Symposium: Race and Modern Architecture

Symposium: Race and Modern Architecture


Fri, Sep 18, 2020 12pm PST
Free event open to the public


To register for the event and receive a Zoom link, click here.


A symposium to present Race and Modern Architecture: A Critical History from the Enlightenment to the Present, published by the University of Pittsburgh Press.


Edited by Mabel O. Wilson, Nancy and George Rupp Professor at GSAPP; Irene Cheng; and Charles L. Davis II with contributions by Esra Akcan, Adrienne Brown, Luis E. Carranza, Jiat-Hwee Chang, Mark Crinson, Kenny Cupers, Addison Godel, Dianne Harris, Andrew Herscher, Reinhold Martin, Brian D. McLaren, Joanna Merwood-Salisbury, Peter Minosh, Adedoyin Teriba, and Lisa Uddin.





More information on the book:

Race and Modern Architecture: A Critical History from the Enlightenment to the Present
Edited By Irene Cheng, Charles L. Davis II, Mabel O. Wilson

University of Pittsburgh  Press

This book will enlighten many. By exposing how modern architectural discourse and thought have been influenced quite heavily by racism, this critical and important scholarship sheds new light on the built environment. Race and Modern Architecture ultimately reveals how architecture and design have been silent partners in oppression in the United States and around the globe.
Lee Bey, author of Southern Exposure: The Overlooked Architecture of Chicago’s South Side


Although race—a concept of human difference that establishes hierarchies of power and domination—has played a critical role in the development of modern architectural discourse and practice since the Enlightenment, its influence on the discipline remains largely underexplored. This volume offers a welcome and long-awaited intervention for the field by shining a spotlight on constructions of race and their impact on architecture and theory in Europe and North America and across various global contexts since the eighteenth century. Challenging us to write race back into architectural history, contributors confront how racial thinking has intimately shaped some of the key concepts of modern architecture and culture over time, including freedom, revolution, character, national and indigenous style, progress, hybridity, climate, representation, and radicalism. By analyzing how architecture has intersected with histories of slavery, colonialism, and inequality—from eighteenth-century neoclassical governmental buildings to present-day housing projects for immigrants—Race and Modern Architecture challenges, complicates, and revises the standard association of modern architecture with a universal project of emancipation and progress.


The event is presented by Columbia GSAPP together with California College of the Arts and The University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning.

This event is preceded by a public discussion held at GSAPP on February 26th, 2016 entitled Critical Dialogues on Race and Modern Architecture.