• Professor Sibel Bozdogan – Summation

  • Professor Jean-Louis Cohen – At the crossroads: perspectives and impasses of architectural history

The discipline of architectural history, or rather of the history of architecture, or else of historical work in architecture, blossoms, as can be measured by the quantitative explosion of dissertations, publications and exhibitions, and faces new challenges. The fragmentation of the objects of research, the miniaturization of the investigations, and the centering on the media, are expanding the field of knowledge, but sometimes result in the weakening of in-depth efforts to understand buildings and urban schemes. New frameworks are needed in order to shape interpretations conveying the architectural equivalent of the pleasure of text celebrated by Roland Barthes.

  • Professor Roger Stalley – Acts of God and Human Folly: medieval building and the empirical process

It is often assumed that medieval construction was based on a system of trial and error, an empirical process that led, inexorably, to the great structural achievements of the Gothic era.  The history of architecture is usually written as a series of success stories; we rarely hear about calamities or indeed failures from past mistakes.  Taking examples from various parts of Europe, this talk will consider some of the things that went wrong, and the ways in which builders and their patrons reacted to the unexpected.


Sibel Bozdogan is a lecturer in Urban Planning and Design at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design and chair of the architecture department at Kadir Has University. She holds a professional degree in architecture from Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey, and a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania. She has also taught at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Boston Architectural Center and Istanbul Bilgi University. Her books include a monograph on the architect Sedad Hakki Eldem; Rethinking Modernity and Identity in Turkey, co-edited with Resat Kasaba; Modernism and Nation Building: Turkish Architecture in the Early Republic, which won the Alice Davis Hitchcock prize from the Society of Architectural Historians (US); and, most recently, Turkey: Modern Architectures in History, co-authored with Esra Akcan.

Jean-Louis Cohen is Sheldon H. Solow Professor in the History of Architecture at New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts. Cohen habilitated at the École des hautes etudes en science sociales in Paris. His books include Le Corbusier and the Mystique of the USSR, Theories and Projects for Moscow, 1928-1936; Scenes of the World to Come: European Architecture and the American Challenge, 1893-1960, which won the Grand Prix of the Academie d’Architecture in Paris for the best architectural book of the previous year; Casablanca: Colonial Myths and Architectural Ventures, co-authored with Monique Eleb, Architecture in Uniform: Designing and Building for the Second World War, which won the Alice Davis Hitchcock prize from the Society of Architectural Historians (US); The Future of Architecture since 1889; and France: Architectures in History, co-authored with Christian Hubert. Cohen is a Chevalier des Arts et Lettres, and a member of both the Academy of San Luca, and the Russian Academy of Architecture.

Roger Stalley is Professor Emeritus of Art History at Trinity College Dublin. His first book, The Cistercian Monasteries of Ireland: An Account of the History, Art and Architecture of the White Monks in Ireland, from 1142-1540, won the Alice Davis Hitchcock medallion from the Society of Architectural Historians (GB).   Subsequent publications include Early Medieval Architecture, and two edited volumes Medieval Architecture in Limerick and South-west Ireland and Irish Gothic Architecture: Construction, Decay and Reinvention. Stalley is a member of the Royal Irish Academy and of the Academia Europeae, an honorary fellow of the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland, and a fellow of the Society of Antiquities.