Join the Society of Architectural Historians in Chicago as we celebrate our 75th anniversary. The SAH 68th Annual Conference will include paper sessions, Graduate Student Lightning Talks, the SAH Chicago Seminar and tours of the city's architecture and landscapes.
Paper Session Descriptions
The 32 paper sessions for the SAH 68th Annual Conference in Chicago, Illinois, are listed below and have been selected to cover topics across all time periods and architectural styles.
After Analog: New Perspectives on Photography and Architecture
In the digital era, photography’s relationship with architecture, once thought stable and predictable, has become more complex, varied and mutable. What had seemed a fixed, linear relation between building and image is now a complex web. Photography tends to gather or cluster around events and places in a composite way. There is no expectation of a direct correlation between event and image, no 'indexical' relationship, and perhaps no iconic representation. Instead there is a cloud of approximations and fragments, often 'unauthored'.
Taking as its point of departure the transformed and expanded relationship between photography and architecture, this session explores whether the digital era has really produced a paradigm shift, or if the scope of photography’s engagement of architecture has always been more broad and diverse than previous orthodoxies have supposed? Will these contemporary approaches and techniques offer new frames of reference for recasting and re-examining earlier encounters between photography and architecture?
To what ends are ‘after analog’ species of architectural photography being put in visualizing new designs and revisiting existing buildings? Does the close correlation previously assumed between subject and photographic image have any continuing validity in this context? How might concepts from photographic theory and practice such as ‘late photography’ inform our understanding of photographic depictions of built space? In what ways? Will images taken with iPhones and Google Glasses by amateurs find their way into our designs, research, archives, and online resources such as SAHARA?
Papers may deal with any period and any setting, but should open up new perspectives and propose new frameworks for understanding. The session aims to open a renewed dialogue between photography and architecture, informed by contemporary issues, practices, and technologies offering an enriched historical understanding.
Session chairs: Hugh Campbell, University College Dublin; firstname.lastname@example.org; and Mary N. Woods, Cornell University; email@example.com
Ancients and Moderns: The Unraveling of Antiquity
The Quarrel of the Ancients and Moderns erupted in late seventeenth-century France. Although ostensibly concerned with the relative merits of the literary and cultural achievements of modernity and antiquity, the quarrel was predicated upon more ideologically charged issues, and as such what initially began as a literary quarrel quickly developed into a broader debate that impinged upon an array of subjects including architecture. Indeed, the Quarrel of the Ancients and Moderns unleashed a discourse pitting the sanctity of antiquity against the exigencies of modernity that would shape views of the architecture of both the past and present throughout the long eighteenth century.
As they grappled with questions of imitation and invention, authority and novelty, progress and perfection, and rules and genius, architects turned to the ruins of antiquity to redefine the architecture of the present. The interpretive space that existed between the ruin and its reconstruction, the fragment and the whole, gave rise to differing and vigorously contested visions of antiquity and its relevance for the modern world. The resulting expansion of knowledge led architects to question the prevailing holistic view of antiquity and the assumptions upon which it was based.
This session seeks to explore how the quarrel’s unraveling of the past influenced architectural theory and practice in the present and to understand it as a pan-European phenomenon. We invite papers that reconsider the quarrel and its architectural legacy over the course of the long eighteenth century (1670-1815) throughout Europe. Papers may address architecture as it relates to a range of issues, including the nature of authority, the possibility of progress, the status of the architect, the role of genius, and the relationship between socio-cultural change and the built environment.
Session chairs: John Pinto, Princeton University firstname.lastname@example.org; Daniel McReynolds, Princeton University, email@example.com
Architectural Histories of Data
In the so-called digital age, “data” is repeatedly presented as the primary unit of knowledge. Yet we know almost nothing of this epistemic unit’s history. How did we come to imagine data as untethered, immaterial bits of information? Historians of the early modern period have written compelling histories of the modern “fact” by exposing its unexpected ties to preternatural monsters and double-entry bookkeeping. What would equivalent histories of data look like? Architectural historians may be particularly well positioned to excavate histories of data since space is a central paradox in our understanding of this unit: while data needs to be infinitely addressable, we assume that it does not occupy an address in space. The sixteenth-century scholar who decided to record his bibliographies not in bound volumes but on slips of paper so as to be able to rearrange them understood this as well as the contemporary data analyst. Over against the assumption that data is dematerialized information flowing in an imaginary frictionless space, then, this session proposes that data has always had architecture. We invite papers that explore the material infrastructures that gather, store, index, aggregate, and dissimulate data: from cabinets that file paperwork to buildings that house bureaucracies and from graphs and tables that make data visible to data centers and satellites in orbit that push it out of sight. How can these spatial and material histories start sketching an historical ontology of data? What concepts, artifacts, techniques, and institutions have been playing roles in these histories? And, finally, how might historical accounts of data challenge the technological master-narratives on which histories of architectural modernity have been based?
Session chairs: Zeynep Çelik Alexander, University of Toronto, firstname.lastname@example.org and Lucia Allais, Princeton University, email@example.com
Architectural History in the Anthropocene
In February 2008, the Geological Society of London announced that human civilization has entered a new era. The Anthropocene, they indicated, is an Earth epoch defined by the emergence of urban-industrial society as a geophysical force: not only impacting natural resources and the experience of nature, but also intervening, albeit mostly unwittingly, in the complex atmospheric and oceanographic systems that allow for human life to persist on the planet.
As environmental threats are being engaged by the natural and social sciences, the role of the humanities in understanding the effect of the anthropocene on cultural and society is also coming to the fore. Humanistic research can play a vital role in fostering social awareness and informed decision-making with regard to our endangered environment. The tools of architectural history – narratives, images, and theoretical analyses of the built environment – provide a potent indication that environmental concerns are cultural and aesthetic problems as much as technological and material ones.
This panel seeks to understand how this new epoch will have an impact on the content and method of architectural history. Papers are sought that explore relevant historical concerns – how, for example, have energy and climate been a part of architectural developments? How has architecture been a means to understand the relationship between natural and social systems? How have concerns over risk, contingency, and flexibility been reflected in the architectural discourse?
