Call for Papers: British Architecture in the World

As part of its long-running series Twentieth Century Architecture, the Twentieth Century Society is planning a journal for publication on the relationship between British architecture and other countries of the world, particularly those beyond Europe.

Pansodan Street, Yangon, including Chartered Bank, Palmer & Turner, 1939–41.

Pansodan Street, Yangon, including Chartered Bank, Palmer & Turner, 1939–41.

The nature of the relationship may take a number of forms, such as British-based practices working overseas, British architects establishing offices in other countries, architects coming to Britain for training before returning home, or more general issues of how the profession in Britain set standards for education and validation elsewhere, in particular through the RIBA. We tend to favour actual buildings as subject matter in Twentieth Century Architecture, but on this occasion the field may be wider, including town planning, cultural responses, climatic adaptation, administrative histories, professional formations, and relationships to the later period of colonialism and its ending. Accounts of the scope of archival resources could be of interest, and we might also include reports on the current state of buildings, including threats and conservation projects.

Jane Drew, housing in Sector-22, Chandigarh, c. 1954.

Jane Drew, housing in Sector-22, Chandigarh, c. 1954.

The scope outlined above is larger than usual for what is a relatively small collection of published pieces – the journal usually contains about ten articles – but it seems preferable not to place limitations until we are aware of what might be available. Recently, research and publication in this area have grown rapidly, and our aim is to bring together articles that complement each other, but with a spread of periods (anything from 1914 to around 2000), styles and locations. The journal will be the sixteenth in the series, and will probably be published in 2023.

In the first instance, please send your ideas by 01 July 2020 in the form of an abstract of up to 300 words, along with a brief CV and list of publications to date, to elain.harwood@HistoricEngland.org.uk, who will also answer any queries. Abstracts will be reviewed by the editorial committee of the journal, drawn from members of the Twentieth Century Society Publications Committee, and selected for full submission. Completed texts will be peer-reviewed.

Following commissioning, delivery would be 1 March 2022, the length of articles should be between 2,000 and 5,000 words, with up to ten images per article. Contributors are expected to provide and pay for images of publishable quality.

Online Symposium: Epidemic Urbanism Reflections on History: 28 May and 29 May 2020

Screenshot 2020-05-15 at 14.22.45

Epidemic illnesses – not only a product of biology, but also social and cultural phenomena – are as old as cities themselves. The recent pandemic of COVID-19 has put into perspective the impact of epidemic illness on urban life and exposed the vulnerabilities of the societies it ravages. So how can epidemics help us understand urban environments? And what insights from the outbreak and experience of and the response to previous urban epidemics might inform our understanding of COVID-19?

Addressing these questions, this online symposium on Thursday 28 and Friday 29 May, 16:00–18:00 BST (11:00–13:00 US EST) will bring together academics from a range of disciplines to present case studies from across the globe demonstrating how cities in particular are not just the primary place of exposure and quarantine, but also the site and instrument of intervention.

Each presentation will tell a story of a city, an outbreak of illness, and the city’s response to the epidemic, addressing notable interventions or actions implemented and their effects. Some will discuss the impact of the epidemic on urbanism, urban design and urban planning. Others consider epidemic influence on architecture, the built environment and the experience of illness.

Presentations will cover a range of illnesses and epidemics, geographies, time periods and urban interventions. The observations on the impact of these epidemics on society and urban life seek to offer insights to understand, critique or complicate the conception of and response to COVID-19 because the symposium ultimately aims to create a space in which to use history as a medium to provide a better understanding of the current crisis and how it might shape our future.

Information and Registration:

Web: https://bit.ly/EpidemicUrbanism

Email: epidemicurbanism@gmail.com

Register by 20 May 2020.

Tania Sengupta, “Papered spaces: clerical practices, materialities, and spatial cultures of provincial governance in Bengal, Colonial India, 1820s–1860s”, Journal of Architecture, vol 25, issue 2, 2020

British colonial governance in India was built upon global technologies of writing produced through European mercantile colonialism; the extraction of the embodied Mughal administrative knowledge from a Persianette (or Tamil-proficient, as in Southern India) Indian clerical class, and its materialisation into official paper-based forms, as shown by Christopher Bayly; and a scribal-clerical ‘habitus’ as described by Bhavani Raman. This research focuses on the architecture, spaces and material culture associated with the paper-bureaucracy of the colonial government of Bengal that Jon Wilson calls one of the world’s earliest modern states.

