Apr/19 Lecture
Lucia Allais

Lucia Allais

2022 Urbanism Spring Lecture Series
Tuesday, 19-April 12:00 – 1:00 PM EST

Co-hosted by the City Design & Development Program (CDD), SMArchS Urbanism Program and Norman B. Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism at MIT.

This lecture, Stepwise: Topographic Modernism in Lebanon, ca. 1964, will be streamed online here. The webcast link includes a section where you can submit questions to the speaker for the Q&A period in real time.

Lucia Allais

Columbia University

Lucia Allais is an architectural historian of the modern period. She works on architecture and internationalism and institutions; the technical and philosophical history of materials; the participation of buildings and design actors in political culture and global governance; architecture’s historiography, and epistemologies of time. Her first book, Designs of Destruction: The Making of Monuments in the Twentieth Century (University of Chicago Press, 2018) described how a new definition of “the monument” arose from various plans within liberal internationalist organizations to protect and salvage famous building from destruction in the middle of the 20th Century. This includes the making of lists and maps of monuments “not to be bombed” by American art historians during World War II, the decolonization of museums in the global South at the hands of organizations from the League of Nations to UNESCO, and the salvage of massive building complexes, such as the temples of Abu Simbel, by global multidisciplinary consortia.

Allais has published a number of essays on related themes. “Architecture and Mediocracy at Unesco House” (in Marcel Breuer: Building Global Institutions, ed. Massey and Berdgoll, Lars Mueller, 2018) describes the fraught collaborative design of the UNESCO headquarter in Paris. “The Real and the Theoretical, 1968” (in Perspecta 42, 2010) uncovers a never-realized plan for a “Harlem school” produced by Peter Eisenman of the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies (IAUS) in collaboration with the New York Urban League. “Rendering: On Experience and Experiments” (in Design Technics, ed. May and Çelik Alexander, Minnesota: 2021) is an essay-length history of rendering informed by changing theories of experience, media and technology. She recently published an introduction to three translations of texts by Alois Riegl, “Mood for Modernists” (in Grey Room 80: Winter 2020).