Papers are also welcome which explore how the anthropocene opened up a different set of possible relations between historians and architects, policy makers, and regulators. What new methods and new disciplinary adjacencies are suggested by these challenges? More broadly, how can architectural historians position themselves to productively engage the challenges posed by the recognition that interventions in the built environment often contribute to the changing climate?
Session chair: Daniel A. Barber, University of Pennsylvania, firstname.lastname@example.org
An Architectural History of the Pacific Basin?
In “The ‘New Empiricism-Bay Region Axis’,” Stanford Anderson described Bay Region modernism as “a regionally derived architecture with parallels in other parts of the world.” Across the Pacific, and in counterpoint to the Bay Area, historians have documented how architects in Australia and New Zealand drew on the timber building traditions of Scandinavia, Japan and California in developing modern dialects within a global network of regional modernisms. If such consequences of this model as architectural nationalism and critical regionalism have become problematic, though, what other relationships between architecture and geography might help to account for the Pacific in the decades following the Second World War? We invite contributions that explore the architectural history of the Pacific Basin (incorporating the Rim defined by the Americas, Australasia and Asia and the islands within), in which the idea and geography of the Pacific has conceptual import. Papers might attend to mobility, to the transfer of models, to the work of Pacific-orientated multi-national architectural practices, or to regional debates in which the Pacific figures as an idea. Papers might consider the Pacific reception of American, Asian and Australasian architecture, or the mechanisms by which pan-Pacific relationships were established and maintained, such as travel, publication, education and events. The session will focus on the period from the end of the Pacific War to the end of 1980s, and hence to the transition from modern to postmodern architectures across this semi-global geography. What does the Pacific offer to the history of twentieth-century architecture? To the notion of a global architectural history? Or to the various regional and national architectural histories in which it is implicated?
Session chairs: Julia Gatley, University of Auckland email@example.com or Andrew Leach, Griffith University firstname.lastname@example.org
Architecture in a New Light
In the first half of the prior century, lighting technology and design have changed more rapidly and more thoroughly than at any other time in history. As a result, nocturnal form and experience have changed as well. One hundred years ago, architects, engineers, designers, and artists prophesied a luminous architecture; today, entire buildings are clad with novel, kinetic lighting displays. In the first half of the century, cities competed to become “the best lighted city in the world” on the basis of bright lights downtown and, inevitably, a “Great White Way” modeled on Broadway in New York. Today, however, designers try to respond to unique urban qualities and aim to differentiate one city from another through distinctive lighting schemes.
While light itself is intangible, these changes have been substantial. Longstanding notions of architecture as fixed and durable have faded as buildings effervesce throughout the night. Further, the man-made mantle of light encircling the globe rests upon elaborate and often costly infrastructures that divert finite resources from other purposes. In doing so, lighting inevitably becomes political.
This session invites papers that examine the role of artificial light in the built environment. Papers may address a variety of scales, from buildings to cities, a scope of time from the nineteenth century to the present, and a range of theoretical and historical issues, such as questions of class, gender, race, labor, agency, politics, alternative or confrontational lighting practices, tensions between global trends and local contexts, climate change and energy consumption in their explorations.
Papers exploring the history of lighting in Chicago are especially encouraged.
Session chairs: Sandy Isenstadt, University of Delaware, email@example.com; Margaret Maile Petty, Victoria University of Wellington, firstname.lastname@example.org
Bigger than Big: American Matter Out of Scale
The American continent(s) remains an underexplored agent in the fields of architectural and urban histories. As John R. Stilgoe writes, in the centuries since the settlement of the New World, we still “lack words for bigger than big” and are plagued by a “stubborn refusal to confront…the immensity of the continent itself.” While specific narratives of city-building across the Americas have been told, the role of the “bigger than big,” so persistent in many of the exploratory accounts of the territory—from those of Bernardino de Sahagún and Alexis de Tocqueville to John Muir and Isabella L. Bird—has, in the domains of architecture, urbanism, and even landscape, often taken a back seat to discourses focusing exclusively on questions of style, performance, or networks of transaction. When it has been taken up—as in Nathaniel Owings’ overture toward Rachel Carson’s “long vistas of history” in The American Aesthetic and most notably in Reyner Banham’s Scenes in America Deserta—the results are decidedly singular offerings that merge realist rhetoric with a poetics of ecology.
This session asks how we might write history differently by taking seriously the “bigger than big” or the out-of-scale as matter rather than prematurely consigning it to the realms of metaphor, alibi, or the pastoral. It asks, how do we delimit or write about that which is apparently outside of the scalar purview of language without necessarily having to tame our matter of study? The panel invites papers that contribute to our understanding of the blunt physicality of the American continent(s) and the forms, ideas, and histories, which it animates. It welcomes papers on method, demonstrations of applied method, and case studies of architectures and urbanisms that interrogate such matter.
Session chairs: Justin Fowler, Princeton University email@example.com; Dan Handel, Technion Israel Institute of Technology firstname.lastname@example.org
Brutalism in the Americas: North-South Connections
In the 1960s Brutalism was a label applied to many buildings around the world, although not necessarily accepted by their architects. There were and there are still good reasons for continuing to employ that label; the most obvious is the marked visual and tactile similarity between those buildings, and their roughly common dates of construction, regardless of location. Brutalism as an architectural trend is encouraged by Le Corbusier’s architectural output after 1945. Nevertheless, it encompasses a repertoire that was consolidated and expanded with the contribution of several masters. Many of them worked in the Americas, like Marcel Breuer, Paul Rudolph, Clorindo Testa, Vilanova Artigas, Lina Bardi, Abraham Zabludovski, Teodoro Gonzalez de León and Arthur Erickson. Recent debates and publications are expanding the understanding of the Brutalist trend, by going beyond earlier narratives on the subject and establishing new connections and interpretations.
This session welcomes two kinds of papers. First, papers contributing to the theoretical and critical understanding of Brutalism in the Americas, considering and comparing discourses and narratives in the context of their historical and geographical frames and of contemporary debates in architecture and culture, including those on heritage. Second, papers contributing to the theoretical and critical understanding of Brutalist buildings in the Americas, considering and comparing forms, discourses and narratives in the context of their historical and geographical frames and of contemporary debates in architecture and culture, including those on heritage. In both cases, the session welcomes fresh and innovative well-grounded approaches to the study of the connections between architecture and culture in the period both north and south of the Rio Grande.
