Please submit abstracts no later than June 1st for one of the 31 thematic sessions listed below or for the open session. 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 partner organizations.
After Representation: Architecture Displays Itself
In the past couple of decades, architectural discourse has increasingly focused on issues of representation. Research has stressed that architecture is not confined to the physical object, but that it appears in a variety of different media. Consequently, various forms of visual representation have been investigated as carriers of architectural knowledge. Conversely, architecture’s capacity of evoking a strong sense of physical, spatial, and material presence as well as establishing what Michael Fried called “presentness” of the object, has shifted out of focus. This session investigates instances of architectural communication beyond or after representation. Our session is concerned with instances of architectural presence, i.e. situations, moments, or events where architecture, through its inherent spatial qualities, presents itself directly and without recourse to intermediary devices of representation.
In order to discuss the notion of presence in architecture, we seek examples of architectural display that have tried to evade this representational dilemma. Possible case studies range from large-scale structures such as the "White City" at the World’s Columbian Exposition, experimental installations such as Kurt Schwitters’s “Merzbau,” the Werkbund exhibitions, to Interbau and other international building expositions. Further examples include Aldo Rossi's “Teatro del Mondo”, Oswald Mathias Ungers’s house in a house as part of the Deutsches Architekturmuseum (DAM), as well as more recent initiatives such as the spatial experience of Diller + Scofidio’s “Blur,” or the ephemeral Serpentine Gallery Pavilions.
How is architectural presence manifested in exhibitions? What are the curatorial approaches to evoke spatial experience? What strategies of design have architects devised to instill in their projects a heightened sense of presentness? In what way is, or can the display of architecture be institutionalized? Proposals from scholars of all periods and geographies are welcome.
Session chairs: Martino Stierli, University of Zurich, firstname.lastname@example.org; and Reto Geiser, Rice University, email@example.com.
“And On Your Left”: Taking the Architectural Tour Seriously
Is the architecturally-oriented tour worthy of our attention? Too brief, too superficial, and too focused upon “facts,” scholars may argue that tours—guided or otherwise—are so shallow and obviously profit-oriented that they do not even merit critique. Yet far more people receive information about the built environment on tours than the comparatively fewer number who read journals or enroll in university courses taught by seasoned faculty with advanced degrees. In this respect, architectural tourism is important.
This session is based upon the premise that tourism plays a prominent role in shaping public opinion about the built environment. This is the case even—or especially—if tour guides uphold traditional approaches: those that focus upon stand-alone buildings, styles, famous designers, moments of creation, and technological advancements rather than highlighting the kaleidoscope of ordinary building types, less well-known (or unknown) designers, change over time, or narratives of alterity that increasingly mark twenty-first century scholarship. Do tours have the potential to inform the teaching and research of architectural history? Or should tours be infused with alternative methods emerging from contemporary research (perhaps those that consider narratives of power, gender, race, or class)? Are there other options?
The cultural turn that has transformed architectural history seems to have little slowed the tourist industry promotion of styles, movements, individual heroes, and invention. This exposes a gap between architectural scholarship and architectural tourism. Should historians of the built environment be concerned with the public reach of their craft? Do they ignore tourism at their peril? Papers are solicited that critically assess the architectural (or architecturally-oriented) tour from any time and place—particularly those oriented towards a mass public. Papers that engage the disjunction between architectural tourism and academic scholarship (and teaching) are especially encouraged.
Session chair: J. Philip Gruen, Washington State University; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Architectural Histories of Maritime Asia
Long-distance maritime travel and trade have connected coastal societies for millennia, and nowhere is this borne out in the longue durée more strongly than in the network of seas, bordering the Indian and Pacific Oceans, that connect the coastal regions of southern Arabia, Persia, the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, and East Asia. Historians have long explored the rich and deep maritime connections in different parts of the world that preceded the advent of European imperialism and the “modern” world. Their works reveal the limits of a historiography that is premised on a continental conception of the world, i.e. a world divided according to the principle of land masses. With perhaps a few rare exceptions, the architectural and urban historiography of Asia has not adequately addressed the spatial connectedness – linking regions separated by area studies specializations – and temporal depth – from pre-colonial to the post-colonial contemporary world – that the study of maritime connections in Asia offers. For example, vernacular architecture studies in Asia tend to assume vernacular architecture as a timeless, geographically bounded entity and ignore the dynamic influences of broader maritime networks. Although studies in colonial architecture in Asia have been attentive to how extra-local colonial networks shaped the colonial architecture of a place, they have been silent on the influences of “indigenous” maritime connections.
This session seeks to address these oversights. We welcome situated architectural studies covering any time period on any sites in maritime Asia. Papers should foreground how the dynamic interactions across maritime Asia influenced architectural and urban cultures. This emphasis on connections and interactions is aimed at questioning existing classifications that assume geographically bounded and temporally static Asian architectural traditions and cultures.
Session chairs: Imran bin Tajudeen, National University of Singapore, email@example.com; and Jiat-Hwee Chang, National University of Singapore,firstname.lastname@example.org.
Architecture + Art: Latin America and Plastic Integration
In 1963, when Paul Damaz published his book on Art in Latin American Architecture, the debates and documentations of plastic integration within 20th century Latin American architecture seemed all but exhausted. Surely, the call for integration of art into modern architecture advocated by various factions of the post-World War II CIAM had been in place since, at least, José Vasconcelos’ influential muralism program for Mexican schools and public buildings following the 1910 Mexican Revolution. Discussions about what type of art was appropriate for the new architecture ensued almost immediately; questioning both the style, form, and content. As Damaz’s book showed, the integration of plastic arts and the debates that accompanied it, however, continued (and, continue to this day) throughout the development of modern architecture in Latin America. What is clear is that architects were not only seeking artists (and closely collaborating with them) but also that artists were actively interested in developing architectural works. In addition, there is a whole generation of artists trained as architects and vice versa who explored the limits of both disciplines. Papers and proposals that present the different types of explorations and debates centered around the integration of art into architecture are sought. These should focus on work developed throughout twentieth century Latin America, on their relationships to the particular historic, artistic, and architectural contexts within which they developed, and on the aims and intentions of their authors.