A provincial administrative town in colonial Bengal. George Francklin Atkinson, Our Station, Plate 1, lithograph, from Atkinson, Curry and Rice (On Forty Plates) Or the Ingredients of Social Life at Our Station in India (London: Day & Son, 1859), © British Library Board, 1264.e.16

A provincial administrative town in colonial Bengal. George Francklin Atkinson, Our Station, Plate 1, lithograph, from Atkinson, Curry and Rice (On Forty Plates) Or the Ingredients of Social Life at Our Station in India (London: Day & Son, 1859), © British Library Board, 1264.e.16

It argues that this paper-/ writing-oriented habitus also mandated a chain of materialities and spatialities (paper-records, furniture, spaces, and architectures of colonial governance). Focusing on the colonial cutcherry(office), the nerve-centre of Bengal’s zilla sadar (provincial administrative) towns, I analyse such ‘papered spaces’ as record rooms and clerical offices. The work is conceptualised around paper as a key agent of colonial governance, including the expanding spheres of its logic, which profoundly permeated the cutcherry’s material-spatial culture and experiential ‘lifeworld’. I also reflect on how colonial paper-practices intersected with other more immaterial and mobile circuits of knowledge and information spread over the town and country, and how such paper-governance was fed, for example, by spatial geographies of paper supply and printing. For the research, I combined extensive on-ground documentations of the material fabric of the buildings with archival research (governmental papers, period literature and art) in India, Bangladesh and Britain.

 

 

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13602365.2020.1733861 

The 7th International Congress on Construction History (7ICCH) will be held in Lisbon, from 12 to 16 July, 2021. As in 6ICCH (Brussels, 2018), the 7ICCH event will adopt a two-step procedure for proposals evaluation:

– First call: a first call for proposals for thematic sessions will be open from 15 April 2020 to 9 May 2020; followed by a

– Second call: a general call for abstracts for the usual open sessions, from 18 May to 28 June 2020.

We are what we build and how we build; thus, the study of Construction History is now more than ever at the centre of current debates as to the shape of a sustainable future for humankind. With the main theme “History of Construction Cultures”, the Congress will provide an opportunity to celebrate and expand our understanding of the ways that everyday building activities have been perceived and experienced in different cultures, times and places.

The general call for abstracts will invite proposals for inclusion in thematic sessions as well as single contributions dealing with a broad range of construction history topics (construction determinants and their relation with design, extraction and processing of materials, site management, works execution processes, knowledge transfer, actors, machines, tools, building legislation, construction – politics, economy and society, etc.). The aim will be to achieve a broad and in-depth assessment of new research in construction history.

The present call, open until 9 May 2020 invites prospective session chairs to suggest topics for thematic sessions. The proposed subjects should contribute to the debate of the latest issues, approaches and questions of research in the field of construction history research, stimulating intercultural and interdisciplinary collaboration and discussion. Proposals should include a description of the theme (max. 400 words), an explanation of the relevance of the theme (max. 400 words) and the CV of the applicant chair demonstrating his/her relevant expertise.

With the support of the Scientific Committee, the Organizing Committee will select up to 12 thematic sessions, limited to one per applicant. Chairs of the thematic sessions are expected to be present at the 7ICCH and give a short introduction to their session. They are, in collaboration with the Scientific Committee, responsible for the selection process of the submitted abstracts and for the editing process of the submitted papers. Four or five papers will be selected for each session.

No more than one paper from the chair’s research team can be selected. The Scientific Committee reserves the right to redirect papers towards other thematic or general sessions. Proposals should be sent to 7icchlisbon@gmail.com until 4 May 2020. Prospective session chairs will be informed on the evaluation of their proposals by the Organizing Committee by 18 May 2020.

More information at http://www.7icch.org

Organizing Committee:
Chair – João Mascarenhas Mateus (University of Lisbon)
Treasurer – Ana Paula Pires (NOVA University of Lisbon)
Sandra M. G. Pinto (NOVA University of Lisbon) Fernanda Rollo (NOVA University of Lisbon)
José Aguiar (University of Lisbon)
Ivo Veiga (University of Lisbon)
Milton Pacheco (Coimbra University)
Manuel Caiado (University of Lisbon)

‘The architectural production of India’s everyday modernism: middle-class housing in Pune, 1960-1980’ in Architecture Beyond Europe Journal, no.16, 2019.