Session chairs: Carlos Eduardo Dias Comas, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil, email@example.com; Ruth Verde Zein, Mackenzie Presbyterian University, São Paulo, Brazil, firstname.lastname@example.org
Building Practices in Transcontinental Migration
As architectural history and theory move to encompass the built environment as a whole and a ‘global history of building practices’ gains pace, agents other than the architect become relevant, as do underground networks, border-crossing phenomena and transnational practices often tangential to the discipline of architecture; geographical and professional boundaries subside.
Transcontinental mass migration, an essential conduit of such practices, has been little considered in the history of modern architecture. With an enduring focus on the trail of interwar European émigrés and only sporadic attention to less-noted migrant architects, it needs to investigate other dimensions of migration, possibly in dialogue with the latest developments in social and labour histories. Mass-migrants as designers, builders and patrons, active in built environment production in their homeland and/or host lands, carrying their own technological and formal backgrounds and acquiring new skills, defined currents of knowledge circulation which run parallel to canonical dissemination circuits (media and education) involving other actors, processes, politics and circumstances.
This session welcomes papers that investigate alternative aspects of the relationship between transcontinental migration currents and built environment change, and the methodological challenges this brings to architectural history, in two essential moments of global redefinition: the turn-of-the-century ‘great migrations’ flow (1870-1914) and its resurgence between WWII and the 1970s (1945-1973). Subjects may include the agency of migrants in building practices of their native and settlement contexts, as professional and non-professional players; the impact of displacement and adjustment to a new context on these agents’ traditions, training and concerns; and the evidence of cross-cultural building practices at both ends of migration routes. Papers may deal with one or more moments and contexts, as the session wishes to explore potential geographical and diachronic parallels and variations.
Session chairs: Ricardo Agarez, independent scholar, email@example.com, and Pilar Sánchez-Beltrán, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, firstname.lastname@example.org
Darwinism and the Evolution of American Architecture
To establish a truly American architecture was a major concern for Midwestern architects in late 19th century. The debate was well prepared through the transcendentalist literature of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Thoreau and Walt Whitman. The adaption of the Law of Nature recently formulated by Charles Darwin and Jean-Baptiste de Lamarck opened new approaches to the subject.
Different aspects of architecture were associated with evolutionistic ideas. Gottfried Semper wrote that «artistic form was developed from a limited number of original types according to the laws of inheritance and adaption.» Translated into English by John W. Root and Fritz Wagner his thoughts became influential among architects around 1890. Herbert Spencer turned evolutionist principles into a cultural philosophy that «crowns the thought of this century», as Daniel H. Burnham stated. The notion of architecture as an unfinished process allowed designers to integrate latest technologies into completely new building types. Louis Sullivan developed his «System of Architectural Ornament» on natural patterns. In summary, evolutionism seemingly allowed the invention of a genuine American architecture freed from historical precedence. Although these tendencies were widely abandoned after the World’s Columbian Exhibition, European architects rediscovered them at the beginning of the modern movement, making American architecture for the first time a role model for the Old World.
This session wants to discuss aspects such as organicism in architecture, architectural ornament, the origins of functionalist architecture, the adaptation of technical inventions or the roots of American architecture. Scholars from disciplines such as philosophy or biology are also welcome to participate. Papers should deal with issues of translation, e.g. from natural law to architectural theory of from cultural philosophy to architectural design.
Session chairs: Gregory Grämiger, ETH Zurich, email@example.com; Niklas Naehrig, ETH Zurich, firstname.lastname@example.org
Destroying and Constructing Reality: Material and Form Since 1800
Today, architectural software enables the application of material properties to virtual objects with the click of a mouse, a conceptual severance of materials and form that presents both challenges and opportunities to architects. While this disjunction operates with vigor at both the practical and philosophical levels of contemporary practice, it also has diverse historical antecedents.
In the 19th century, the relation between materials and form was of constant concern for architectural historians and theorists. Bötticher, Semper, Violet-le-Duc and Ruskin, articulated various dimensions of this issue. Each of their attitudes found supporters among the protagonists of modernism, inspiring diverse approaches to calibrating the relationship between construction materials and what is given to be seen. As Edward R. Ford and others have argued, though it is often thought that modernist architects collectively espoused the expression of “the nature of materials,” examples of this are actually rare. Prominent 20th century architects—including Saarinen, Tange, Johnson and Kahn—often imagined new forms based on historical precedents in other materials, and while they sometimes used materials in ways that expressed their nature, at other times it was explicitly masked or even contradicted.
This session seeks contributions that explore historical moments of confrontation between matter and form in architectural representation and production. When and how has the decoupling of material properties from architectural form come to the fore? In such instances, how and why has it been understood as productive and desirable, or rather as deplorable? How have such moments engaged issues of craft, labor, efficiency, technology, globalization and desires for novelty, either opening new creative possibilities for architectural production or reaffirming the value traditional ones?
Session chairs: Ariel Genadt, University of Pennsylvania, email@example.com; and Eric Bellin, University of Pennsylvania, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dwelling in Asia: Translations between Housing, Domesticity & Architecture
What inflections are relevant to current (and future) architectural discourse on dwelling? Can these discussions be more strategically ‘fluid’ by shifting knowingly between scales, subjects and methodologies? Can these move beyond existing affiliations, for instance to specific geographical areas (vernacular and disaster typologies are frequent topics for developing countries) and/or cultural/economic structures (psycho-social or consumerist fantasies, and the demonstration of avant garde designs, typically linked to advanced economies)?
The relationship between dwelling, housing, domesticity and architecture remains tenuous yet often loosely articulated. The term ‘dwelling’ necessarily forces one to consider the traffic between these discrete terms, and where one’s subject(s) may be firmly, though not exclusively, positioned. Dwelling’s ambiguity calls for a critical repositioning within current architectural discourse.
