Call for Papers | European Architectural History Network Meeting 2014

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on May 4, 2013

Below is a selection of panels accommodating eighteenth-century topics at the 2014 EAHN conference; see the Call for Papers for more information and a full listing:

European Architectural History Network Third International Meeting
Turin, Italy, 19-21 June 2014

Proposals due by 30 September 2013

logoAbstracts are invited for the sessions and round tables listed below between April 15 and September 30, 2013. Abstracts of no more than 300 words should be submitted through the conference website, along with applicant’s name, professional affiliation, title of paper or position, a short curriculum vitae, home and work addresses, e-mail addresses and telephone numbers. Sessions will consist of either five papers or four papers and a respondent, with time for dialogue and questions at the end. Each paper should be limited to a 20-minute presentation. Abstracts for session presentations should define the subject and summarise the argument to be presented in the proposed paper. The content of that paper should be the product of well-documented original research that is primarily analytical and interpretative rather than descriptive in nature.

Round tables will consist of six to eight participants and an extended time for dialogue, debate and discussion among chair(s) and public. Each discussant will have 10 minutes to present a position. Abstracts for round table debates should summarize the position to be taken in the discussion.

More information is available here»

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European Architecture and the Tropics
Chair: Jiat-Hwee Chang (School of Design and Environment, National University of Singapore)

Europeans have a long history of social, cultural and economic contacts and exchanges with the people of the Tropics. Although this history can be traced to an earlier time, it intensified in the past few centuries, with extensive formal and informal colonization of tropical territories by Europeans. The circulation and translation of architectural knowledge and practices between Europe and the Tropics is an inextricable part of this long and rich history.

By choosing the Tropics over other geographic categories, this session foregrounds the environmental and climatic dimensions of this history of exchange. This session will focus on how European architectural knowledge and practices were ‘acclimatized’ to the ecologies, heat and humidity of the Tropics. However, tropicalization entailed more than just environmental and climatic adaptations. Scholars in various interdisciplinary fields, particularly environmental and medical history, have shown that the tropicalization of European knowledge and practices involved social, cultural and political transformations too. David Arnold developed the concept of tropicality to suggest that tropical nature – of which climate is an important component – could be understood along the lines of Saidian Orientalism as an environmental ‘other’, deeply entwined with social, cultural, political, racial and gender alterities in contrast to the normality of the temperate zone. Tropicality is, however, not a monolithic category. Not only have the constructions of the Tropics varied with the changing social, cultural and political conditions of European colonization in the past few decades, they have also changed based on the shifting medical, environmental and other scientific paradigms of understanding the Tropics. How this climatic ‘other’ has been addressed architecturally by various actors at different historical moments has likewise been characterized by multifarious approaches.

This session invites papers that examine in a situated manner how European architecture has been tropicalized in any historical period at any tropical site. Tropicalization is of course not a one-way diffusionist process. Just as this session explores European architecture in the Tropics, the very notion of European architecture is neither immune to outside influence nor necessarily produced solely by Europeans. This session also, therefore, invites papers that explore how European architecture outside the Tropics was transformed by tropicalization and how European architecture might have been a hybrid entity coproduced by non-Europeans.

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How It All Began: Primitivism and the Legitimacy of Architecture in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries
Chairs: Maarten Delbeke (Faculty of Engineering and Architecture, Ghent University), Sigrid De Jong (Centre for the Arts in Society, Leiden University), and Linda Belijenberg (Centre for the Arts in Society, Leiden University)

By the turn of the eighteenth century, architects and writers questioned many of the foundations of renaissance design theory and its later developments: the role of Roman antiquity as the primary provider of architectural references; the authority of Vitruvius’ De architectura and its many editions, translations and re-workings; and also some of the very concepts that shaped this design theory, such as the idea that architecture emerged as the imitation of primitive forms of building. Challenging these authorities was not merely a matter of rejecting or reinterpreting the design principles espoused by Vitruvius or retrieved from ancient monuments. It also entailed redefining the foundations of architecture as a culturally and socially embedded artistic discipline. After all, traditional models – and primitive origins in particular – explained how architecture was enmeshed with the very fabric of society. If these authorities were challenged, new arguments had to be found explaining how architecture found its place at the centre of human culture.