Session chair: Luis E. Carranza, Roger Williams University, email@example.com.
Architecture and the Unconscious
Aldo Rossi wrote that architecture has to be forgotten, to slip under the surface of consciousness, in order to be significant. Walter Benjamin wrote that architecture is received in a state of distraction. In both, there is the recognition that architecture functions in the cultural unconscious.
And yet, architecture continues to be seen to be a reflection of clients’ demands as opposed to an enactment of the field of their desire. Architecture is dominated by rational discourse and conscious thought. Psychoanalysis has established that human experience is not limited to consciousness. Important aspects of human experience also include dreams, desires, imagination, memory, emotion—aspects affected by unconscious processes. How do architecture and the unconscious engage each other? How does architecture speak to the unconscious? How can unconscious processes be incorporated into architectural design? How can architecture appeal to the fuller and broader scope of human experience and identity, revealing the unconscious in waking life?
It is possible to read the unconscious in a variety of historical architectures. This panel seeks to build a task force for the study of the unconscious in architectural design and theory. Architectural metaphors and theories of perception, imagination and space, in Freud, Lacan and other psychoanalysts, and theories of the structure of the psyche, are a rich source of understanding for architects to create architecture that responds to the field of unconscious desire. This panel invites papers from architectural historians, architects, psychoanalysts, and other cultural practitioners, that explore the intersections of architecture and psychoanalysis—historical or current, theoretic or practical—for the purpose of broadening the approach to architectural design and theory based on the unconscious.
Session chairs: John Hendrix, University of Lincoln, UK, firstname.lastname@example.org; and Lorens Holm, University of Dundee, UK, email@example.com.
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The Architecture Legacy of Oscar Niemeyer
The recent death of legendary architect Oscar Niemeyer on December 5, 2012, at the age of 104, marked the end of a prolific professional career that defined modern architecture in Brazil. Spanning more than seven decades over two centuries, Niemeyer’s impressive body of work included a wide range of building types, in which he always searched for an expression of a national identity. Known primarily for his collaborations with Lucio Costa and Le Corbusier, his early projects for Pampulha, and the visionary Brazilian capital of Brasilia, Niemeyer designed master plans and hundreds of buildings—several of which are among the most recognizable icons of twentieth century architecture—way into his 80s and 90s and captured the imaginations of architects from around the world. His curvaceous, lyrical forms helped shape a distinctive Brazilian modern architecture that broke with its colonial and baroque past. Yet his influence extended far beyond his country, where even his lesser works represented a counterpoint to reductive notions of Modernist architecture as blandly functional. According to his own admission, dreams dressed with beauty guided his entire professional career. “Form follows beauty,” he once said, and insisted that “Humanity needs dreams to b able to survive the miseries of daily existence, even if only for an instant.”
This session offers the opportunity to reassess Niemeyer’s work and evaluate to what extent he was able to fulfill his dreams. Special consideration will be given to paper proposals that focus on theoretical issues and critical analysis and interpretation of any of his national or international works.
Session chair: Humberto Rodríguez-Camilloni, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Architecture RePerformed: The Politics of Reconstruction
Today we have to acknowledge the fact that, especially during the last two decades, reconstruction has become an established way of building and dealing with the past. In many cases even twentieth century modern buildings are replaced by precise reconstructions of their historic predecessors. Does this imply a failure of contemporary architecture? The politics of reconstruction go far beyond aesthetic considerations. Taking architecture as a major source of history and regional identity, the impact of large-scale reconstruction is deeply intertwined with political and social factors. Furthermore, memories and associations correlated with lost buildings of a bygone era are heavily influenced by their re-appearance, something which often contradicts historical events. Moreover, architectural reconstruction disintegrates the historical relations of the original building. Thus, connotations related to historical buildings can be replaced or manipulated with huge influence on the society’s collective memory.
In this panel, different model cases and theories shall provide a framework to consider the relations between architecture and historical truth. Furthermore, the impact of reconstruction to memory and oblivion, the critical power of reconstruction regarding contemporary architecture and urbanism as well as the aesthetic difference between original building and reconstruction will be addressed. This panel focuses on a deeper understanding of the correlations between reconstruction, society and contemporary architecture. Relevant questions might include: What does repetition and reproduction in architecture imply in terms of history, current developments in architecture and architecture as a form of art? Does reconstruction falsify history and is architecture obliged to be faithful to the present age? How do we think about irrecuperable losses and transformations and why don’t we understand them as constitutive of monuments? Which aspects determine the selection of the architectural era to be reconstructed?
Session chair: Tino Mager, Berlin Institute of Technology; email@example.com.
"Bet Huxtable Won't Like It – Ada Louise Huxtable and Her Legacy"
Arguably as much as anyone, Ada Louise Huxtable has had a profound impact on the architectural scene second half of the 20th c. This session, though focused on the legacy of a single individual, is broad-ranging, with papers invited on Huxtable's views of specific buildings, on a particular architect, or of whole movements or trends (her take on Postmodernism, for example, or contemporary critical theory, or the preservation movement and how it's changed). What about her influence on the architectural profession at large? How do her critical essays compare to other architectural critics, both her predecessors (Montgomery Schuyler and before) and her successors (Paul Goldberger, Herbert Muschamp, Michael Kimmelman et al) at the Times, and/or to others such as Mike Davis and Michael Sorkin today)? Why was it architects feared her, as they do few of her colleagues? Papers might also address her role as the first major architectural critic in an American daily newspaper, or her impact on redefining the whole field or profession of architectural criticism, in effect broadening its base. Or they might address her still broader cultural legacy, her significance overall, and why she carried so much weight. Why did her opinion matter as much as it did, to architects as well as the general public, in short, what was the essence of her punch. Why was she so important?