This session adopts two contexts for thinking through these questions. First, the emerging location of Asia as the site of new modalities of dwelling, bound as it were to particular socio-cultural and political tendencies such as filial piety, the suppression of the individual over the importance of family, the affinity to tradition and simultaneously but conversely, the will to expand and progress with unbridled inhibition. Second, the site of academia, the home ground of architectural research and design as generative of speculative responses to what it means to dwell.
This session is interested in unraveling the reconceptualization of ‘dwelling’ within a non-Western tradition. It recognizes late industrial modalities and recent developments in Asia as viable research grounds for rethinking questions of modernity and the post-colonial. Papers which critically reposition the term ‘dwelling’ in relation to housing, domesticity, and architecture within the physical, social, cultural and imaginative geographies of Asia and/or its academic contexts are welcomed.
Session chairs: Lilian Chee, National University of Singapore; email@example.com; and Eunice Seng, University of Hong Kong, firstname.lastname@example.org
Emotional Histories of Architecture
Louis Sullivan defied his profession’s orthodoxies in a 1894 AIA convention address titled “Emotional Architecture as Compared with Classical.” Deploring the state of contemporary design pedagogy, he argued “how deeply necessary it is that a technical or intellectual training be supplemented by a full, a rich, a chaste development of the emotions.” Sullivan’s unfamiliar antinomies of “emotional” versus “classical” architecture confound us, indeed instructively. An architectural historiography grounded solely in formal, technical and intellectual constructs is poorly equipped to evaluate emotions as evidence. Our discipline’s limitations render Sullivan’s discourse odd and inscrutable.
That situation is changing, thanks to methodological innovations in the burgeoning field of the history of emotions. Reassessing interior states conventionally assumed to be “hardwired” and universal, the field’s pioneers insist upon the historical specificity, contingency, and transience of emotional expressions. Analyzing emotive terms embedded in primary documents, they produce nuanced readings of affect as a social and cultural construct. Concepts including “emotional navigation,” “emotional regimes,” “emotional communities” (characterized by particular “systems of feeling” and “emotional styles”) and “emotional labor” bear close scrutiny by architectural historians. Familiar buildings, newly contextualized by emotive evidence discovered in their corresponding texts, bear unforeseen witness to architectural enterprises and the societies that initiate them.
This session invites papers that serve as case studies in how research methods developed in the field of the history of emotions can inform and broaden architectural history, and which suggest, conversely, how architectural history might offer unique contributions to the history of emotions. Abandoning impressionistic readings of architectural affect, papers in this session will explicitly evaluate methodologies that embed built objects within their emotional context(s). Proposals from scholars of all periods and geographies are welcome.
Session chair: Greg Castillo, University of California, Berkeley; email@example.com
Environmental Technologies in History: Chicago’s Role
Chicago has played a well-known role in the history of structural systems, and in the aesthetic development of modern architectural styles, but its importance in the history of environmental technologies bears greater exploration.
This session seeks papers which will investigate architectural practices and discourses that concern Chicago’s role in the history of what Reyner Banham called “The Well-Tempered Environment.” Examples developed locally or regionally are abundant, from innovations in ice-cooling and electric lighting at the World’s Columbian Exposition, to ventilation codes and practices in the teens, to George Fred Keck’s contribution to the scientific development of passive solar heating, to the celebration of heliotherapy at Ganster & Pereira's Lake County Tuberculosis Sanatorium, to the novel daylighting of schools by Perkins, Wheeler and Will, and so on. Also welcome are studies addressing “Chicago's Role” outside the region, and new theoretical interpretations of historical subjects.
Because many examples of environmental innovation may lie outside the typical narratives about Chicago architecture, the session is meant to challenge ‘the canon’ and expand traditional definitions of historical importance. Papers for this session may identify and describe environmentally-innovative buildings or ideas, but should also discuss them with reference to larger themes and contexts. The session also aims to engage larger questions of historical interpretation, such as whether we can identify specific social or cultural factors which have made Chicago especially fertile for the environmental imagination.
Session chair: Anthony Denzer, University of Wyoming, firstname.lastname@example.org
From Drawing to Building – Reworking Architectural Drawing
It is understood that drawing leads to building. However, the movement from one to the other is neither direct nor determined in advance. It is the presence of this ‘indeterminacy’ that creates a specific locus of research. There is, as Robin Evans (1997) has argued, a constitutive ‘gap’ between drawing and building that demands a revision of architectural history. This ‘gap’ constitutes a site in which the project of the history of architecture can be rethought and the appropriate theoretical dimensions to that rethinking incorporated. For Evans the gap is the general condition of architectural drawing. In sum this session – From Drawing to Building – Reworking Architectural Drawing - will allow for a productive rethinking of the relationship between drawing and building; a relationship that has implications as much in history and theory as it does to architectural pedagogy and contemporary practices of design.
This session will concentrate on those architectural drawings that occur apart from the ones created for what can be described as the legal documentation of the construction processes. In other words, emphasis will be given to those drawings that are used to communicate concepts and meanings central to the discipline of architecture. Furthermore, the session will emphasize interest in the specific techniques and conventions of the perspective and the axonometric as techniques used to convey spatial strategies. Even though tied to specific periods and individual practices, drawings using these techniques represent distinctive disciplinary propositions.
Through these conventions and techniques, image-based representations provide transactional visual environments that are instrumental in the development of architectural knowledge. Such provocations for the discipline are beyond any authorial desire for architecture’s substantiation in building. This session will invite papers from a range of historical periods to open discussion on the functionality of the ‘gap’ between drawings and buildings.
Session chairs: Desley Luscombe, University of Technology Sydney, Desley.email@example.com and Andrew Benjamin, Monash University Melbourne, firstname.lastname@example.org
Housing: Intersections of Architecture, Planning & Social Reform
This session is interested in housing as a category of innovative architecture, expressed in professional theory, ideas and practice. It proposes rethinking the role of housing historically as a core problem in architecture vis-à-vis social and political changes inside and outside the discipline.
Professional practice and discourse in recent years is marked by decline of housing as a central category of innovative knowledge in architecture. While recent writings on urbanism examine formal and informal settlements and the production of social space and citizenship in urban peripheries, there remains an assumed distinction between the “planned” and “unplanned” city – a dichotomy that continues to reinforce the idea that housing is either an “infill component” of planning schemes, or “counter practices” against urban governance.
