariacristinacabral3 [at] gmail.com; Ana Esteban-Maluenda, Technical University of Madrid, ana.esteban.maluenda [at] upm.es
Intersections: Dialogues of Architecture & History
Contemporary architects are once again looking to history. Authors in the recent “New Ancients” issue of Logassert that with the passing of theory, and efforts to move beyond the emphases on economics, technology, and ecology in recent practice, has come a renewed interest in the past. Instead of merely searching for precedents or applying history to the present, however, architects are ever more self-consciously inventing, projecting, or manipulating the relation of present and past. Historians can respond by re-reading and re-framing past interactions of architecture and history. Persistent questions about disciplinary boundaries and evolving methods make a critical, sophisticated understanding of the relation of past and present ever more important.
This session seeks papers that scrutinize situations from the past two centuries where the threads of history and practice have intersected in a critical and productive dialogue. We are interested in exploring some of the different types of connections that have existed between history, design, theory, and criticism, both before and after the modernist avant-garde. We question if warnings about operative criticism, or the modernist differentiation between the history and practice, have restricted or biased our exploration of the rich exchange that took place between them before and after that fracture. We are curious about collaborations between architects and historians, as well as architects working as historians, and vice versa. We are especially interested in cases in which architecture was created or understood as a historical statement in built form, or in which contemporary architecture pushed the historical discourse into new territories. We welcome investigations into all manner of critical exchange between the project of architecture and the project of history.
Session Chairs: Kai Gutschow, Carnegie Mellon University, gutschow [at] andrew.cmu.edu; and Francesca Torello, Carnegie Mellon University, ftorello [at] andrew.cmu.edu
Los Angeles Infrastructure: Design, Aesthetics, Publics
Reyner Banham provocatively claimed that freeways are among the best (and most public) examples of architecture in Los Angeles. The goal of this panel is to explore the porous boundaries between infrastructure and architecture in the city with a particular emphasis on how automobile circulation, air and rail transportation, and the delivery of water and electricity have impacted the manner in which architects, planners, politicians, residents, artists, and filmmakers imagine Los Angeles. Along with political and economic consequences of large-scale infrastructure, papers should address its impact on architectural, social and cultural life and conceptions of public space and civic identity. They may address the relations between modernism and regional style in infrastructural projects, present little-known case studies, outline the power of media images to catalyze development and collective identities, or posit the significance of images of infrastructure produced by the entertainment industry or local photographers and artists. Alternately, they may consider the aesthetics and perception of infrastructure projects or the methodological challenges that architectural, urban, and planning histories face when attempting to integrate understandings of engineering, traffic management, and sustainability. New perspectives on the alleged uniqueness of Los Angeles as a city or the relation of its infrastructure to urbanization in a global context would be welcome. Papers may focus on all time periods and media.
Session Chair: Edward Dimendberg, University of California, Irvine, Dimendberg [at] cs.com
Neither Model nor Muse: Women Builders Beyond the Western World
In 1971 the art historian Linda Nochlin raised a polemic question: “Why have there been no great women artists?” Her charge regarding the deliberate marginalization of female creative agency resounded across disciplines and was taken up by architectural historians such as Alice Friedman and Ann-Marie Adams who revealed women to be critical interlocutors and shapers of architectural culture. No longer confined to the role of passive clients, inspiring muses, or docile bodies subjected to the genius of male designers; this scholarship exposed the very biases by which women had been rendered invisible in the history of architectural design.
The recent scholarship of D. Fairchild Ruggles and Lucienne Thys-Şenocak on the patronage of Ottoman noble women and that of Leslie Orr on the creative agency of Hindu and Buddhist nuns have unraveled long-standing assumptions regarding the role of women outside of modern Euro-American contexts. The lack of records pertaining to women has also prompted scholars to invent new methodologies that circumvent major archival silences and historical gaps. Despite these promising developments much work remains to be done on the histories of women builders, patrons, and designers in the non-Western world.