In this session, we will examine one particular strain of arguments that addressed this problem: new ideas about the origins of architecture. In particular, we are interested in how the increasingly vivid debates about primitivism – the idea that any human action, institution or custom is at its purest at the moment of inception – informed new ways of thinking about architecture, its origins, and its role in society and culture. Hitherto primitivism has been considered mainly in relation to Modernism, but it emerged in the early eighteenth century as a mode of thought about the origins, meaning and legitimacy of society and cultural practices. As such, it offers a unique perspective on the still current problem of how to endow architectural forms with cultural meaning. By advocating a return to first origins, primitivism offers an alternative to history as the storehouse of architectural form and meaning. We invite papers that address the role of the quest for origins in general, and ideas on primitivism in particular, in architectural thought and practice in the eighteenth and nineteenth century. We welcome case studies about texts, buildings or oeuvres that open up wider intellectual, social and institutional contexts. We are particularly interested in how questions about origins and primitivism introduced new ideas into architectural discourse – such as the religious and symbolical, rather than the practical and tectonic origins of architecture – and configured the relation of architecture with other artistic and scientific disciplines, such as archaeology and different kinds of historiography, natural history, linguistics and ethnology. Finally, we are curious to see how the preoccupation with primitivism translated into building practice.

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Architects, Craftsmen, and Interior Ornament, 1400-1800
Chairs: Christine Casey (Department of History of Art and Architecture, Trinity College Dublin) and Conor Lucey (School of Art History and Cultural Policy, University College Dublin)

Is the study of interior ornament an integral part of architectural history? To date, the literature on architectural history has largely neglected the relationship between spatial form and interior ornament, resulting in the development of a sub-genre focused on interior design and decoration. Given the scale of ornament in early modern architecture across Europe, this separation of the building from its decoration militates against a holistic understanding of architecture and divides the Vitruvian triad that lay at the centre of architectural education and practice: firmitas, utilitas and venustas.

For example, in the large literature on Palladianism there has been little and discrete coverage of the interior. Perhaps the multifaceted and complex nature of interiors, mediated as they were by patron, architect and craftsman, complicates overarching historical narratives? But this separation of architecture from ornament does not reflect the real experience of buildings. Is it time to reunite these realms? Given the rehabilitation of craft in contemporary discourse, might interior ornament reclaim its place in architectural history?

Appropriately, pioneering research on Filippo Juvarra’s work in Turin provides an exemplar for broader study of the relationship between architects and craftsmen in early modern Europe.

This session aims to explore the evidence for communication and creative collaboration between architects and craftsmen, including plasterers, carvers and painters. While detailed written instructions are relatively rare, a range of other materials – such as drawings, models and building accounts – illuminates the process. To what extent were architects equipped to design ornament, and to what extent did they rely on craftsmen for ornamental design? Papers are invited that consider these issues in broad or specific terms.

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Public Opinion, Censorship, and Architecture in the Eighteenth Century
Chairs: Carlo Mambriani (Dipartimento di Ingegneria Civile, dell’Ambiente del Territorio e Architettura, Università di Parma) and Susanna Pasquali (Dipartimento di Architettura, Università di Ferrara)

Among the general transformations of the eighteenth century, there arose a new relationship between the press and architecture. For the first time, a space was born for the emergence of public opinion regarding architectural projects of varying scale and relevance. In those countries where the press was under direct censorship, public opinion found other outlets, such as pamphlets and anonymous letters; in all cases, though, there was evidence of a new and more critical response to changes in the built environment, replacing unrestrained praise. The aim of this session is to collect and discuss published, and unpublished, examples of the interaction between architecture and public opinion during the eighteenth century. Architecture in the periodical press, in private correspondence and in pamphlets.

Increasingly, the periodical press becomes a commercial enterprise, with direct competition between different journals and newspapers. How far was architecture – as well as other transformations of the built environment – among the themes that formed part of this process? A periodical press also develops in nations where censorship is in place. In these conditions, how exactly was architectural criticism/ debate affected? And what do other sources tell us about positions that could not be expressed in the official press?

Patronage and building type: major transformations in architecture. For works commissioned by rulers, whether kings, princes or popes, what room for criticism/opinion was there in the Eighteenth century press? What were the restrictions of censorship, either of the state, or self-imposed? What role did official Academies play in facilitating criticism? The Assembly Rooms in Great Britain, the seats of the Accademie scientifiche di dilettanti in Italy, and theatres in every nation were commissioned by collective bodies, such as the Società dei cavalieri, or similar groups of patrons. What kind of discussion developed through the projects for these buildings, and how far was that discussion open in character, involving wider public opinion? And finally, with the growth of cities, the design of open spaces and of urban-scale projects, and the emergence of competitions the European landscape changes. As new public buildings, city squares, bridges and port facilities started to appear, how were contrasting opinions on these transformations expressed? By what means, and where, did a public debate around these objects develop?

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Piedmontese Baroque Architecture Studies Fifty Years On
Chair: Susan Klaiber (independent scholar)

The current decade marks the fiftieth anniversary of the great flowering of studies on Piedmontese Baroque architecture during the 1960s. Proceeding from pioneering works of the 1950s such as Rudolf Wittkower’s chapter “Architecture in Piedmont” in his Art and Architecture in Italy 1600-1750 (1958), or Paolo Portoghesi’s series of articles and brief monograph on Guarini (1956), international and local scholars like Henry Millon, Werner Oechslin, Mario Passanti, and Nino Carboneri produced an impressive array of publications on the period. Some of the milestones of this scholarly output include the architecture section of the exhibition Mostra del Barocco Piemontese (1963), Andreina Griseri’s Metamorfosi del Barocco (1967), and Richard Pommer’s Eighteenth-Century Architecture in Piedmont (1967). This scholarship culminated in major international conferences on Guarini (1968) and Vittone (1970), as well as the initiation of the Corpus Juvarrianum in 1979.

This roundtable aims to commemorate the golden age of studies on Piedmontese Baroque architecture through a critical assessment of the heritage of the 1960s. Have Griseri’s and Pommer’s ‘challenging’ (Wittkower) concepts proven robust? Does a traditional geographic-stylistic designation remain fruitful for investigating a region whose two major architects built throughout Europe and whose ruling dynasty entered supraregional marriage alliances? Do recent interdisciplinary methodologies – drawing from fields like geography, sociology, or history of science – reframe the roles of agents like civic authorities, construction workers, or military engineers? Has new material evidence altered long-held assumptions? Discussion positions may directly address historiography or methodology of the 1960s, or present alternative approaches in the form of case studies or new research projects that critically engage with this historic body of scholarship on Piedmontese Baroque architecture, urbanism, and landscape.

At its previous conferences, the EAHN did not highlight the architecture of the host region in dedicated panels. Turin, however, arguably presents an ideal venue for an international roundtable with regional focus: then as now, Piedmont is a major European crossroad for cultural influences from the Italian peninsula, France and Spain, northern Europe, and the former Hapsburg empire. Piedmontese Baroque architecture continues to occupy both local and international scholars, as demonstrated by the recent series of monographic conferences in Turin on architects like Alfieri, Garove, and Juvarra organized by the Bibliotheca Hertziana together with the Venaria Reale consortium. Breaking out of these monographic constraints, this roundtable will provide an opportunity to reflect on where the field has been during the past half century, as well as where it might go in the next fifty years.

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