In the first half of the 20th century the question of housing was subject to key experiments within the modern movement, at the intersection between modern architecture, urban planning and social reform. The Garden City Movement 1898-1930, the planning of ‘das Neue Frankfurt’, Red Vienna in the 1920s, the Stuttgart Weissenhof Siedlung of 1927, and Fuller's Dymaxion house of 1929 represented a significant period in the history of town planning where the question of housing was central to the very aims and idea of planned settlements.
We welcome papers exploring the idea of housing-as-experiment in social change and governmental strategies, interconnections between housing and planning, and relationships between the “planned” and the “unplanned.” While the anchor of this session is the first half of the 20th century, we welcome papers on earlier and later periods, and varied geographical contexts.
Session chairs: Rachel Kallus, Technion, email@example.com and Yael Allweil, Technion, firstname.lastname@example.org
Industrial Landscapes and Heritage: A Global Examination
Industrial landscapes, as part of urban areas, offer tangible and intangible heritage as revealed in our built environment. Beginning with the Industrial Revolution and continuing well into the twentieth century, the growth of industry and transport had profound effects on the natural landscape and on urban development. The industrial built environment served a unique purpose, whether for transportation, agriculture, or energy, and when this purpose was no longer necessary, cities and towns were left with the architectural remnants of this industrial past. The protection and promotion of industrial landscapes has been increasingly addressed by architects, historians, conservationists, and urban planners alike. The focus of interested individuals and organizations has been to promote an understanding of the universal value of industrial landscapes and to protect these sites for future generations.
This session seeks to explore industrial landscapes within the context of cultural heritage. How has the rise and fall of industry shaped both the physical and cultural landscape? How can an industrial landscape function in a society in which its original purpose is no longer necessary? How are post-industrial landscapes used as part of larger processes of architectural preservation and urban design and to what effect? How does contemporary industry interact with its surroundings? Papers may address but are not limited to the following topics: adaptive use; sustainability; cultural implications of demolition and/or redevelopment; urban planning and design; landscape architecture; transportation. Moving away from single-building conservation studies, this session will critically investigate the relationship between industry and its surrounding physical and cultural landscapes.
Session chair: Catherine Boland Erkkila, Rutgers University, email@example.com
The Invaluable Indigene: Local Expertise in the Imperial Context
Dominant narratives of architecture in the imperial or colonial milieu traditionally emphasize the ways in which the design, construction and use of architecture is essentially, even necessarily, unilateral. Be they ideological, born of violence or civilizing mission, the forces that constitute the built environment in the multiethnic empire and the far-flung colony reflect the familiar power-knowledge paradigm coalesced by Foucault and Said, among others. This panel seeks to diversify and challenge postcolonial focuses in architectural history by honing in on the theme of local expertise -- one currently overshadowed by efforts to deconstruct the mission civilisatrice embodied in the institutionally trained professional who is invited by imperial or colonial authorities to direct the manpower of local dwellers. Overlooked is the fact that in imperial and colonial contexts, the expertise of “untrained” subjects was highly useful if not imperative towards the realization of works of architecture. Local expertise – often described as native or indigenous – has thus been marginalized as a system of knowledge related to the topical aspects of climate, materials and kin structures, knowledge bases secondary or tertiary to those required for the project of geopolitical reorganization.
This panel invites papers which revisit or revise this trend by examining the essential, invaluable role played by local “experts.” Papers that focus on the dialogue and conflict between institutionally trained professionals and local experts and explore the new means of indigenous self-expression in the conditions of imperial and colonial encounter are encouraged. Papers should be delimited to the 19th and the first half of 20th centuries and may focus on any region appropriate to the theme. Preference will be given to papers using multilingual and archival sources.
Session chairs: Peter Christensen, Technische Universität München, firstname.lastname@example.org; and Igor Demchenko, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, email@example.com
The Legacy of Totalitarianism
This session explores the relationship between architecture and politics by looking at the architectural and urban legacy of discredited totalitarian regimes. In recent decades scholars have devoted significant attention to the ways in which totalitarian states transformed European cities (especially national capitals) through the demolition of the existing fabric and construction of new streets, squares, monuments, and buildings to support their own agendas in the 1920s, 30s and 40s. Scholars have also considered the ways in which these environments (some of which remain virtually unaltered) continue to shape notions of national identity, historical memory and cultural understanding. Less attention has been given to the legal and procedural processes that followed the collapse of these regimes and the consequences this had for the built environment. To what degree were institutional systems established (or reformulated) by totalitarian states (such as architecture schools, city planning agencies, municipal governments, building trades and so forth) recalibrated to accord with the values of new states formed following of the dissolution of totalitarian government? How were buildings, spaces, and monuments specifically designed to meet the needs of one political regime adapted (or not) for new purposes? What legal or other frameworks negotiated that process? One of the primary aims of this session is to consider the legacy of modern totalitarian regimes not only through their architectural and urban remains but also through the endurance of the institutional practices that they helped to establish. This session thus welcomes papers that shift the focus of scholarly inquiry beyond aesthetics into the realm of politics and submissions that focus on understudied geographical areas.
Session chair: Lucy M. Maulsby, Northeastern University, firstname.lastname@example.org
Materiality and Modernism
Assessing the impact of the emergence of specific materials on modern architecture—whether tied to local sources, new use of traditional materials or techniques, or the embrace of entirely new materials—comes in and out prominence in modernism’s long historiography. But what of the history of materiality itself? Most frequently materials are treated as self-evident statements, and catch phrases such as “truth to materials” or “less is more” similarly downplay and even obscure materiality’s contribution to architectural discourse. Yet materials signal a complex discourse about cost, process, and geography of acquisition, of crafting and fabrication, technical expertise and installation. Formal questions also rise to the fore. What is materiality’s relationship to surface and form? To ornament? What are the implications of certain categories of materials coming into—and going out of—fashion?