This panel seeks to revisit the “woman in architecture” question and rejuvenate it in light of new theoretical paradigms such as those pertaining to emotion and affect, hospitality studies, human-object discourse, the politics of vision, gift economies, etc. In terms of geographical scope this panel invites current scholarship on women builders outside the Euro-American sphere, however, research on international actors, racial minorities, or trans-national networks that challenge traditional definitions of the “West” will also be considered. Papers can be from any period and the panel will encourage dialogue across historical and geographical boundaries.
Session Chair: Mrinalini Rajagopalan, University of Pittsburgh, mrr55 [at] pitt.edu
Oral History As a Method: Writing a History of Diverse Architectural Voices
Oral history as a mode of research has brought about a significant diversification of the voices that elucidate and construct the canon of modern architecture. However its place within the discipline of architectural history is not yet fully accepted. Architecture remains a strongly authorized practice, as the authority to speak for and about buildings is still attached to author figures. Their design intentions are often privileged over other possible accounts. Furthermore, in architecture, as in other disciplines, oral history conversations take place within a particular professional context and culture, with all the tropes, types, patterns, clichés and performances of professional belonging that entails.
This session aims to address some key questions, including: what types of information are disclosed through oral history in architecture that would otherwise remain unknown? How do oral histories differ from written histories in architecture? Does the oral history interview change the role of the architectural historian, particularly around issues of ‘authenticity’? How might oral history unsettle the very foundations of architectural historiography, for instance, does ‘reliability’ become irrelevant?
The oral history method also raises questions regarding the positioning of the interviewer vis-à-vis the interviewee. Up until the 1970s architecture was a largely male-dominated profession. In recent decades however women have become more visible, both in architectural practice, and in architectural history. Women furthermore appear to be disproportionately involved in oral history projects. This leads us to question the ‘erotics’ of oral history methodologies, especially when (young) women interview elderly men. Beyond sexual dynamics, how are oral histories affected by cultural or political differences between the interviewer and the interviewee? What of the effects of the time, day, location, and circumstances of the interview?
This session proposes to explore what is gained, and what might be lost, through the use of oral history methods in architectural research.
Session Chairs: Janina Gosseye, TUDelft/ University of Queensland, j.gosseye [at] tudelft.nl and Naomi Stead, University of Queensland, n.stead [at] uq.edu.au
Post-War Architecture and African Legacy: Which Tradition?
In recent years there has been an international resurgence of interest in modern architecture and urbanism in Africa. Since the 1990s, much has been written about the work of modern architects in Africa and about colonial and post-colonial architecture in sub-Saharan regions. However, the concept of traditional African architecture has largely been treated as the background to Western and Eastern modern architecture on the continent, rather than as a subject for consideration in its own right.
This panel focuses on the notion of traditional Africa and its key role in the development of post-war architecture and culture. Beginning in 1945, university programs sponsored lectures and courses on vernacular African architecture; journals and magazines published a growing number of articles on the topic; and international congresses and meetings focused on the indigenous sub-Saharan reality. As a result, the interest in Africa has deepened, challenging the modernist idiom and affecting architectural design in Africa, Europe, and the US.
The session invites papers that cover the period between the end of World War II and 1957, the year of Ghana’s independence and the beginning of the post-colonial era. Papers are welcome that concentrate on the sub-Saharan regions and other areas engaged in the spread of African architectural knowledge. Topics might include, but are not limited to, the concept of “traditional” African architecture as it developed in the period (as a civilizational “other,” a promising alternative, a source of timeless truths and universal values, etc.), the effect of traditional Africa on post-war architectural design, the diaspora of ideas and the people discussing them, and the development of the theme in architectural publications and conferences.
Session Chair: Elisa Dainese, University of Pennsylvania, dainese.elisa [at] gmail.com
Public Spaces and the Role of the Architect
In a social context of increasing demand for greater democratic authorship and ownership of the built environment, in particular public spaces and the public realm, the roles of the architect and of design need wider and deeper examination. This session will look at both by asking the question, ‘What is the role of the architect in the production of public spaces?’
Over the last 30 years, sociologists, urban historians, and geographers have contributed extensively to the discourse on public space in many aspects: spatial justice and the ‘right to the city’, the study of new forms of insurgent citizenship in formal and informal contexts etc. The design of public spaces, however, is rarely if ever included.