Session chair: Meredith L. Clausen, University of Washington, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Beyond Slab and Subdivision: Housing Alternatives after 1945
Massive population growth and rapid urbanization after the Second World War precipitated the development of large-scale housing solutions across Cold War boundaries. Prefabricated slabs and blocks of state-sponsored collective housing presented a sharp contrast to private suburban subdivisions. Yet in the second half of the 20th century, architects, builders, administrators, and planners experimented with a great diversity of housing types and forms that reached far beyond these two models to engage a variety of geographic, political, and social contexts. While many remained committed to economies of scale, emerging approaches included collaborative and informal building practices as well as low- and mid-rise housing types serving as middle class substitutes for the tower in the park housing model. With the rise of Postmodernism in the 1970s, the historicist treatment of housing slabs and their insertion in traditional urban fabrics presented further alternatives for mass housing.
Building on recent revaluations in the history of postwar housing, the organizers of this session seek new research that moves beyond overdetermined narratives of success and failure, representation, and ideology. We welcome papers addressing the typological diversity of mass housing in the second half of the 20th century with respect to issues of technology, urbanism, landscape, or territory. Scholarship that crosses geographic or national boundaries and elucidates the architectural determinants and consequences of mass housing in different political, social, or cultural contexts is encouraged. Topics may address housing approaches that respond to the postwar expansion of expertise with disciplines such as psychology and sociology, as well as projects of an experimental or visionary nature.
Session chairs: Kenny Cupers, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, email@example.com; and Alison Fisher, Art Institute of Chicago, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can We Call it Medieval Urban Planning?
Broadly defined, urban planning is a process described as half design and half social engineering. It considers not only the aesthetic and visual product, but also the economic, political, and social implications, not to mention the environmental impact.
Recent scholarship employing the methodological lens of Cultural Geography seems to suggest that various dimensions of this type of broad, multifaceted planning did indeed take place in the middle ages. Monastic historians, archaeologists, and art historians have long demonstrated a concern with the intricacies of water infrastructure, the ordered logic of space, the esoteric qualities of metaphysical light, and even the environmental inter-dependence of pigs and oak trees. There is ample evidence to support a claim that the diverse components of an “urban plan” were understood, at least within the monastic realm, but what of the integration of these disparate parts? And what of the secular world?
This session seeks to expand our comprehension of how those in roles of authority, within both the secular and sacred contexts, saw the big picture. Seeking to bring together the views of the architect, the archaeologist of infrastructure, and the environmental biologist with scholars of literature, sculptural ornamentation, and liturgy, we ask, was there a planning process? What do analyses of architectural complexes, sculptural programs, religious documents, or literary sources contribute to our understanding of the correlation between elements such as climate, architectural orientation, aesthetically appealing materials, visual or aural stimulation, and a positive social interaction or physical well-being? With these questions in mind, we seek papers from the broadest interdisciplinary point of view, where we can identify glimpses of a plan or, in the modern sense of the term, a planner.
Session chair: Mickey Abel, University of North Texas; Mickey.Abel@unt.edu.
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The Changing Face of Urban Cartography
The challenge of mapmaking, rendering a three-dimensional world on a two-dimensional plane, is at a critical juncture. Contemporary cartographers, armed with computers and software released and updated almost instantaneously, are unshackled from the tools of the past but not from the artifacts. Vast collections of historic maps exist in international archives and with digital manipulation they are able to evolve and develop into something beyond the intentions and imagination of their creators. An excellent example is The Interactive Nolli Map Website (nolli.uoregon.edu) that presents the 1748 Nolli map of Rome as an interactive, dynamic, educational tool.
New methods of urban cartography have also changed the manner in which historians and others perceive cities. In a relatively short time in the history of mapping, we now have the ability to overlay several time periods in the same map, ‘fly’ around the globe using software and zoom in on a site in great detail. As rapid advances are made in these areas, what other types of knowledge will be revealed and what value will this knowledge have in the ongoing discourse of the history of urban environments?
Previous scholarship has focused on the historiography of mapping urban environments, urban cartography in the service of political propaganda, mapping as a form of fine art and maps that represent the evolution and growth of a city. The focus of this panel is twofold: to investigate evolving functions for historic maps, and to examine innovative ways to map historic sites. Papers will consider the various ways in which emerging cartographic methodologies can be applied to historic maps to elicit additional layers of meaning. Papers are also sought that illustrate new ways to map historic sites. Moving beyond straightforward geospatial documentation, what might be the new modalities?
Session chair: Linda Hart, Los Angeles, Lindahart2@iCloud.com.
City, Region or Nation? Rewriting Canada’s Modern Architectures
Historians exploring Canada’s modern architectures have most often employed regionalist and biographical frameworks. The production of monographs and exhibitions on well-known architects has meant a paucity of studies of everyday places and building types. To date, only a handful of publications consider the relationship of Canada’s cultural history and its built environments. Additionally, a tendency to spotlight architectural careers has meant a focus on Vancouver, Toronto or Montreal, and on the place of buildings in the careers of canonical figures who shaped Canada’s modern architectures, such as Douglas Cardinal, Arthur Erickson, and Moshe Safdie. While such work has generated a considerable amount of knowledge (as well as an understanding of the profession), what are missing are larger, composite and multifaceted accounts of architecture since 1900 across the world’s second largest country. The dearth of such accounts is particularly clear when comparing Canadian to American historiography.