Questions of place and objecthood seem two key, yet potentially divergent, aspects of materiality. At the urban scale, how might the material fabric of a city be examined for its specificity and what are the possible political implications of certain kinds of urban materiality? Papers might also consider the implications of materiality’s absence, or its merely implied presence, such as in paper architecture or digital design, or substitutions in materiality, such as Berlin’s cobblestone markers indicating the former path of the wall. Additionally, presentations addressing the intersection of time and materiality in the ephemerality of short term architecture (pop-up stores, Diller + Scofidio’s “Blur” building), might be germane to this investigation. Finally, papers might acknowledge the materialization of technology, especially in more contemporary, media-driven architecture.
This session seeks to look broadly at materiality’s meaning for architectural research and its methods. It especially welcomes papers theoretical in nature, as well as historical case studies, from the long course of modernism in architecture, urbanism, and landscape history.
Session chairs: Alina Payne, Harvard University, email@example.com; Robin Schuldenfrei, The Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Printed and the Built
This session examines the relationship between the built, the drawn and the written as it came to expression in newspapers, illustrated magazines, and other public media in the 19th and early 20th centuries. A marked shift in architectural publication took place in this period in which the classical treatise was abandoned for genres capable of efficiently disseminating visual and textual information to large audiences beyond the academies. The new illustrated press played an important role in this process, placing architecture firmly at the centre of public culture. In the early 20th century, newspapers and journals were supplemented by popular genres such as ladies magazines and advertisement, presenting both the private home and the public monument as matters of profound cultural importance.
The session invites papers that explore the transition from the treatise tradition to new forms of publication, particularly the illustrated press. Magazines such as Le Magasin Pittoresque, Illustrated London News, and Illustrirte Zeitung provided their readers with a rich chronicle of architectural culture and contributed to open up new and heterogeneous fields of architectural expression and deliberation. Furthermore, they put architecture at the service of a new public: the modern bourgeoisie. As Richard Wittman argues, the new public sphere manifested itself architecturally not only in the form of buildings, but also as debates, programs, reactions and negotiations in and over public space. The spatial practices of the modern city was negotiated in print, making architecture key in what Jürgen Habermas came to call the structural transformation of the public sphere. The Printed and the Built session explores this process; an urgent task, it seems, at a time when public space is being rapidly reconfigured, both as a physical structure and a mediated environment.
Session chair: Mari Hvattum, Oslo School of Architecture and Design, email@example.com
Reassessing the Cold War in Architecture and Planning
Since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, Cold War studies have been enriched by sophisticated readings of the political conflict that divided the globe after the Second World War. Research recently undertaken on a variety of cases, events, and subjects has unveiled the limits of dichotomic understandings of the Cold War as a mere American–Soviet confrontation, defying bipolar views applicable only to specific circumstances and locations. In the fields of architecture and planning this renovated interest in the Cold War as a historical subject has led scholars to open new frontiers for their investigations, considering an array of themes that includes: the multifaceted unfolding of the postwar ideological discourse in several design endeavors in Western and Eastern Europe; the impact generated by the tensions and divides imposed by the Cold War on contexts at the margins of or outside the American and Soviet spheres of influence; the transfer of knowledge and technology from Europe and North-America to emerging countries; and the relationship between design and mass culture.
This session aims to initiate a discussion about how architectural history has responded to the emerging panorama of multipolar interpretations of the Cold War. It invites papers that explore original case studies and that give nuance to a multilayered investigation of this moment in history. Among the questions this session intends to address are: how conscious, explicit or deliberate were the Cold War dynamics from which particular architectural or planning action originated? In which way were the issues at stake specific to this historical context? To which extent were distinct projects or works developed in response to international motivations or induced by domestic factors? Proposals covering any geographical area as well as any sub-field of the history of architecture are welcome.
Session chair: Paolo Scrivano, Boston University; firstname.lastname@example.org
Replicas: Contentious Reconstructions of the Past
“Replica” architectures employ selective ideas of the past to construct the self-image of states, cultures, organizations or powerful individuals in the present, often operating in service of radically conservative ideologies. Frequently promoted through the rhetoric of “reconstruction”, these projects are seldom ”literal” reconstructions. Rather, they involve the tendentious reclamation of historic architectural or urban forms to reinforce identity narratives, however tenuous or counterfactual their historical veracity. Such projects advance certain political, religious or socio-cultural worldviews or reinforce certain structures of power, preserving distinctions. While architecture has always conveyed ideologies or legitimized a particular social or political order, “reconstruction” projects imagined to embody authority, or which transmit counterfactual histories, sit on the margins of our discipline. Yet they are profoundly interesting as material artifacts. The stories of their life in use are just as interesting as the stories of their procurement and construction. Striking in their own contexts, such “replicas” are often stranger when examined from another cultural, temporal or political vantage point.
The study of replicas is interdisciplinary, implicating architecture as well as philosophy, cultural studies, memory studies and cultural geography. We are interested in papers that examine:
* the intentions and anxieties of their patrons and makers
* the significance of retelling or reorienting stories and myths in the service of dominant or distinctive ideologies
* the shifting relations, incipient contradictions, or unwitting ironies that emerge between originals and replicas, as the latter respond to new programs, contemporary materialities, regulations and techniques of construction
* questions of collective memory, official history and the politics of preservation
Theoretically informed proposals that ground these questions in actual sites and practices from a broad range of geographies and time periods are welcome.
Session chairs: Adam Sharr, Newcastle University, email@example.com Zeynep Kezer, Newcastle University, Zeynep.Kezer@ncl.ac.uk
Repositioning Mughal architecture within the Persianate world
When the Mughal dynasty ruled over South Asia (here referring to modern-day Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Nepal), in the creation of their courtly culture and systems of administration they drew on both their Central Asian, Timurid heritage as well as pre-existing South Asian traditions. This was true also of the Mughals' architectural patronage, in which aspects of Timurid building practices were combined with characteristics of an existing, local South Asian repertoire of architecture to create a Mughal style.
While not diminishing the importance of South Asia’s impact on the architectural creations of the Mughals, this panel seeks to examine the idea of a shared cultural and artistic heritage that existed between the Mughals and other Persian-speaking societies and kingdoms. Therefore, papers presenting new research on Indo-Islamic architecture of the Mughal-era (1526-1858) as part of an architectural tradition belonging to the wider Persianate world, a broad region including Iran, the Caucasus, Central Asia, South Asia, and some parts of the former Ottoman Empire, are welcome.
