The Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation (GSAPP) is pleased to announce the appointment of Associate Professor Lucia Allais as the new Director of the Temple Hoyne Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture at Columbia University. Allais will assume the role in January 2022 and succeeds Professor Reinhold Martin, who has led the Buell Center since 2008. Martin will return to scholarship and teaching full time, and he continues to direct the History and Theory Sequence in the School’s Master of Architecture program.
Allais is an architectural scholar who joined Columbia GSAPP in September 2019 from Princeton University, where she had been an Associate Professor of Architecture and Director of the program in Interdisciplinary Humanities, IHUM. Since her appointment Allais has reinforced the School’s legacy of fostering critical historical consciousness among its students and across the disciplines of the built environment. Earlier this year, Allais co-organized, with Forrest Meggers (Princeton), the conference After Concrete: Redefining Materials and Energy in the Anthropocene. Stemming from a multi-year research project about the “carbonation” of reinforced concrete, the conference situated architectural materials into the variously scaled processes that are inherent in climate change, construction industries, ecological science, and design advocacy. Allais is currently teaching courses offered as part of the School’s History and Theory Sequence in the Master of Architecture program, as well as a colloquium for the Ph.D. in Architecture program; she is also a member of Columbia University’s Center for Comparative Media. Allais’s first book, Designs of Destruction: The Making of Monuments in the Twentieth Century (University of Chicago Press, 2018) describes the rise of a new definition of “the monument” through liberal internationalist organizations, who sought to protect and salvage buildings from the extensive destructions of the middle of the 20th century. Her work has contributed immensely to the University’s commitment to advancing deeper understanding and new knowledge across our global condition.
“I am humbled to be asked to direct the Buell Center,” Allais said, “at a moment when American architectural discourse is rich with debates about how human agency permeates the built and natural environments, both in history and in ongoing struggles over the future of design. I am especially excited to be following in the wake of Reinhold Martin’s transformative leadership.”
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Lucia Allais first joined SAH in 2005. She served as a session chair at the 2015 Annual Conference and as a speaker at 2017 and 2020 Conferences.