Architectural Historian and Critic Lucia Allais is appointed
Associate Professor at Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation
Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (Columbia GSAPP) is happy to announce that Lucia Allais will join its faculty as Associate Professor of Architecture in September 2019. Allais is a widely-recognized scholar, historian, and critic whose expertise reaches deep within the history of architecture and whose writings contribute to changing our collective perspective of architecture in the global context. By examining not only modern buildings but how modernity operates through architecture, her research uncovers exciting new material on how design matters both to the history of institutions and to intellectual history. Professor Allais joins the GSAPP faculty and the Columbia community, reinforcing the School’s legacy of fostering critical historical consciousness among its students and across the disciplines of the built environment and contributing to the University’s commitment to advancing deeper understanding and new knowledge across our global condition.
In her research and writing, Lucia Allais particularly focuses on the design, reception, and transformation of buildings in the modern period. Her first book Designs of Destruction: The Making of Monuments in the Twentieth Century (University of Chicago Press, 2018) addressed a series of remarkable attempts to salvage monuments from the destructions of the middle of the twentieth century, showing how these projects laid the spatial ground for the collection of sites that is known as “world heritage.”
Allais’s writing combines detailed analysis of architectural form with deep archival research on technical and bureaucratic processes. She has published widely in a number of edited volumes and journals, including the essay “The Architecture of Mediocracy” in Marcel Breuer: Building Global Institutions; and “The Real and the Theoretical 1968,” which uncovered a never-realized plan for a “Harlem school” of architecture by the theorists of the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies. She is currently researching her second book project, which investigates how postwar highway development and mobility in the Global South were affected by the redesign of historic urban cores.
Allais works across disciplines; and she has led a number of interdisciplinary programs and courses. She was a postdoctoral fellow in the Princeton Society of Fellows, and a director of Princeton’s Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program in the Humanities, IHUM. With Forrest Meggers, she currently co-directs “The Concrete 100,” a project that brings together researchers from science and technology with others from the arts and humanities, to examine the history and consequences of the “carbonation equation” for reinforced concrete. Allais is also a critic who writes about contemporary design, and has curated a number of exhibitions, including Legible Pompeii at the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale and Mixed Being at the 2016 Istanbul Triennial. She has received a number of grants and fellowships for her work, including from the Graham Foundation, the CASVA, the Harvard Center for European Studies, and the Radcliffe Institute. Allais delivered the inaugural Detlef Mertins Lecture on the Histories of Modernity at Columbia GSAPP in 2015.
Allais earned her BSE from Princeton, her MARCH with distinction from Harvard, and her PHD from MIT. She has worked as an architect and a writer. She joins Columbia from Princeton University, where she taught for 10 years, first as an Assistant, then Associate Professor of Architecture. She is a founding member of the Aggregate Architectural History Collaborative and an editor of the journal Grey Room.