Possible themes to consider include, but are not limited to: the movement of architects and/or craftsmen between the Mughal Empire and other parts of the Persianate world; architectural forms and/or decoration used within and throughout the Indo-Iranian region; papers which focus on a single building or group of buildings that were built in South Asia but looked to a Persianate heritage for their creation, or a monument or group of structures created within the wider Persianate world that were indebted to Mughal architecture for theirs; exploring the commonality between the architecture of the Indo-Iranian world through texts, visual representations and archaeology.
Session chair: Mehreen Chida-Razvi, SOAS, University of London, firstname.lastname@example.org
The extraction, distribution, and consumption of resources has often been subject to architectural design. Examples familiar from the Western modernist canon include Sant’Elia’s power plants and Le Corbusier’s radiant farm, but there are many lesser-known infrastructures worth probing, include granaries, markets, pipelines, canals, distribution warehouses, and data centers. In all these cases, the creation of buildings and systems to manage resources such as water, energy, and food has been part of architecture’s domain.
Recent scholarship has considered such sites from a variety of angles, examining their politics; the roles architects have played in the collectivization or privatization and monetization of resources; the differences between architectures’ representations of ideal resource use and the material constraints of such systems; questions of scale; and the ways in which such work transforms understandings of architects’ professional qualifications. To foster comparative discussion and clarification of the stakes and methodologies of this work, we invite papers about the relationships among resources, infrastructures, and architecture in any period and location.
We are particularly interested in papers that reflect on the methodological implications of writing about resource infrastructures in architectural history. What approaches, tools, and texts from other disciplines can help architectural history reckon with resource infrastructures? Conversely, what distinctive interpretive opportunities do our methods afford?
Session chairs: Meredith TenHoor, Pratt Institute email@example.com and Jonathan Massey, Syracuse University firstname.lastname@example.org
Sound Modernity: Architecture, Technology, and Media
The last decade has seen a growing interest in studies of sound and acoustics. Beginning with Emily Thompson’s 2002 Soundscape of Modernity, scholars and historians have argued that histories of sound technology and architectural acoustics can equip us with powerful tools to examine the operations and processes of modernization. By investigating the practices and discourses of architects, engineers, acousticians, and composers, these scholars demonstrate that the “acoustic,” deeply entrenched in the making-of-modern, invites an unprecedented dialogue among cultural studies, institutional histories, and socio-technical histories of sound.
We invite papers that consider and situate sound modernities within the framework of architectural practices and discourses. What kind of sound practices have architects incorporated within their projects and what kind of disciplinary stakes did these practices pose to architecture? What has been the impact of changing aural cultures on design practices and pedagogies? Which aural futures did architects envision in their projects and which pasts did they recall?
We are interested in contributions that examine sound modernities in architecture, interrogating the spaces that articulated them, the technologies that formed them, and the media that transmitted them. Presentations should engage with the full spectrum of architectural practice, examining projects for assembly halls, learning environments, urban housing, laboratories etc. The panel also aspires to explore the discursive articulation of sound modernities in theory and history, and how architects engaged with established and emerging sound media to communicate modern ideas about architecture. The goal is to bring forth the acoustic aspect and to launch a critical discussion on the aural history of space and the spatial history of aurality.
Session chairs: Olga Touloumi, Harvard University, email@example.com and Sabine von Fischer, ETH Zürich, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Tent: One of Architecture’s Many Guises
From the palace and pleasure garden to the military campaign and refugee camp, the tent exemplifies a realm that is ephemeral (although not evanescent), mediatory between the natural and built environments, and, as architecture “built” out of textiles, insistently foregrounding a foundation in craftsmanship. Transformed into icons, tents have also been fixed in palatial and domestic interiors as “tent-rooms” in places as geographically and historically diverse as, for example, the Norman palace in Palermo, Malmaison, and Graceland. Be it as structure, site, or icon, the tent offers a critical lens for investigating architecture’s fluid and yet (often) uneasy co-existence with nature, craft, and ephemerality. To date, the most comprehensive study of tent architecture (indeed, of tents as architecture) has been Peter A. Andrews’ Felt Tents and Pavilions: the Nomadic Tradition and its Interaction with Princely Tentage (1999). Andrews’ volumes not only offer a useful catalog of medieval and early modern tents, but they also draw attention to the ways in which tents instantiate a crucial meeting-point between East and West. This panel seeks to highlight the possibilities of rethinking architectural theory and practice afforded through a careful study of tents. Our session will take a wide angle view of the phenomenon of the tent, both geographically and chronologically, and so papers are invited that treat any place or period. Plausible topics include, but are not limited to, tents as gifts, engineers of alternate realities, markers of hybrid temporalities, textiles, sites of war, and symbols of an irrepressible pre-modernity.
Session chairs: Zirwat Chowdhury, Reed College, email@example.com; William Tronzo, University of California, San Diego, firstname.lastname@example.org
Time, Transformation, and Textuality in African Architecture
In the contemporary period, built form in Africa has been increasingly recognized as a layered object, composed of multiple narratives and registers of knowledge that reflect the value systems and frameworks operating within a society at a particular moment. Yet while this approach has allowed African architecture as a body of evidence to flourish within investigations of political, social, and cultural identity, rarely has the additional reality of architectural form in Africa as a historical text received rigorous interpretive attention.
As a catalogue of the ways in which time and transformation have been allowed to act upon the human landscape, architecture is in many ways history made manifest by the instrumental forces of natural degradation, active dismantling, or the transformation of older spaces into new sites of interaction that encode and continue to respond to evolving human needs. Thus, this panel solicits papers that reconsider architectural form in Africa within this interpretive framework, addressing concepts of time, change, and how the built environment in its nascent, deconstructed, decayed, and renovated form acts as a visual and spatial interface for historical narratives, agendas, and legacies.
Potential paper themes might include the impact of urbanism and heritage conservation on the built environment, the concept of ruin in Africa and how it functions as a site of memory (or not), how change and alteration can paradoxically support cultural continuity and resilience, and how time and transformation can also create unstable architectural identities that relate to the broader realities of modernity and globalization in Africa.