Sarah Melsens, Inge Bertels et Amit Srivastava

img-5

Architects United, Freestanding Bungalow for Mrs. Shroff, Pune, 1966

The large-scale appropriation of modernist architectural features in everyday housing projects in postcolonial India is remarkable. This article examines how regional architects adapted their engagement with architectural modernism to the evolving circumstances of architectural production within the context of the developing world. Drawing on Pierre Bourdieu’s “field theory”, it presents a detailed case study of two decades of residential work by Architects United, a medium-scale architectural practice founded in the Indian city of Pune in 1961. While the architects’ earliest projects demonstrated an opportunity and desire for architectural innovation, this approach became increasingly restricted as new patterns for housing provision emerged, resulting in a more subdued and hybrid form of modernist architecture. The paper makes use of the architects’ previously undisclosed archive and oral history to demonstrate that these architectural adaptations were the indirect result of governance practices and societal change, particularly the government’s stimulation of co-operative housing initiatives and the emergence of a postcolonial middle class with distinct housing expectations. As such, this “peripheral” case exposes some of the processes that have been overlooked in the rhetoric of Architectural Modernism as a Western import in India, which is primarily centered around the discussion of exceptional public building commissions by “global experts” or their Indian disciples. The paper further highlights the need to investigate the processes of architectural production, in addition to the built product itself, so that a pluralistic rather than romanticized understanding of architectural practice may emerge.

The full article is freely available here: https://doi.org/10.4000/abe.7011

Herbert Baker, New Delhi and the reception of the classical tradition

by Soumyen Bandyopadhyay, Sagar Chauhan, in The Routledge Handbook on the Reception of Classical Architecture: https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315171104 

This chapter assesses the work of the British architect Sir Herbert Baker (1862–1946) for the imperial capital of New Delhi, a role he shared with Sir Edwin Lutyens (1869–1944) very much as an equal partner over more than a decade. This assessment is undertaken in the context of the reception and rereading of the classical project and the wider classical tradition among not only the imperialists, but also the colonised in India.

Herbert Baker: corbelled arch in New Delhi

corbelled arch in New Delhi

The reception of the classical tradition in India assumed a character distinct from other British colonies as a result of a long-standing history of interaction with the classical world, as well as the sheer immensity of its diverse historical, literary and material culture traditions. With the consolidation of the British Empire in India, European classical traditions assumed attributes and resonances they did not possess in Europe.

Infrastructure between Statehood and Selfhood: The Trans-African Highway

Kenny Cupers, Prita Meier

 

Focusing on the 1960s–70s project to build a trans-African highway network, Infrastructure between Statehood and Selfhood: The Trans-African Highway argues for the need to develop a more dialectical understanding of the relationship between people and infrastructure than current architectural and urban scholarship affords. As Kenny Cupers and Prita Meier describe, African leaders imagined infrastructure as a vehicle of Pan-African freedom, unity, and development, but the construction of the Trans-African Highway relied on expertise and funding from former colonial overlords. Based on archival research, visual analysis, and ethnographic fieldwork in Kenya, this article examines the highway’s imaginaries of decolonization to show how infrastructure was both the business of statehood and a means of selfhood.

Map of the Trans-African Highway project, late 1970s (Rolf Hofmeier, “Die Transafrikastraßen: Stand der Planung und Realisierung,” Africa Spectrum 14, no. 1 [1979], 35).

Map of the Trans-African Highway project, late 1970s (Rolf Hofmeier, “Die Transafrikastraßen: Stand der Planung und Realisierung,” Africa Spectrum 14, no. 1 [1979], 35).

From the automobile and the tarmac road to the aesthetics and practices of mobility these fostered, infrastructure was a vehicle for the production of subjectivity in postindependence Kenya. This new selfhood, future oriented and on the move, was both victim and agent of commodification.

Otto Koenigsberger & Global Histories of Modernism by Vandana Baweja

Thursday 28 November 6pm – 7.30pm

Room 106 – Birkbeck School of Arts
43 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PD

Koeningsberger_global_modernism_1-724x1024

Otto H. Koenigsberger (1908–1999) was a German émigré architect who worked as the state architect in princely Mysore in British India in the 1940s. Upon emigration to London in 1951, he subsequently became an educator of Tropical Architecture (1954–1971) at the Architectural Association School of Architecture.

This presentation by Vandana Baweja (University of Florida) examines how Koenigsberger’s career can illuminate “global” as a paradigm in modernist historiography.
Book Tickets (free)

New Research:Suzanne Francis-Brown & Peter Francis Norman & Dawbarn, the UCWI, and Tropical Modernist Architecture in Jamaica” in Caribbean Quarterly, 65:1, 27-56, DOI: 10.1080/00086495.2019.1565219

The University College of the West Indies (UCWI) At Mona, Jamaica, established immediately following World War II, was one of the early greenfield university developments among British colonies in the Southern Hemisphere, as the British sought to ameliorate patently negative social conditions.

016

UCWI Designed by Norman and Dawbarn. Image courtesy of Special Collections and Archives at University of Liverpool

It was also one of the early tropical iterations of the modernist aesthetic that affected European landscapes from the early to middle decades of the twentieth century, sparked by the Bauhaus school of design and the work of iconic architects of the modern movement. British architectural firm Norman & Dawbarn received the contract to design the nascent West Indian university and its associated teaching hospital only weeks after the arrival of the first principal on site in Jamaica in 1946, and the overall scheme proposed in 1947, parts of which were built in stages between 1949 and the mid-1960s, remains recognisable today despite differences at the time and subsequent shifts in architectural approach.

