SAH Awarded Graham Foundation Grant to Support SAH Archipedia

Dec 14, 2020 by SAH News

The Society of Architectural Historians is pleased to announce that the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts recently awarded SAH a $10,000 organization grant to support editorial work to publish twenty-one new essays in SAH Archipedia. The Twenty Historically Contested Sites: Race and Ethnicity Shaping the Built Environment project collects essays on buildings, sites, and landscapes that document the histories of traditionally underrepresented and marginalized groups, and is the first of many SAH efforts to raise funds to add content to SAH Archipedia that represents many marginalized groups/concepts including women in architecture, climate change and landscapes, and sites of erasure and cultural reckoning with systemic racism. 

Graham Foundation logo

Club Fabulous Claiborne
"Club Fabulous" bar, Claiborne Avenue, Treme neighborhood, New Orleans. Image:  Infrogmation, 2008, Wikimedia Commons


Dunbar Hotel

The Dunbar Hotel was the focal point of the Central Avenue African American community in Los Angeles during the 1930s and 1940s. Image: Cbl62, Wikimedia Commons


SAH will use the Graham Foundation completion grant to fund editing and publication of diverse, cross-cultural content currently in our editorial backlog: 20 recently written essays that examine sites and settlements across the United States representing the histories of under-represented groups including LatinX and LGBTQ people, African Americans and Native Americans, and members of the Asian diaspora. In addition to enabling publication of the 20 essays, this grant will fund a new essay written by SAH Archipedia Editor Gabrielle Esperdy that will serve as a conceptual umbrella tying them together. This overview essay will be partly historiographic and partly methodological, providing an intellectual roadmap for SAH Archipedia’s ongoing editorial project to revise, update and expand its content in order to tell the full story of the built environment of the United States. To that end, the introductory essay will begin to reckon with the implicit bias of our published scholarship. While SAH Archipedia has always embraced an expansive definition of architecture, landscape and urban form, we must acknowledge that the narrow perspective of the dominant culture—white, heteronormative, and classist—has too often framed how our content has ascribed social and cultural significance, even in our current content. By broadening this perspective, and reframing scholarly significance, this essay will re-present SAH Archipedia’s content, underscoring the diversity of American narratives embodied by our buildings and our communities.

Calle Ocho

Calle Ocho with Tower Theater in the Little Havana Historic District is the heart of the Cuban American community in Miami, Florida. Image: Infrogmation, Wikimedia Commons


About the Graham Foundation

Founded in 1956, the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts fosters the development and exchange of diverse and challenging ideas about architecture and its role in the arts, culture, and society.

About SAH Archipedia

SAH Archipedia is an authoritative online encyclopedia of the U.S. built environment organized by the Society of Architectural Historians and the University of Virginia Press. It contains histories, photographs, and maps for over 20,000 structures and places. These are mostly buildings, but as you explore SAH Archipedia you will also find landscapes, infrastructure, monuments, artwork, and more. This cross-section of the country demonstrates the richness and diversity of architecture and building practice across many centuries, from mud brick to steel, from ancient cliff dwellings to contemporary office towers—a history that unfolds in individual building entries and thematic essays written by leading architectural historians who survey and explain styles and typologies, materials and techniques, and social and political contexts, from local to state to national levels. The content of SAH Archipedia was originally drawn from the award-winning book series, Buildings of the United States (BUS), and includes histories and thematic essays from all of the published BUS print volumes. SAH Archipedia has continued to grow with the addition of peer-reviewed, born-digital content and as new BUS volumes are completed. In 2017 we reached our goal of representing all fifty states in SAH Archipedia. U.S. content is only the beginning, however, as we plan to expand to include global content in the coming years.

About the Society of Architectural Historians

The Society of Architectural Historians promotes the study, interpretation, and conservation of architecture, design, landscapes, and urbanism worldwide. Founded at Harvard in 1940, SAH serves a network of local, national and international institutions, and individuals who, by vocation or avocation, focus on the built environment and its role in shaping contemporary life. SAH promotes meaningful engagement with the history of the built environment thorough advocacy efforts, print and online publications, and local, national, and international programs. Since 1994, SAH has been headquartered in Chicago.