In relation to the architect, by public spaces we mean those designed as part of an ensemble of building and public space, through which the public passes and in which they gather. These are not the semi-private spaces of residential complexes, and pre-architectural Modernism, architects were as concerned with designing this ‘field’ as they were with the architectural objects defining it.
This session invites architectural historians, architects, and those working in related fields with an interest in architecture and design to consider public space from the vantage point of the architect/urban designer, ideally using historical perspectives to better understand contemporary public space production and its relationship both to the state and to architecture’s own culture.
We are particularly interested in contributions that make geographical or historical comparisons, especially those that examine spaces and histories of design outside the Global North.
Session Chair: Susannah Hagan, Royal College of Art, susannah.hagan [at] rca.ac.uk
Pushing the Envelope: American Mid-Century Sacred Architecture
This session seeks to explore how mid-century American prominent architects pushed the envelope in the designs of houses of worship to depart from traditional concepts and to evolve beyond the rationalistic approach of modern architecture. The discussion will center on the integration of new developments in architectural expressions of faith symbolism and motifs and innovations in building technology.
Following WWII, religion in America emerged as an indispensable part of that era, serving as a comfort and positive aspect. Many congregations moved to the suburbs and saw the potential in the design of new houses of worship as the expression of their community. As such, we observe indicators of re-conceptualization in the construction and design of sacred architecture in America. These changes reflect perceptions of religious freedom and new spiritual mind-sets on the one hand, and on the other hand influences of modern architectural trends and innovations in building technology. Prominent architects of mid 20th century such as Erick Mendelsohn, Frank Lloyd Wright, Philip Johnson, Marcel Breuer, Walter Gropius, Minoru Yamasaki were commissioned to design houses of worship. Their designs pushed the envelope with contemporary aesthetics and building technology. These houses of worship departed from historicism to express American landscape and the era’s values, and utilized new materials and overpowering forms (especially roofs).
This panel invites papers that illustrate American sacred architecture designed and built during the two decades following WWII (1950s-1960s). Examples should illustrate the design and construction of houses of worship and how they reflect the American modern architecture movement and the innovations in building technology of that era. Papers may address this phenomenon across faith or elaborate on a specific religion, or a specific architect.
Session Chair: Dr. Anat Geva, Texas A&M University, ageva [at] arch.tamu.edu
Reframing Landscape History
Originally a subfield of art history, garden and landscape studies is now truly interdisciplinary in scope and objectives, combining a variety of methodologies and perspectives that are no longer peculiar to the humanities. Correspondingly, its focus has evolved from gardens as primarily artistic creations to the more inclusive category of designed landscapes to the still broader study of landscape as a meeting point of environmental, social, and economic histories. While this approach has allowed garden and landscape historians to transcend the boundaries of individual disciplines, it has also posed the challenge of generating constructive cross-disciplinary dialogue. In what ways can practitioners and scholars from divergent disciplinary backgrounds, who are trained to prioritize different sets of data, find a common language of communication? And does this move away from the traditional emphasis on iconography and meaning towards broader concerns with ecology, planning, and sustainability reflect a desire to incorporate new and potentially enriching perspectives—or does it represent a gradual displacement of garden and landscape studies from the domain of the humanities to that of social sciences?
Intended to mark the 75th anniversary of Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection envisaged by its founders as a “home for the humanities,” this session invites papers to reflect on the history and the current disciplinary status of garden and landscape studies addressing the different methodological approaches, institutional frameworks, and individual visions that informed this field’s past and are likely to shape its future. Papers should consider this topic not just as a theoretical or historiographical challenge, but as one to be worked through by a discussion of specific examples of landscape interpretation.
