Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies Wallace Fellow
Mannerism in Modern Architecture, 1920-1950
(January-June) 2018

Professor Andrew Leach

Taking its starting point from Manfredo Tafuri’s L’architettura del manierismo nel cinquecento europeo (1966), this project concerns the literature and sources for the mid-twentieth-century construction of architectural “mannerism”. It concerns, too, mannerism’s part in the mid-century emergence of architectural history as a distinct field of inquiry. The research will investigate writing on architectural mannerism up to 1950 and the year, therefore, in which Colin Rowe published his influential essay “Mannerism and Modern Architecture”—on which such later works as Bruno Zevi’s treatment of “Michelangiolo architetto” (1964) and Robert Venturi’s embrace of mannerism in Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture (1966) one way or another rely. The project will consider how mannerism has been understood within the history of modern architectural culture, both on its own terms and in relation to contemporary architectural production and discourse. The research will reflect on the disciplinary implications of the study of mannerism for architectural history, exploring Tafuri’s premise that both architecture and the history of architecture has rallied around the idea of mannerism or revolted against it in moments of disciplinary and cultural insecurity—those moments in which the relation of art and history to culture and society has been open to fresh negotiation.

Transregional Research Junior Scholar Fellowship: InterAsian Contexts and Connections (2016-2017)
Offshore Migrations: Shelter and Humanitarian Ethics among Australasian Detention Centers

Dr Jennifer Ferng

Against these migratory flows surrounding the Australian policy of mandatory detention, this project poses a fundamental research question: how can we understand offshore detention centers against the context of humanitarian ethics and the architect’s mandate of building humane shelter, which has now been compromised by border politics? In answering this question, the history of architecture and the built environment can shed light on contemporary political situations in Oceania and southeast Asia, specifically the Pacific Solution and Operation Sovereign Borders. The global detention industrial complex, with its prefabricated buildings, conflicts with the architect’s duties of creating accessible shelter. Such an Inter-Asian history of “states of exception” can demonstrate how offshore processing sites are problematic for humanitarian ethics and offer trenchant commentary about the interventions of Western countries like Australia in the economic and political regimes of poorer countries like Papua New Guinea, Nauru, and Cambodia. Voluntary repatriation schemes made to Afghan refugees and others since 2002 express but one example of Australia’s “right to exclude,” which remains paramount in its socially-constructed conception of governance that holds disturbing consequences for international asylum seekers. Operating as “spaces without law,” offshore processing centers, once considered temporary measures, have become permanent fixtures, overwhelming local communities in Cambodia and Indonesia trying to meet the demands of the Australian government.

ARC DP160100364
Campus: Building Modern Australian Universities

Dr Cameron Logan

Modern university campuses created unprecedented opportunities for the realisation of innovative solutions in urban planning, architecture and landscape. This interdisciplinary project is the first comprehensive examination of the post-WWII evolution of the Australian campus. Thematic investigation, digital visualisation and detailed case studies are revealing the physical impacts as well as the of political, institutional, social and cultural resonance of this far reaching programme of educational expansion. Foregrounding landscape and site, researchers have identified campuses as important catalysts for urban thinking in the twentieth century, and are now working on developing strategies for the conservation and adaptation of campuses to meet future needs in the tertiary sector.

2017 Nancy Keesing Fellowship
Aquarian Green: Building new ways of living in the 1970s counterculture

Associate Professor Lee Stickells

The 1960s and 1970s counterculture proposed revolutionary and alternative ways to live, work and love – and equally radical spaces in which to do that. Northern New South Wales was a crucible for the Australian counterculture and became fertile terrain for its experimental architectures. Beyond shelter, building was a means to also materialise ideals of communal living, ecological harmony, independence from the state, individual creative expression, and alternative economies. Significant within this activity was experimentation that prefigured contemporary concepts of sustainable design and living. An everyday environmentalism developed through rethinking how to live. Approaches included designing with appropriate technologies, for self-sufficiency, and for low environmental impact. This project will draw on the unique resources of the State Library to explore interactions between architecture and the counterculture. It will particularly highlight ways that alternative communities in Northern NSW forged new spatial vocabularies for sustainable living during the 1970s. The project will extend and enrich historical understanding of the Australian counterculture. It will also reflect on experiments that still resonate as climate change and global urbanisation prompt an increasingly urgent rethinking of how we shape our environment, both collectively and individually.

ARC FT120100883
Understanding the Lessons of Australia's Gold Coast through the Late-20th Century Debate on Criticality and Instrumentality in Architecture (2012-2016)

Professor Andrew Leach

Architectural debate of the late 20th century contended with the diminishing status of architectural ideas in the city, the complex context in which the architect has traditionally worked and thought. The Gold Coast offers a clear illustration of this problem, paradigmatic despite its idiosyncrasies. Although the Gold Coast grew rapidly since the '60s, neither architectural theory nor the 20th century idea of the 'project' figured among the forces shaping it. Two major books will result: from researching this situation, an architectural history of a city that appears to set architecture aside; and another offering an intellectual history of architectural theory since the '60s as a field of ideas proven superfluous to this contemporary city.

ARC DP130103849
From alchemist's den to science city: architecture and the expression of experimental science (2013-2016)

Professor Sandra Kaji-O'Grady and Associate Professor Chris L. Smith

This project explores the precise and nuanced ways in which architecture configures, influences and expresses the ideas and ideals of contemporary experimental science. This project has been significant in establishing a novel methodology that combines critical and theoretical tools and three dimensional graphic analyses for the exploration of the architecture of the biomedical sciences.