We contend that Canadian architecture can be understood as a coherent body of work, like Canadian literature, music, and painting. Consequently, we invite authors to submit abstracts for papers that set out to address the possibilities of synthesizing Canadian modern architectural history from perspectives beyond the city, the region, and the architect’s career. Can we write a thematic history of Canadian architecture along political, typological, and/or thematic contours? With these queries in mind, we welcome papers that go beyond the influence of individuals and institutions, exploring the relationships between monumental and everyday built work in cities large and small, as well as sweeping, historiographical trends.
Session chairs: Annmarie Adams, McGill University, email@example.com; and Michelangelo Sabatino, University of Houston, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Conceptions of Public Space in the Early Modern World
The nature of public space has been the subject of a recurrent discourse in urban and architectural histories. The public is often associated with openness or a democratic type of place-making that invites multivalent participation. While many scholars have analyzed the public in relation to the private realm in defining and activating the meaning of modern and contemporary architecture and urbanism, major lacunae still exist in our understanding of the early modern public. Many historians have questioned the prevailing assertion that a public was established at the end of the seventeenth century, but few have examined the ways in which the physical borders of the early modern public were in continual flux.
This panel explores how emerging or incipient ideas about the public affected the physical shape and design of early modern architecture and space. Possible areas of inquiry include considerations of traditional locations of the public realm, such as urban squares or buildings that represent prominent civic institutions, as well as analyses of a notion of the public in less conventional areas of physical or urban space. For example, did the remapping of a particular early modern neighborhood or palatial district help to delineate the parameters of the public? Did the emergence of ethnic and religious enclaves, such as the Venetian or Roman ghettos in the sixteenth-century stunt the development of the public? Did political and social transformations play a role in shaping a public? Do official designations of a building or space as public affect its use? Papers that trace historiographical issues related to studies in early modern public space are also welcome.
Session chair: Janna Israel, Virginia Commonwealth University, email@example.com.
Deep History: Physiology, Cognitive Science, and Architecture
A new framework for history has emerged alongside developments in cognitive science, evolutionary biology, sociobiology, and ecology. Deep history takes as its subject the full duration of the human species; it aims to understand culture as inextricable from biology and our psychological and intellectual lives as inherently physical and geographical. Necessarily employing a multidisciplinary approach towards material evidence, deep history converges with issues also investigated by architects such as experience, perception, and embodied cognition. This session aims to interrogate and strengthen this relationship between the newly articulated human subject put forth by the biological sciences and disciplinary developments in architecture and architectural history.
One possible set of questions deals with the impact of these emerging sciences on architectural discourse and practice. How have architects and architectural historians drawn on the work of fields ranging from anthropology to neuroscience to environmental archaeology, and how have exchanges with these disciplines changed over time? What are our options for engaging these fields besides passively receiving popularized accounts or elaborating theories into unsubstantiated claims? A parallel set of questions deals with the impact of architects and architectural ways of thinking on the biological sciences. How have—and how can—architectural modes of thought and representation contribute to these fields? Thirdly, this session will investigate frames for understanding architecture that run deep into the past: what would a deep history of architecture look like?
Papers may articulate the trajectory or current state of conversations between architecture, deep history, and/or the sciences. Or, papers may test specific approaches to an architectural deep history through case studies, shedding light on the built environment of a specific time and place. Collaborative, multidisciplinary, and historiographic papers are welcome.
Session chairs: Matthew Allen, University of Toronto, firstname.lastname@example.org; and Lian Chang, Harvard University, email@example.com.
Display Architecture: Department Stores and Modern Retails
The opening in the mid-nineteenth century of the first “cathedrals of consumption” that were the department stores gave birth to an array of strategies meant to enhance the presentation of merchandize. From new materials (glass and iron) and new lighting techniques (electricity) to new technologies of mobility (the elevator) and new spaces for socializing (art galleries, writing rooms, or dressing chambers), nothing was spared that could turn the heads of even the most adamant enemies of shopping. The store was for display and display made the store.
This panel invites papers that study the interior and exterior architecture of department stores in new ways. It departs from the premise that the presentation of merchandize cannot be separated from modern materials and building techniques that have been the preferred topics of art and architectural historians so far. It proposes to challenge the traditional hierarchy of materials and to replace brick and mortar, paint and stone with artificial flowers, theatrical props, tantalizing fabrics and wax mannequins – which, together, formed a real architecture of display. Possible topics may include: the artistic work-force behind department store displays; the architectural and design innovations promoted by the stores’ ateliers d’art; window dressing, mannequins, and interior décor; catalogs, guidebooks, and newspaper illustrations used in advertising; as well as the artistic contests and temporary structures promoted by these establishments. By challenging scholars to engage with new materials and new media, the panel proposes to redefine display as an essential component of modern architecture.
Session Chairs: Florence Brachet Champsaur, [EHESS] and Groupe Galeries Lafayette, firstname.lastname@example.org, and Anca I. Lasc, Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania, email@example.com
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The Elusive Gothic in the Long 18th Century
By the later 18th century, Gothic architecture had already called attention to its own alterity. Western opinions as to its possible Eastern origins were mixed: British academician Thomas Sandby’s lectures disputed Sir Christopher Wren’s earlier genealogy of the Gothic, whilst the painter William Hodges embraced and furthered the position in his Dissertation on the Prototypes of Architecture, Hindoo, Moorish, and Gothic (1786). Meanwhile, antiquarians were busy reconfiguring the Gothic canon with localised studies, new designs and restoration. Later, in the mid-19th century, John Ruskin and his followers would champion a nostalgic and value-laden way of thinking about a past which privileged things made locally and by hand, resulting in the separation between pre-modern and modern, architecture and vernacular building, design and workmanship: false dichotomies that would become cemented in a Modernist historiography of architecture. There were no such artificial distinctions in the manifold awareness of the late 18th-century Gothic.
As a way of registering alternative histories at this transitional stage to industrial making, this session will explore the heterogeneity of the Gothic in Britain and Europe, in their expanding imperial territories, and in contemporary non-Western empires during the long 18th century. While we invite papers that use the Gothic to widen the current discourse on the handmade, topics might also address, but are not limited to, shifts in the antiquarian imagination; revolutionary aesthetics; notions of decay and decline; the peripatetic Gothic; nascent architectural preservation in Europe and its empires; and the material relationships between neoclassicism and Gothic. We especially welcome submissions that address non-European interlocutors of Gothic styles, and that incorporate the use of painting and other visual media in furthering understanding of the topic.
Session chairs: Sylvia Shorto, American University of Beirut, firstname.lastname@example.org; and Zirwat Chowdhury, Clark Memorial Library, UCLA email@example.com.
Frontier Architectures in Late Medieval Anatolia, 1100-1450
Over the past years, a critical body of scholarship on the architecture of late medieval Anatolia has emerged, which discusses the fluid frontier character of the region as crucial for its building fabric. Increasingly, historians of art and architecture look across the perceived boundaries between modern nation states or religious communities. Rapid historical changes affected the region: in the late eleventh century, Turkish Muslim tribal confederations moved into the Byzantine Empire. As one of these groups, the Seljuks, consolidated their rule, the slow yet steady Islamization of Anatolia began. The Seljuks commissioned mosques, city walls, and caravanserais to mark their rule. Already in the 1240s, the Mongol of the region led to the submission of the Seljuks to new overlords. Under Mongol rule, architectural patronage in Muslim Anatolia greatly shifted; connections to Iran, the Caucasus, and Central Asia were renewed. The Byzantine capital fell to the Fourth Crusade in 1204, only to be reestablished several decades later in diminished form. The nascent Ottoman principality became an important new actor that would defeat the Byzantine Empire with the conquest of Constantinople in 1453. Cemal Kafadar has pointed out that limitations of national narratives have greatly influenced the study of the history, art, and architecture of the region. Medieval Anatolia tends to be presented looking back from the perspective of the Ottoman Empire in the sixteenth century. Thus, the medieval monuments appear as mere sources of inspiration for the imperial Ottoman mosques. This panel invites studies that cross disciplinary divides within architectural history and archaeology, and engage critically with the national historiographies of Turkey, Armenia, Georgia, Iran, and Greece, to create a more nuanced picture of this historically and culturally complex period through its monuments.
Session chair: Patricia Blessing, Stanford University, firstname.lastname@example.org
Gardens and Visual Representation: West-East, 1400-1800
Did early modern architects lay out gardens exactly the same way as they approached the design of buildings? What role did visual representations – such as miniatures, drawings, prints, and three-dimensional models – play in this process? And what was the significance of printed views, collections of landscape images, and maps in how these gardens were experienced and seen?
Gardens did not evolve in the same way as buildings, or at least were much more ephemeral by nature. Their depiction in drawings and prints often favored hybrid modes of representation, where, for example, a partial elevation could be superimposed on a bird’s-eye-view. Further, these images often included human figures – promenading, working, or gesturing and pointing at the key features – emphasizing the social dimension of gardens and their everyday use. The representations of early modern landscape architecture, in other words, tended to break away from the dry objectivity of architectural drawings, showing their subjects in a more subjective and contextualized key.
This session seeks to reevaluate the role of visual representations in the context of landscape architecture by examining their purpose and function across different artistic traditions and cultures between 1400 and 1800. When in the life of a garden, a villa, a château, or a park were specific representations made? Were they projections of concrete ideas and plans, related to the very notion of design, or mid-projects, determined end marks, or documentary records? What social, cultural, political, economic, or artistic circumstances brought them into existence? Contributors are also invited to address such issues as medium, format, purpose, and social consumption of these representations. Papers related to non-Western gardens are especially welcome.
Session chairs: Mirka Beneš, University of Texas at Austin, email@example.com; Anatole Tchikine, Dumbarton Oaks, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Healing Spaces, Modern Architecture, and the Body
Recent museum exhibitions and academic publications have explored the multifaceted relationship between the built environment and the body in the modern era of public health. The Canadian Center for Architecture’s 2011-2012 exhibition Imperfect Health: The Medicalization of Architecture, for example, made a case for the paradox of new emphases on “public architectures of health” while globalized social change has made healing spaces a privilege of the rich. Meanwhile, the Palm Springs Art Museum’s Backyard Oasis: The Swimming Pool in Southern California Photography, 1945-1982 hinted at a historical relationship between visual culture, new anxieties about the body, and the growth of prefab suburban homes after World War II. In the context of the postwar Sunbelt, at least, consumerism and the family backyard produced awkward quests for natural health in inherently unnatural settings. This new work builds upon a growing field that has focused on modern preoccupations with the healthy body and a corresponding therapeutic architecture.
We are interested in expanding the field to include ways that architects, urban planners, physicians, social reformers, and civil servants have engaged with the architecture of healing and the body, as well as strategic ways that urban dwellers have modified their living environments themselves to create a kind of vernacular health architecture from the late nineteenth century onwards. We encourage submissions that interrogate unusual ways of thinking about the political economy of health and the body, nature and natural environments, and international concerns about urban design and physical well-being.
Session chairs: Sarah Schrank, California State University, Long Beach, email@example.com; and Didem Ekici, University of Nottingham, Didem.Ekici@nottingham.ac.uk.