Session Chairs: John Beardsley, Dumbarton Oaks, beardsleyj [at] doaks.org and Anatole Tchikine, Dumbarton Oaks, tchikinea [at] doaks.org
The Quest for an Appropriate Past in Early Modern Europe
Thinking about the creation of ‘national styles’ in architecture, most people will refer to the 19th century: the period of the rise of national states and the attempt to codify specific geographically and nationally defined identities, based on models from a glorious past. Nevertheless, five hundred years before this era, humanist scholars, artists, monarchs and other political leaders all over Europe had already charged themselves with a comparable task. In late medieval and early modern Europe, c.1400–1700, authority was formally based on lineage, and in all countries political ambitions and geographical claims were supported by true or false historical reasons. Architecture was also used to express these ideas of national or local history and that history’s oldest roots in the distant past. In this session we invite explorations concerning strategies of the use of these sources for the construction of new local or ‘national’ identities in architecture (c. 1400-1700).
In their quest for an appropriate past architects and patrons did not only focus upon the iconic remains of classical Rome. In many places in Europe they also seeked to use their ‘own’ antiquity as a source for contemporary design. Meanwhile the concept of the Rome-centred Renaissance has been seriously challenged. Recent scholarship has stressed the important role assumed by non-Central Italian antiquities in the genesis of ‘Antique’ architecture. Moreover, the definition of the ‘Antique’ has turned out to be far more elastic and encompasses more than ‘Rome’. We invite papers that reconsider the pivotal role assumed by local antiquities both of true antique (or pre-historic) origin, as well as those of later date that were regarded as antique.
Session Chairs: Konrad Ottenheym, Utrecht University (The Netherlands), k.a.ottenheym [at] uu.nl and Martijn van Beek, VU University Amsterdam (The Netherlands), m.j.m.vanbeek [at] uu.nl
Questioning the Concept of Mudéjar Architecture
Medieval exchange processes between Muslim Spain, the northern Christian kingdoms and the Sephardic Jews created a specific building style in the Iberian Peninsula. On the occasion of his inaugural lecture El estilo Mudéjar en arquitectura, held in 1859 at the Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, José Amador de los Ríos named this specific style Mudéjar, a term used in the academic literature till this day. The transmission of a historical term designating a specific population group (i.e. Muslims in Christian territories) into architectural history induces a terminological grey area. When did the term Mudéjar appear in historical records, i.e., was it already used in Pre-Modern times as a category for demarcation? Where shall we draw the frontiers between Islamic, Mudéjar, Christian and Jewish Architecture? Which are the determining factors that feature a building as Mudéjar? Is it the confession of the patron or that of the craftsman, the functional aspect (church, synagogue) or the stylistic feature that permits a classification? How do we relate a Mudéjar building to Mudéjar population? What is the role of the patron and/or the craftsman in modifying Islamic patterns into a Christian or Jewish language?
The interdisciplinary approach (Art History/Historical Sciences) of the session will allow a critical debate on the concept of Mudéjar Architecture, which has recently been questioned in the work Under the influence: Questioning the Comparative in Medieval Castile (Leiden, 2005). We encourage the submission of specific case studies that will permit to simultaneously highlight the complexity of cross-border processes and question the compatibility with the current field boundaries, while emphasizing the significance of the Iberian Peninsula as a cultural contact zone within the current international globalization discourse.
Session Chairs: Francine Giese, University of Zurich, francine.giese [at] khist.uzh.ch and Ana Echevarría Arsuaga, UNED Madrid, aechevarria [at] geo.uned.es
Reappraising California Counterculture
California was the culture hearth of what curator Andrew Blauvelt calls “Hippie Modernism.” Counterculture spatial production defied the values of East Coast avant-garde art and Marxist New Left politics. Its current literature remains focused on a short list of icons – geodesic domes, the Whole Earth Catalog, Ant Farm inflatables, and Drop City – often used to illustrate the hippie era’s stock biography, glossed by historians Peter Braunstein and Michael William Dole as a “canonical, Iliad-like narrative… reduced to easy-to-follow ‘big moments’” followed by a “montage of the counterculture’s ‘dark side’.” More recently, historians have detected a more complex legacy that includes ecological consciousness, alternative energy sources, organic food and local agriculture, craft resurgence, guerilla theater, spatial occupation as a political tactic, and precursors to contemporary cyberculture.
