Visiting Scholar Seminar: Elisa Dainese

Postwar Cities and African Villages: Fascination, Exchange, and Interpretation
Seminar, in English, Study Room, 23 August 2018, 6:30pm

Visiting Scholar Elisa Dainese presents her research.

The project investigates the transcontinental exchanges and connections between European and North American architects and African architectural heritage—especially Saharan and sub-Saharan architecture. Analyzing the translation of African models into Western urban design, the work offers insight into the post-World War II crises of modern culture and the Western/non-Western bipolarity of the period. The research draws from the van Ginkel Associates fonds of the CCA collection, and focuses on the work of notable architects, such as Aldo van Eyck, and Daniel and Blanche van Ginkel, who encouraged the transfer of Saharan and sub-Saharan knowledge in Europe and America. The results illuminate interpretations of the African village that varied from mystical idealization to mechanical stereotyping, suggesting mutual relationships among distant cultures and a new genealogy of modern architecture.

Elisa Dainese is an architect and historian, and she is currently Assistant Professor of Architecture at Dalhousie University. In 2012, she obtained a PhD in Architectural Composition from the Università Iuav di Venezia. She works on issues of postcolonial history and theory, global history, globalization, modernism, architectural design, and urbanization with a focus on the transoceanic exchanges among Africa, Europe, and the Americas. She has published widely, and her research has received grants, fellowships, and awards from Columbia University, the Bruno Zevi Foundation, the Canadian Centre for Architecture, and the Mellon Foundation funded GAHTC. She started her career as EU-licensed architect in the Atelier of Boris Podrecca and in the office of Aurelio Galfetti, where she worked on public and private projects of urban and architectural design.

Elisa Dainese was a Visiting Scholar at the CCA in 2018.


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