Landscape of Scale
According to Anne Whiston Spirn, “Landscapes are as small as a garden, as large as a planet.” For centuries, the preoccupation with spatial scale has been at the heart of landscape architecture. Perhaps more than other professionals of the built environment landscape architects have dealt with the context of their designs, thereby forcing them to envision and treat sites from the scale of the body to the region and beyond. As landscapes change physically over time and are subject to micro- and macroclimates, their spatial relationships and proportions may also change, requiring designers to take into account scalar development. Scaling is a common design method and the control of scale often determines gardens’ and landscapes’ maintenance. New scales of development have led to public urban parks and other designed landscapes that are larger than ever before and require new design approaches. They have induced landscape architects to develop and use concepts that have scale in mind, like the theoretical concept of nested scales, the Planetary Garden (Gilles Clement), and Bernard Lassus’s differentiation between tactile and visual scales. How have landscape architects addressed scale in their design practice? What types of landscapes have been designed for their experience and perception at multiple scales? What role does scale play in design representation, and in realized designs? How do new media and technologies influence the use of scale in landscape architectural practice? This session seeks to deal with these questions regarding designed landscapes and spatial scale throughout history. Papers can address but are not limited to the following topics: scales of design practice, scales of representation, scale models, the maintenance of scale. The role of the human scale in landscape architecture, the perception of scale in landscapes.
Session chair: Sonja Duempelmann, Harvard University, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Left Critique and Modern Architecture
Late 1920s literature on architecture reflects notable doubts about the notion that modernism was a politically progressive project, regardless of the credentials of many of its advocates. Ernst Bloch, Siegfried Kracauer, and Max Raphael, to name but a few, probed the rationalization of design and construction that characterized the Neues Bauen or “New Building” movement of the 1920s in a manner that has been little examined since. Did the movement chiefly serve the interests of those dedicated to maximizing profit by reducing cost, such as the industrialists and government figures who helped underwrite the German Werkbund? Could architecture really add value to the project of the left? Left critique re-surfaced in response to “International Style” modernism re-imported to Europe after the end of World War II. Anxious debate on the postwar legacy of the Bauhaus in Germany, seemingly endorsed by history, echoed these concerns. Similarly, Frankfurt School émigrés in American exile explored how the modern movement had accommodated ideological constructs of the right, such as fascism, that had gestated and born fruit. Re-opening debates on the ideology of modern architecture today is not intended to reinforce existing polarities between left and right. It should rather provide an opportunity to interrogate them at a time when such distinctions are increasingly dismissed as mutually complicit signs of a global order that has now passed by. How did left critique structure writing on the built environment, and how does it continue to do so? What are its modes and its possible goals? Talks need not be limited to the particular historical instances described here, nor restricted to European topics. They might range over a wide territory, bringing modes of left critique and political contestation in global architecture to our attention.
Session chair: Claire Zimmerman, University of Michigan: email@example.com.
New Reflections on Colonialism and Globalization
Certain books have enduring power to shape scholarly research. L’urbanisme et l’architecture dans les colonies et les pays tropicaux (1932) is one of them. Composed of papers submitted to the International Congress of Urbanism held during the Colonial Exposition in Paris in 1931 and edited by Jean Royer in two volumes, L’urbanisme et l’architecture has been an indispensible primary source for scholarship on colonial architecture and urban planning. The book represents the 20th century colonial mindset while identifying and systematizing the policies and practices in modern colonial empires. The two volumes offer a wealth of textual and visual data on urban history and state-of-the art planning and architecture throughout the world, allowing for comparative perspectives and coalescing into a “global” vision. Many of the proposals display complex visions, surpass the familiar colonial templates, and bear great relevance to contemporary 21st century concerns.
This session brings together the debates at the height of the colonial expansions with today’s globalization discourses using L’urbanisme et l’architecture as a convenient platform. We invite papers that reflect on the selective use of materials from the book in current literature, as well as those that situate it within the parameters of the Colonial Exposition and world politics in the early 1930s. Of particular interest is analysis of the book’s contents in association with master plans and architectural trends in the métropoles, and exploration of interchanges and rivalries between the practices of colonial empires. These will be complemented by reading the colonial texts in L’urbanisme et l’architecture to de-code their innovative proposals for sustainable solutions, approaches to local construction materials, techniques, aesthetics, and life styles, bridging them to present-day practices.
Session chairs: Zeynep Çelik, New Jersey Institute of Technology, firstname.lastname@example.org, and Rosemary Wakeman, Fordham University, email@example.com.
Placing the Profession: Early Contexts for Interior Design Practice in the US
The history of interior design practice in the United States has long been dominated by biographies of iconic figures like Elsie de Wolfe and Dorothy Draper. Much of the existing scholarly, pedagogical, and popular literature traces the trajectories of their careers, their writings, and their relationships with clients. At the same time that these luminaries were forging their identities as individuals, however, the larger profession of interior design began to emerge. Beginning in the early twentieth century new and diverse organizational, educational, and professional structures came to define the field and provide formal contexts for design work including design colleges, department stores, furniture companies, and large-scale group practice. This session seeks to map out the development of the larger professional structures of interior design in the first half of the twentieth century, leading up to the formation of the National Society for Interior Designers in 1957. Papers might explore early educational programs and professional organizations, the relationship of interior design to the contemporaneous professionalization of architectural practice, the opportunities offered by department stores, antiques firms, materials manufacturers, and shelter magazines, and the organization and management of large commercial interior design firms. Moving away from biography, this session will critically investigate how interior designers collectively responded to and defined the market for their ideas and services, balancing their roles as artists with the pressures to professionalize and rationalize their work.
Session chair: Paula Lupkin, Department of Art Education and Art History, University of North Texas, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other Postmodernisms: Alternative Genealogies of the Recent Past
The past several years have witnessed a growing interest in the historization of architectural postmodernism, which, however, retraces the earlier historization of modernism by focusing on a small number of “canonical” practices and theories that originated in the so-called “First World.” This session invites papers that will expand the geographical and theoretical perspective to areas outside of the United States and Western Europe in order to question the established definitions and genealogies of postmodernist architecture.
Postmodernism has been variously described as one or more of the following: the practical and discursive critique of modernism and modern rationality; the demise of utopian thinking; the return of historicism, rhetoric, and representation; reliance on surface effects, fragmentation, and pastiche; linguistic and theoretical turns; self-conscious populism, etc. Can those definitions survive when we redirect our gaze to the world’s many peripheries and semi-peripheries? What were the sources and meanings of postmodernism in these areas, especially in relation to the varied modernization and nation-building projects? Even if postmodernism was a cultural import from the developed West, was the transfer unproblematic? What power relations can we read from it? Conversely, can we trace any alternative genealogies of postmodernist architecture? What about postmodernisms that were not the products of “late capitalism” (pace Fredric Jameson), or neo-liberal “Reaganism” (Mary McLeod)? Should we even label an architecture “postmodernist” if it did not emerge out of a full-fledged “postmodernity?”
The session welcomes the case-studies of buildings, paper-projects, and theoretical positions that have been omitted from the canonical accounts as a way to reflect upon the relationship between architecture and society in the late twentieth century. Especially welcome are global and comparative perspectives and those focusing on Latin America, Asia, and Africa.
Session chair: Vladimir Kulić, Florida Atlantic University, email@example.com.
Sacred Power: Religion, Politics and Architecture in the 20th Century
Historians are gradually moving beyond the early modern period confronting the prominence of religion in the development of architecture and urbanism. During the twentieth century, architects and planners often discussed religiosity with regard to their theories and designs while religious institutions were crucial patrons and hosts for debates on the renewal of architecture and planning ideals. God is, alas, not only in the modernist detail, the postmodernist drawing, and the contemporary city but also all over the place in architecture history. However, much of this incipient debate remains within the realm of theology, focusing on typological and stylistic developments as these operate vis-à-vis doctrines and as they inform impending design. This approach dispenses with the broader imbrications of religion within political contexts, and misses the evolving ideological dimensions of religion altogether. Modernization and globalization—we now know—have brought about less the abolition of religion than the refinement of its relationship to culture and society, of its forms, and of the spaces that it occupies.
This panel invites papers that reflect on these redefinitions and that explore architecture and city planning as the stage for the ever-changing spatial politics and politics of identity of religion, in different contexts and faiths spanning from the early 20th century to the present. Participants should address power dynamics—from state sovereignty to migrations, post-colonialism, and flows of capital—as these passed through religion, and as religion passed through architecture. Papers may discuss political implications of sacred spaces or religious symbolism of profane buildings; religious aspirations in community and house planning; the dislocations of religious values through buildings, architectural media, or discourses; and the ways in which these were mobilized to proselytize.
Session chairs: María González Pendás, Columbia University, firstname.lastname@example.org; nd Antonio Petrov, University of Texas San Antonio, email@example.com.
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Shaping Postmodern Architecture: The Medium is the Message
As recent scholarship has pointed out “the history of the architectural media is much more than a footnote to the history of architecture”. Ever since the late 18th century, architectural exhibitions and periodicals played an essential role in the dissemination of architectural culture. Emphasizing the work of certain architects, and belittling that of others, they introduced movements and constructed new tendencies, while theoretically and critically shaping architectural discourse. If a number of scholars reconsidered the role of these media in the modern era, their significance for the postmodern decades has only just been opened up.
Relying heavily on the circulation of images, postmodernism has always been intertwined with the media. In their critique of the Modern Movement, and in their exploration of a new spatial and visual culture, architectural exhibitions and periodicals played an essential role in critically shaping postmodern architecture. As hypothetical spaces these media contributed to the development of new architectural approaches, providing an alternative to the built project. As discursive platforms they enhanced transatlantic or paneurean encounters. As critical practices they extended the role of the architect beyond its traditional boundaries, functioning as vehicles for research-based design.
This session welcomes presentations that address postmodern architectural exhibitions and periodicals as forms of discourse. How did exhibitions and magazines prompted transatlantic exchanges and cultural transfers? How did these media influence the discursive frameworks in which architectural theory took shape? To what extend were postmodern exhibitions and periodicals a response to the end of the “grand narratives”? And how did these media enhance the role of history and historiography in the postmodern era?
Session chairs: Véronique Patteeuw, Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture-Paysage Lille; firstname.lastname@example.org; and Léa-Catherine Szacka, Cap/Centre Pompidou/ Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture Paris-LaVillette, email@example.com.
Violence historically has been imbricated with the work of architects and the transformation of space. Some spatial forms of violence have emerged from “states of exception,” in Carl Schmitt’s term, like the architecture of camps or the urbicidal destruction of buildings and cities. Perhaps less prominently in the chronologies and geographies of historical discourse, spatial violence has manifested systemically through what Slavoj Žižek described as “the more subtle forms of coercion that sustain relations of domination and exploitation.” Such structural violence is related to processes less immediately visible than those related to direct physical violence—for example, the circulation of capital through phases of development and modernization, mass-urbanization that renders ever-greater densities of population vulnerable to ecological disaster, or the ghettoization of peripheral and interstitial territory in cities worldwide.
While many histories refer to directly transacted physical violence in order to mark time, fewer treat its effect on space. Seldom do any tackle the historical connections between violence in exceptional contexts and in its more naturalized structural forms. This session seeks to study political violence, in its direct transactional and subtle structural varieties, as a theoretical lens for histories of visuality and spatiality. For this, we seek viewpoints that make visible and visual architecture’s participation in or rejection of violence. How may we theorize spatial or territorial redistribution, intervention, and politics in relation to violence? How have spatial strategies for the reorganization of economics, society, and power been articulated in relation to violent acts, and any putative prevention of or recovery from them? What roles have architectures and architects played in advancing or resisting violence? Our questions are both historical and methodological. How do violence and the study of violence contribute concrete tools for historical analysis?
Session chairs: Andrew Herscher, Associate Professor, University of Michigan, firstname.lastname@example.org and
Anooradha Iyer Siddiqi, New York University; The New School, email@example.com
Visionary Entrepreneurs: The Strong Wills that Built Texas
Similar to other regions of the US, but at a larger scale, Texas was settled and built by a succession of determined entrepreneurs who, almost literally, willed towns into existence. Land speculators, cattle barons, timber and oil magnates, railroad builders, real estate developers, and philanthropists have shaped the built environment of the Lone Star State.