Full Paper here: https://doi.org/10.1080/00086495.2019.1565219

The Coloniality of Infrastructure: Eurafrican Legacies:
Call for Papers – 
Conference at the University of Basel, 24-26 June 2020

IMG_0730

When Eurafrica emerged in the 1920s as an intellectual and political project to connect Europe with Africa, its goal was to ensure European colonial dominance in a changing world. Key to the proposed continental merger was infrastructure—not surprising at a time when railways, ports, camps, and other large-scale building projects were facilitating the extraction and movement of things for Europe while curtailing the freedom and mobility of Africans on an unprecedented scale. Recent scholarship has emphasized the centrality of Eurafrica and the type of colonialism it mustered in the history of European integration, from the EU’s founding intellectuals to its Cold-War-era realization. But continental infrastructure also played a role in African struggles for independence. Highways, ports, and dams became tools of state-building and even mobilized hopes of Panafrican integration and international solidarity. In practice, however, large-scale infrastructure required technical and financial aid which further entrenched Africa’s asymmetrical relationship to the Global North.
Today, as Africa enters a new age of development increasingly dominated by China, and the EU is in fundamental crisis, is it still possible to speak of a Eurafrican present? From the physical imprint of cities and the configuration of intercontinental airline routes, infrastructure testifies to the enduring legacies of Eurafrica. Infrastructure shapes territories and governs the mobilities within and across them, but also serves to immobilize and externalize bodies and things. The European infrastructure of the Mediterranean border regime, in which African migrants are systematically being detained or left to die, recalls colonial-era policies that valued life and dictated death along racial lines. At the same time, European aid focused on infrastructural development in Africa is increasingly targeted to counter such unwanted migration—without touching the global extraction economies that have roots in European colonial rule and continue to shape African cities and territories today. Because of these specters of Eurafrica, the EU seems structurally incapable to come to terms with its colonial past.
This conference proposes to explore historical continuities in Africa’s relationship with Europe through the lens of infrastructure. What are the infrastructural histories that bind the unequal destinies of people together across continents, and how do these legacies shape contemporary lifeworlds and international relations? How does infrastructural violence shape international relations between Africa and Europe, and how is the legacy of Eurafrica manifested in the spaces of everyday life? To answer these questions, the conference invites scholars from urban studies, history, political science, postcolonial theory, architecture, border and migration studies, and allied fields. We invite contributions that develop new perspectives of our geopolitical and interconnected urban present through its infrastructural pasts. Such studies of material and aesthetics relationships between Africa and Europe can focus on questions of lifeworlds, urban transformation, migration, territory, citizenship, development, or related themes. We are particularly interested in studies that can reveal the differential entanglements between people and places, and locate alternative forms of infrastructure, imaginaries of belonging, ongoing struggles for decolonization, and practices of world-making that decenter colonial ways of seeing, feeling, and knowing.
Confirmed Keynote Speakers:
Elizabeth Povinelli (Columbia University)
Siba N’Zatioula Grovogui (Cornell University)

 

Scientific Committee:
Peo Hansen (Linköping University, Sweden)
Edgar Pieterse (University of Cape Town)
Muriam Haleh Davis (University of California Santa Cruz)
Samia Henni (Cornell University)
Charles Heller (Forensic Oceanography, Geneva)
Anne-Isabelle Richard (University of Leiden)
Bilgin Ayata (University of Basel, Sociology)
Julia Tischler (University of Basel, Centre for African Studies)
Lorena Rizzo (University of Basel, Centre for African Studies)
Madeleine Herren-Oesch (University of Basel, European Global Studies)
Selection of Speakers:
Please submit an abstract of no more than 300 words and a short C.V. by 10 December 2019 to Michelle Killenberger (michelle.killenberger@unibas.ch). Applicants will be notified of acceptance in February 2020. We will cover travel and accommodation expenses for speakers in need of financial assistance.
 
Conference Organization:
The conference is organized by Kenny Cupers, Urban Studies, Department of Social Science at the University of Basel, in collaboration with Sociology, the Centre for African Studies, and the Institute for European Global Studies, as well as the African Centre for Cities at the University of Cape Town.
Follow-up Conference:
A follow-up conference will take place in collaboration with Prof. Edgar Pieterse at the African Centre for Cities at the University of Cape Town in June 2021. Entitled “Emerging Infrastructural Worlds: Mapping Urban Research in Africa,” this conference will map research approaches to transnational infrastructure projects across Africa and their consequences on the ground.

 

More information:

This conference is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation. For more information about the conference and associated research projects, please visit: