Christopher Cowell, a historian and architect, is currently the assistant professor of architectural history, modern and contemporary, at Trinity College Dublin. He received his PhD from GSAPP, Columbia University, in 2020. Cowell has taught at Columbia and Yale, where he lectured on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century global architectural history, has taught seminars in modern architecture and colonialism, and contemporary architectural theory. His research spans the history of architecture and urbanism across the eighteenth to twentieth centuries, focusing on the architecture of modern colonialism in South Asia and South-East Asia. This intersection includes work on urban militarism, spatial security, hinterland ecologies, cartography, property, climate, disease, and race theory.
Cowell has published in Modern Asian Studies, Architecture Beyond Europe, and for EAHN, among others. He has written on the connection between architecture, disease, and urban form in southern China. He is currently finishing a book, Form Follows Fever, on the relationship between colonial Hong Kong’s formative urban morphology and the aetiology of malaria through miasma theory. Meanwhile, Cowell’s doctoral and ongoing research looks at South Asia. It examines the disturbingly profound role that the East India Company’s colonial armies played in developing modern architecture and city-making in India through the construction of their military camps (cantonments) across the northern subcontinent.
Cowell has, most recently, been invited to serve as an international competition juror (Indian Institute of Architects), a journal peer reviewer (Architecture Beyond Europe, Institut national d'histoire de l'art, Paris), and is on the editorial board of a new journal on architecture and urbanism, Critical Architectural and Urban Histories of Asia (Hong Kong University Press).