Moving beyond using established tropes to frame works by established figures, this panel presents new scholarship on California counterculture and its spatial practices. Questions to be explored might include: was hippie modernism a regional culture? What was California’s position in global counterculture networks? How did hippie modernism appropriate and transform the West Coast’s cultural fascination with Asia? What were the dynamics of cultural transfer between hippie modernists and their mainstream counterparts? What role did alternative publishing play in broadcasting new domestic forms and ideals? Did street protest and street theater – counterculture vehicles for participatory politics – produce any enduring legacy for contemporary public space? How did the counterculture help define and popularize ecological ideals in contemporary design? What relationship did hippie modernism have to California car culture and its settlement forms? How might methodological and disciplinary innovations like actor-network theory, informal and everyday urbanism, Cold War studies, ecofeminism, post colonialism, and queer theory reconfigure narratives about hippie modernism, its heritage structures, and its cultural outcomes?
Session Chair: Greg Castillo, U.C. Berkeley, gregcastillo [at] berkeley.edu
Reassessing the Historiography of Socialist Architecture
Today, when the ghost of the Cold War is returning to international politics, it is important to reflect on the relationship of architectural history to state ideology. Focusing on interpretations of Russian, East- and Central-European architecture designed and built under socialist regimes, this panel seeks to explore the limits of architectural history’s disciplinary autonomy. To what extent history, as a part of ideological apparatus, can remain distant from the image of the Other created by political propaganda? Should architectural history assume an ethical position, and if so, how can it maintain a critical distance from its subject? How can an historian critically analyze an ideology whose deconstruction contributes to asserting another, rivaling, ideology? Accounts of the architecture of socialist countries offer different solutions to these dilemmas, ranging from accusations in naïve utopianism or totalitarianism to a sympathetic and provoking appreciation of its socialist program. Our panel proposes to critically assess the interpretations generated during the Cold War era, and to search for new explanatory paradigms that would be based on a painstaking analysis of historic material and on an acute awareness of the limitations of the historian’s own position in time and place. Examining historiography in order to seek for solutions to the challenges that historians are once again facing, we suggest to consider such topics as the interpretations of architectural history generated in the former East; the interpretations of Soviet and East-European architecture offered by Italian and French historians adhering to anthropological Marxism; the discovery of Soviet “avant-garde” architecture in the 1960s; relationships between “Western” and “Eastern” architecture; approaches to standardized architecture; and the relationship between architecture and social theories.
Session Chairs: Danilo Udovički-Selb, The University of Texas at Austin, selb [at] mail.utexas.edu and Alla Vronskaya, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zurich, alla.vronskaya [at] gta.arch.ethz.ch
Reputational Shadow: Whatever Happened to What’s His or Her Name?
What role do architectural critics and historians play in shaping the professional and personal reputations of architects? What role do widely distributed professional and mass-market journals and other forms of media such as the world-wide-web play in the phenomenon of reputation building? Why do some architects receive focused attention by popular and professional media at some point in their careers only to lose it later? Can certain buildings enhance or damage the reputation of architects? Recall for example the waxing and waning of the careers of a range of twentieth-century architects. To be sure, there is an awkward period in the reputations of architects and the life of their buildings about a generation following their greatest success. Yale’s A+A building is a case in point. Its recent renovation has returned it to critical appreciation, yet many of the architect’s other works are in danger of demolition. Paul Rudolph’s successor at Yale, Charles Moore, reportedly encouraged disrespect to the A+A building. The architect Arthur Erickson was extensively featured in popular and professional press during the 1960s and 1970s only to be almost forgotten by the early 1990s. Papers that explore issues surrounding the phenomenon of the reputational shadow and raise questions regarding the contribution of critics, historians and the general public to the debate are encouraged. Although our examples focus on the second half of the twentieth century, we invite papers that explore the reputational shadow phenomenon in any time period.
Session Chairs: Kevin Harrington, Illinois Institute of Technology, harrington [at] iit.edu and Michelangelo Sabatino, Illinois Institute of Technology, msabatino [at] iit.edu
If Sigfried Giedion is right (Space, Time and Architecture, 1941), the Rockefeller Center’s RCA Building was barely completed when critics responded to its size, width and provocative flatness of by using the term „slab“. Both the form and the nickname enjoyed an extraordinary longevity. In the 1930s, the Slab had already become the blind passager of the Functional City promoted by CIAM. Reconceptualized after 1945, it has played a critical role both in the Modern Movement’s global unfolding and in its conceptualizations of progress, burocracy and civic pride.
