The Protective Matrix: Sandbags, Monuments, and Law in the Twentieth Century
A remarkable protective architecture was invented over the course of the twentieth century: the international practice of covering monumental structures with lattices of sandbags. The lecture traces the evolving legal and technical justifications that were given for these structures, including in debates about the “humanization of war” at the League of Nations, ultimately proposing to detect a distinct spectrum of aesthetic ideologies behind this protective matrix.
Lucia Allais is an architectural historian who writes about design, politics, and technology in the modern period and on the global stage. Her first book, Designs of Destruction: the Making of Monuments in the Twentieth Century, was published by the University of Chicago Press in 2018. She has written numerous articles about the history of architectural knowledge, including The Real and the Theoretical, 1968 and Rendering: On Experience and Experiments. Most recently, she co-authored, with Forrest Meggers, a critical history of the carbonation equation for reinforced concrete, titled Concrete is 100 years Old. Allais is Associate Professor of Architecture at Columbia University, the Director of the Temple Hoyne Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture, a member of the Aggregate Architectural History Collaborative, and an editor of the journal Grey Room.