Beginning with Stephen F. Austin in the late 1820s, empresarios brought immigrants from the southern US, Ireland, Poland, Alsace, Bohemia, and the German states. With an expanding economy following independence in 1836, new towns were platted (Allen Brothers), industries created (timbering, agriculture, transportation, etc.), all of which contributed new planning modes and building types to the urban and rural landscape. Statehood in 1845 and the end of the Mexican War in 1848 brought an increasing population and the first attempts to commercialize the herds of wild cattle and horses on the South Texas Plains, and to turn the Rio Grande into a navigable, profitable waterway (Charles Stillman). The post-Civil War cattle trailing business (Abel “Shanghai” Pierce) and large-scale ranching (Charles Goodnight, Richard King) brought Texas onto the international stage, establishing the mythology of the cowboy. In the early twentieth century, lumberman/banker/developer Jesse H. Jones considerably influenced Houston’s urbanscape. Following WW II, a rapidly growing economy and population caused urban metroplexes to surge, with ensuing large-scale corporate investments (Gerald Hines), and significant philanthropic contributions to arts and education (Dominique and John de Menil).
This session will present papers that contribute original research and new insights into the energetic promoters that stimulated the built environment of Texas. Conference papers will illustrate how, by means of their grand visions, intricate plans, and commercial endeavors, these influential players instigated urbanization, architecture and infrastructure development throughout the varied regions of Texas.
Session chair: Mario L. Sanchez, Austin, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The ‘Well-Tempered Environment’: a Fresh Airing
Giacomo Leoni, writing in 1726, invoked Alberti when he pessimistically suggested that good ventilation might only be achieved in buildings if architects ‘appease[d] the wrath of heaven by prayers’. However, during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries a range of organised strategies was evolved to create comfortable and well-lit indoor environments. Entrepreneurs fought to defend a developing market. In many cases, proposals were integral to the architecture of the buildings that they served. As Reyner Banham pointed out in his classic study, The Architecture of the Well-Tempered Environment, ‘the idea that architecture belongs in one place and technology in another is comparatively new’. Yet despite useful recent work, the environmental aspects of architectural history remain marginalised. The result is what Banham termed a ‘persistently lopsided’ historical discourse, ignoring, as Dean Hawkes argues, the fact that ‘one of the primary functions of architecture is as a modifier of climate’.
This session asks: how can we assess environmental factors in architectural history, and how can an understanding of these issues benefit the discipline? Papers might consider: the role played by heating, lighting and ventilation in particular buildings; the extent to which these matters were integrated into designs; the development of particular natural or mechanical strategies; the changing professional roles involved; broader debates about air and light in buildings; and the ways ideas were disseminated and technologies advertised. Papers on twentieth-century examples would be particularly welcome. Papers might also examine how historians can approach these issues. Can interdisciplinary collaborations with engineers and others yield new understandings? As low-energy design strategies occupy an ever-more prominent place in architectural practice, this session could be particularly timely. Indeed, might an improved understanding of historic practice benefit contemporary architecture?
Session chair: Alistair Fair, University of Cambridge, UK; email@example.com.
Westward Inhalation: Health and Architecture of the Southwest
After the late 19th century westward migration that populated U.S. Western territories with Anglo-American settlers, the early decades of the 20th century witnessed a secondary migration of health-seekers to the Southwest. For example, San Antonio, Texas, became known for its beneficial air quality, often described as being high in "ozone." Its salutary effects attracted many people afflicted with tuberculosis. A tuberculosis hospital accommodated the influx, and residential architecture responded with planned and unplanned features addressing the needs of patients—as well as those seeking to maintain good health. Used as year-round bedrooms, for example, upstairs porches were built and screened to maximize patients' exposure to fresh air, which was thought to cure the disease. The city's (and state's) natural hot and cold springs also attracted health-seekers, whose needs were met by the development of elegant resorts with restorative bathing facilities. Similar histories define the attraction and population of many cities and regions of Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona, each more western destination offering the comforts of lower humidity and pollen counts.
This session seeks to analyze broadly observed architectural and urban responses to health concerns and to tie them to their geographic contexts. Studies exploring the American Southwest and its salutary conditions are especially encouraged. Papers may focus on residential, civic, religious, or leisure sites, urban solutions, or theoretical contexts.
Session chair: Anne Toxey, University of Texas at San Antonio, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The World Comes to Texas: The Architectural World, That Is
Texas is a crossroads of cultures, with each new immigrant group, individual, and business interest bringing ideas, planning and building forms, technologies, and materials to add to the mix. The built environment of Texas has accumulated concepts from the master builders of the Spanish missions to the international star architects of the twenty-first century.
Many builders and architects, with developed skills and ideas, have come to Texas and stayed to further develop their expertise (Abner Cook, J. Riely Gordon, William Ward Watkin, Fred Stone) and make lasting contributions. Others have come for a project, done their task, and departed (Cass Gilbert, Ralph Adams Cram, Paul Cret, Philip Johnson, Mies van der Rohe, Renzo Piano), leaving work that continues to influence design in the state and elsewhere. de
This session invites papers using original, primary-source research across a range of architectural, economic, and cultural resources to study and interpret the impact of the world’s influences on the buildings and environments of Texas. What ideas and/or forms did these outsiders bring; how were the ideas imposed or tempered by the situations of climate, economy, and culture that they encountered; if they stayed, how was their work affected by their Texas experience; if they left, how did their Texas experience affect their work elsewhere; what is the lingering impact of their presence in Texas, both in form and in followers? In turn, what has been the influence on national and world architecture stimulated by ideas and buildings created in Texas?
Session Chair: Gerald Moorhead, Houston. email@example.com.