Despite the fluctuating fortunes that have marked its quasi centennial existence – including famous maledictions by critics as diverse as Norman Mailer, the Prince of Wales, or Vincent Scully - the type has not only proven to be extraordinarily prolific and pervasive: with its ability to continually regenerate itself, it has constantly fuelled the public’s imagination across a spectrum of seemingly irreconcilable emotions ranging from fascination to resolute opposition. While the origins of the slab-shaped building are as banal as those of the box-shaped containers of matches, cigarettes or cleansing tissue, the discovery of its magic as abstract form has implications that depend on multiple agencies and thus refer as much to the logic of corporate representation, the rhetoric of marketing as it obviously does to the art of building and its rules and contexts.
We are seeking for papers that explore the building techniques, the corporate ideologies, the aesthetic as well as the political agendas invested in the making of such buildings as well as the ways in which the type has been appraised, criticized, re-appropriated and invested with meaning by various social actors across a multiple range of disciplines and media, from popular culture, cinema, tv and contemporary art practices.
Session Chair: Stanislaus von Moos, University of Zurich, svm [at] khist.uzh.ch
School Design in the Twentieth Century
The twentieth century saw the introduction or proliferation of government-sponsored education initiatives in countries around the world, providing access to education for millions of children and teenagers who might not otherwise have had that opportunity. There also were “advances” in the theory and practice of education that changed the way individuals were taught. Regimented early-century classrooms with uniform ranks of desks, rote memorization, recitations, and strict discipline eventually gave way to more informal arrangements and practices like open classrooms, group learning, team-teaching, and “school-within-a-school” organizations. Technology began to impact pedagogical practices, as “teaching machines” and filmstrips paved the way for televisions and computers. As psychologists came to understand more about the human mind, concepts like individual learning styles and “multiple intelligences” offered significant opportunities and challenges to educators. And toward the end of the century student security became a serious (and expensive) consideration in many places. Overall, the everyday educational experiences of children in the 1990s could be far different than that of their 1900 counterparts. But what about their architectural experiences?
This session seeks to understand how these and other momentous educational changes affected the design of primary and secondary school buildings and educational spaces in the twentieth century. In addition to the above topics, potential papers might explore national or regional variations in school design, the impact of suburbanization, differences between public and private schools, sustainability, or the increasing attention paid to school design by “starchitects.” Papers are not limited to American topics, and the session welcomes contributions from a variety of disciplinary and theoretical perspectives.
Session Chair: Dale Allen Gyure, Lawrence Technological University, dgyure [at] ltu.edu
This session focuses on the use of serial images of landscapes, cities and architecture made by (landscape) architects and urban planners. Compared to the single image, serial images create a specific dynamic that is related to a juxtaposition or succession of views and the suggestion of a narrative. Image sequences introduce the notions of time and movement, and can therefore simulate the actual experience of observing the (urban) landscape in situ. As a medium for representation serial images have a long history, encompassing a wide variety of examples, such as Humphry Repton’s ‘before and after’ drawings, Calvert Vaux’s prospect views of Central Park and – more recently - Townscape by Gordon Cullen and Learning from Las Vegas by Robert Venturi and co. These examples were all meant to lead a public life. They concern documents that found their way to a large audience and, in the process of ‘going public’, took on a didactic role.
This session, however, is interested in those series of images that were not in the first place intended for the public eye, but served as an instrument of research and design in the practice of (landscape) architects and urban planners. These kind of image sequences, made for personal and internal use in a professional practice, have been much less studied than their public counterparts. The session touches upon practical questions as well as more theoretical issues. The array of cases presented in the papers is not limited in time. Central questions of this session are: How are serial views constructed and how do they operate? How does the serial image work in research and design? What is the relationship between the image and the concrete, three-dimensional reality?
