SAHARA Highlights: Zachary Violette

by Jacqueline Spafford and Jeffrey Klee, SAHARA Co-Editors | Nov 01, 2019

Zach Violette was a 2018 recipient of the short-term H. Allen Brooks Travelling Fellowship from the SAH. He visited the cities of eastern Europe to understand more clearly the environment from which many immigrants to the United States came at the turn of the twentieth century. His first book, The Decorated Tenement, was published this year by the University of Minnesota Press. In it, he humanizes the tenement that was the scourge of housing reformers in New York, Boston, and Chicago by observing that this type was often built by immigrants and for immigrants and lent a dignity to working-class housing that the products of reform-minded builders so conspicuously lacked.

Like so many Brooks fellows, Zach is an excellent photographer, often shooting with a perspective-control lens, giving the same careful attention to elaborate Baroque churches as he does to Soviet-era office blocks. His images depict a wide range of buildings in Łódź, Budapest, Kiev, Vilnius, and Prague, including churches, synagogues, social halls, and apartment buildings. Like his book, his carefully composed images of tenements and their surroundings ask us to give new attention to buildings that have long been, for many scholars, beneath notice.

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Dohány Street Synagogue
Dohány Street Synagogue, Budapest, Hungary, 1854-1859. Photograph by Zach Violette, April, 2019.

Vojtěch Ignác Ullmann
Vojtěch Ignác Ullmann, Spanish Synagogue, Prague, Czech Republic, 1868. Photograph by Zach Violette, March, 2019.

St. Stephen's Basilica
Miklós Ybl and József Kauser, St. Stephen's Basilica, Budapest, Hungary, 1868-1905. Photograph by Zach Violette, April, 2019.

Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Łódź, Poland, 1884. Photograph by Zach Violette, August, 2019.

Apartment House Andriivs'kyi descent
Apartment House Andriivs'kyi descent, Kiev, Ukraine, late 19th century. Photograph by Zach Violette, August, 2019.

Apartment house on Prez
Apartment house on Prez. Gabriela Narutowicz, Łódź, Poland, late 19th century. Photograph by Zach Violette, August, 2019.

Josef Fanta, House of the Hlahol Choir
Josef Fanta, House of the Hlahol Choir, Masarykovo nábř., Prague, Czech Republic, 1906. Photograph by Zach Violette, March, 2019.

Orthodox Church of St. Michael and St. Constantine
Orthodox Church of St. Michael and St. Constantine, Jono Basanavičiaus g. 27, Vilnius, Lithuania, 1913. Photograph by Zach Violette, August, 2019.

Wieslaw Lisowski, YMCA Łódź
Wieslaw Lisowski, YMCA Łódź, ul. Moniuszko, Łódź, Poland, 1932-1935; rebuilt 1949. Photograph by Zach Violette, August, 2019.




Founded in 1940, the Society of Architectural Historians is an international nonprofit membership organization that promotes the study, interpretation and conservation of architecture, design, landscapes and urbanism worldwide. SAH serves a network of local, national and international institutions and individuals who, by profession or interest, focus on the built environment and its role in shaping contemporary life. SAH promotes meaningful public engagement with the history of the built environment through advocacy efforts, print and online publications, and local, national and international programs.
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