Session chair: Michelle M. Apotsos, Williams College, email@example.com
21st Century Critical Conservation: Re-thinking the Status Quo
Historic preservation evolved from elite resistance to industrialization in 19th century England, substituted for racial zoning in the American south, and manifested community-based hostility to post-WWII urban renewal and modern architecture. As the 20th century ended many of its values were incorporated into planning and law.
Conflicts over place-making reveal the uses and abuses of history. Doreen Massey observes that underlying identity of place debates are “conflicting interpretations of the past” used to “legitimate a particular understanding of the present” that can be “wielded as arguments as to what should be the future.” Reyner Banham raised the specter of “preservation” stopping the course of architecture. Koolhaus’s Cronocaos exhibit criticized preservation’s deafness to permanence and its union with politics. At the dawn of the 21st century we raise questions about the values, authority and systemic viability of preservation.
We seek papers to frame the topic of 21st century Critical Conservation. If historic preservation was a product of the cultural disruptions of 20th century progressivism and modernity, is its task finished? Does obsolescence overrule permanence? What does it mean when personalized heritage replaces history? Top-down groups—UNESCO—raise issues of cultural imperialism. Preservation as a catalyst for urban gentrification raises questions about urban policy. Are preservation, equity and the just city compatible? Other papers might focus on the cultural orders and characteristics of the Media Age of the 21st century that render historic preservation irrelevant: multiple cultures, diverse tastes, and bottom-up participation fueled by social media and media buzz. The global focus on energy efficiency and social equity asks whether conservation can engage with a triple bottom line of economic/social/environmental sustainability that may conflict with aesthetic/historic importance as controlling criteria.
Session chairs: Susan Nigra Snyder firstname.lastname@example.org and George E. Thomas email@example.com Harvard University
Vernacular Chicago: Architecture in the City of Broad Shoulders
Few urban environments have proved as fertile for architecture as Chicago has over the last 150 years. Local architects have helped shape America’s architectural profession since William Le Baron Jenny’s initial skyscraper first loomed over the city in the 1880s. But the region’s vast industrial economy has produced an equally considerable legacy of vernacular architecture as well. As a thriving commercial metropolis, the area boasts a wide range of architectural vernaculars, from early residential subdivisions to ethnic shopping streets, and from massive industrial works to innovative community centers. While Chicago’s professional architects introduced new ideas and forms in high-style manner, other architects, engineers, builders, and everyday citizens contributed to the built environment with designs for ordinary buildings of their own.
The session is designed to explore the range of vernacular architectural topics and methodology associated with metropolitan Chicago. Papers are welcome that investigate the ordinary landscapes of Chicagoland from any number of approaches, including architectural history, material culture and cultural landscapes, and those that address symbolic systems, literary representations, and social justice perspectives. Presentations should pose questions about the nature of Chicago’s cultural landscapes and how we interpret them today. To what extent did Chicago builders follow precedents from elsewhere or set standards for others to imitate? What were the major social and economic influences that affected vernacular design in this region? How did investment in the built environment reflect changes in the manufacturing economy and urban culture over time? As Chicago has moved into a post-industrial stage, how is the vernacular being preserved and interpreted in the contemporary city and its surroundings?
Session chairs: James Michael Buckley, University of California, Berkeley firstname.lastname@example.org; Marta Gutman, City College of New York, email@example.com.
If architecture and cities have long been characterized by fixity, groundedness, and a formative relationship to land, how might a maritime perspective shift our understanding? Following the pioneering work of Fernand Braudel on the Mediterranean, Kurti Chaudhuri on the Indian Ocean, and Paul Lovejoy on the Black Atlantic, historians have not only reinvigorated Mediterranean studies and encouraged the growth of trans-Atlantic studies, they have also begun to identify transnational geographies as similarly fruitful sites for exploration, including the Black Sea, the Swahili Coast, and the Red Sea. This session considers how historic connections across the sea––created through networks of trade, imperial expansion, systems of communication, and/or migrations of people––have facilitated the transmission of ideas about architecture and have shaped buildings and cities across these watery terrains.
We seek papers that explore, either in case studies or more broadly analytic investigations, the possibilities, challenges, and potential pitfalls of thinking architecture from the mid-fifteenth century to the present through an oceanic lens. Although the age of European exploration put many regions into commercial and cultural dialogue, we seek work that opens onto less familiar routes, such as the swansong of Ming exploration or Arab trade across theIndian Ocean. Papers engaging the urban scale are especially encouraged. Our aim is to bring together architectural historians who work on geographically disparate places to consider the methodological ties that bind them. What lessons might be learned about how buildings and cities are shaped by transnational networks built across systems of water and transformed by the movements and complex cultural affiliations of individuals and groups? How do we negotiate the desire for a global outlook with the localized dynamics of particular sites?
Session chairs: Sheila Crane, University of Virginia, firstname.lastname@example.org; and Mark Hinchman, Taylors University, Malaysia, MarkAlan.Hinchman@taylors.edu.my
What Canon? Questions of Landscape History
A canon of landscape architectural history has emerged just as art and architectural historians have questioned the value and limits of the idea of any canon. Landscape history has expanded in the context of Marxist, feminist, and race-based critiques of established canons in art and architectural history. This critical condition has produced a landscape architectural canon both more inclusive and less defined, one at once more porous and thicker. Crossing disciplinary boundaries, scholars have investigated the complex connections between the fields of landscape architecture and architecture, ecology and environment, resiliency and sustainability, cities and urbanism. A canon of sorts has emerged, though by no means static or clearly grounded in any one approach. This session seeks to explore what the canon defines and what are the manifestations, limits, and potential areas of exposure. The session seeks to consider the role of critique in historical narratives and the development of the canon- where and what is the appropriate critical role? How has critique become an historical tool? Papers that consider landscapes in non-Western cultures would be appropriate, as would alternative views of canonic places. We encourage papers addressing the relationship of architecture and landscape architecture, urban design and planning, environmental design and analysis. Papers might present completed research projects or those still being theorized. We seek papers that suggest alternative views and challenging perspectives that will contribute to the growing body of scholarship in landscape architectural history.
Session chair: Thaisa Way, University of Washington, email@example.com