Session Chairs: Bruno Notteboom, University of Antwerp, bruno.notteboom [at] gmail.com and Imke van Hellemondt, VU University of Amsterdam, e.m.van.hellemondt [at] vu.nl
Styles, Revival Styles, California Styles
California’s architectural history is characterized by a rich heritage of revival style architecture and a world-famous modernist legacy. Following historian Harold Kirker, the former was initially sustained by an architectural frontier at which immigrants arrived with architectural styles in their luggage until in the later nineteenth century the citizens’ gazes at buildings within their state resulted in revivals of earlier Californian architecture. The rise of twentieth-century Modernism reduced this eclectic heritage to a mere prelude of California’s true architectural coming out. Today, the revival style past exists within scholarly debate at best as a somewhat frivolous period from California’s earlier history and at worst as the long shadow of the colonial past.
Yet the ubiquity of revivalist architecture from the later nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century, decisive decades for the emergence of modern California, raises questions about the relevance of this architecture for visions of the state, its landscapes, cities, physical fabric, and infrastructure. Was Santayana accurately anticipating California’s built future when he stated at UC Berkeley in 1912 that in American architecture “the colonial mansion […] stands beside the sky-scraper”?
The popularity of revival styles also poses questions for the historiography of Californian architecture. Do they just signify aesthetic and personal choices? Or also cultural, economic, environmental, and socio-political aspirations and ideas? Were revival styles imported through channels other than immigration? What about print and visual media? How do we think today about the meaning and importance of revival styles for California’s architecture?
Analytical or interpretive papers are invited that address singular aspects of Californian revival style architecture from the nineteenth to approximately the mid-twentieth century (individual buildings, styles, distribution channels, building types, architectural firms, etc.) or are of comparative orientation.
Session Chair: Volker M. Welter, University of California at Santa Barbara, welter [at] arthistory.ucsb.edu
That Which Does Not Last: Ephemeral Architecture After Modernism
If Vitruvius identified ‘durability’ as one of the three principles for good buildings in his De architectura, ephemeral architecture, temporary constructions related to a particular and timely set of events, may be of paramount importance for the history of architecture and urban transformation. Appearing in the late 14thcentury as ‘ephemera’, a medical term designating a fever ‘lasting a day’, the word evolved to designate a transitory existence. Usually linked to popular events and celebrations - festivals, religious rites, and exhibitions -, ephemeral architecture became ‘the architecture of the transitory’: used to symbolize power, entertain the masses, or test ideas.
From Hans Hollein’s temporary office to Georges Emmerich three-dimensional structures, from Utopie’s inflatables to Archigram’s Instant City, ephemeral architecture re-enters the scene in the late sixties. Encouraged by the idea of mobility, flexibility and environmental issues, the ephemeral is investigated by architects in a diversity of forms, formats and materials. Later on, intermingling with the world of cinema, theatre and other make belief practices, the ephemeral takes another important turn. As architects are giving increased attention to the city’s transformation, the ephemeral becomes both a way of engaging with urban space and its history. Aldo Rossi’s theatre del Mondo is a quintessential example: relating both to Venice’s urban form as to the archetypes of Italian architectural history.
This session will discuss the role of ephemeral architecture in the construction and theorization of postmodern architecture with papers that address - thematically or through case studies - one or more of the following questions: What characterized ephemeral architecture in the post-war era? How did postmodern architects’ obsession with images and language translate in the form of ephemeral architecture? What was, in the postmodern era, the link between ephemeral architecture and the city?
Session Chairs: Veronique Patteeuw, ENSAP Lille, vpatteeuw [at] gmail.com and Léa-Catherine Szacka, The Oslo School of Architecture and Design, lcszacka [at] gmail.com
Transnational Housing Histories of the Pacific Rim
From the 19th century onwards, intensified contact between the Americas and East and Southeast Asian countries—such as China, Japan, Korea, and the Philippines—led to a significant increase in the cross-cultural transmission of knowledge related to the planning, design, and production of housing. That legacy is palpable in the hybridization of types, standards, and aesthetic norms in cities throughout the Pacific Rim. It is also evident in the large number of American designers who worked in Asia, and in the even larger numbers of Asian architects, planners, and engineers who trained at North American universities. This panel seeks to contextualize these activities within a broader historical tradition of knowledge exchange between the various cultures of the Pacific Rim. Deploying a transnational approach to the study of architectural history, the panel aims to enhance our understanding of how the mobility of people and architectural models has effected changes in housing on both sides of the Pacific from the 19th century to the present. Papers might focus on the transfer of specific building technologies, pedagogies, and housing policies. They could probe the activities of an architect, firm, developer, or design school; examine the role of institutional networks and informal kinship relations; or investigate the dwelling practices of immigrant or “remigrant” communities. They could also trace the mobility of a specific housing type, ownership model, planning system, or residential strategy. Papers presenting research conducted in more than one country are particularly welcome, as are collaborations between scholars working on different countries. Finally, papers that expand the geographic framework of trans-Pacific exchanges—between Asia and Latin America, for example—are also encouraged.
Session Chairs: Max Hirsh, University of Hong Kong, hirsh [at] hku.hk and Matthew Lasner, Hunter College,mlasner [at] hunter.cuny.edu
Utopian Landscapes and Landscape Utopias
In ways both literal and figural, landscape history is a history of utopias. It is a history of places that have been imagined but that, perhaps by necessity, seldom fully realized. One of the oldest utopian landscapes is the paradise garden that features in many religious cultures of the West and the Middle East. On larger scales as well, utopian landscapes have been envisioned to improve the world as we know it, and they have been described in a variety of media including texts, diagrams, plans, paintings, and drawings. While utopia has long been a topic in architectural history and theory, designed landscapes have only rarely been addressed through this theoretical lens and utopian landscapes are still less well known.
This session seeks to uncover these utopian landscapes, and to expand the discussion of utopia, dystopia, and heterotopia in the history of the built environment. The session will provide the opportunity to explore the cultural, social, and political contexts of utopian, dystopian, and unbuilt landscapes; the role of design competitions in the fostering of landscape utopias; the relationship between imagined landscape designs and their (un)built projects; and the idea of utopia, dystopia, and heterotopia in landscape history. Questions to be addressed are not limited to but may include the following: What is the relationship between social and landscape utopias? What roles have ideas of nature and space played in landscape utopias, dystopias, and heterotopias? How have utopian and dystopian landscapes been represented over time?
We invite paper proposals that deal with these and related topics and questions. Papers may address a variety of geographies, scales, representational media, and time frames, as well as a range of theoretical and historical issues.
Session Chairs: Sonja Duempelmann, Harvard University, G.S.D., sduempelmann [at] gsd.harvard.edu and Michael Lee, University of Virginia, mgl4v [at] eservices.virginia.edu
West Coast “Modern” Living, Indoors and Out, 1920–1960
From the 1920s through the 1950s popular and professional journals alike broadcast the social and health benefits of living outdoors. Along the entire Pacific coast, but especially in suburban California, the patio, deck, and garden became part and parcel of modern living. Some architects, like Cliff May, found roots for living outdoors in a mythical Spanish past; others like Richard Neutra profited from technological innovation such as the aluminum-framed sliding glass door. Merchant builders saw the sales benefit of properties completed by an appropriate landscape. The porous membrane replaced the wall punctured for light and egress, granting the passage between inside and out almost seamless.
This session will focus on indoor and outdoor living on the West Coast from the 1920s through 1960, in single-family houses and apartments, single- or multi-floor. Equally welcome are papers on garden design and its relation to the domestic interior.
Appropriate topics include social use, the role of landscape architecture, the effects of new materials and structural systems, domestic and foreign architectural ideas, and gender roles—any factors that contributed to shaping new spaces and new construction that supported “modern” living indoors and out. What distinguished the work of architects and landscape architects working, for example, in Southern California from those in the San Francisco Bay Area, Portland, or Seattle, and what shaped those differences? What specific role did climate play in the design of gardens and houses? How did construction technology, now available in the postwar period, support the merger of inside and out? Abstracts should focus on the goal of building and landscape as two contiguous partners supporting modern living.
Session Chair: Marc Treib, mtreib [at] socrates.berkeley.edu