Call for Proposals: Environmental Histories of Architecture Workshop

How to write environmental histories of architecture?

The workshop is supported by the Sydney Environment Institute and the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning at the University of Sydney.

We invite proposals for short presentations and participation in an invited workshop at the University of Sydney, convened by Daniel Barber and Lee Stickells.

Proposals due: Monday 15 January  2017
Workshop: Friday 10 March 2017


This workshop will accompany Daniel Barber’s public lecture at the University of Sydney on Thursday March 9th – ” Environmental Histories of Architecture – Case Studies and Consequences”. It will explore the writing of histories that connect architecture and design with the emergence of global environmental culture across the 20th century. There has been an increasing interest amongst architectural historians in addressing environmental concerns on both historical and theoretical terms; simultaneously, other fields have been looking to architectural scholarship to understand the historical relationship between the built and the natural environment. This has also involved correlating the shifting discourse on environment with a history of architectural transformations and disciplinary expansions. Most significantly, the environmental history of architecture does not simply add more objects to the historical database, but also changes the terms of historical analysis, as new issues, such as risk and accumulation, come to the fore.

The burgeoning concern with this area of inquiry has prompted discussion amongst scholars keen to establish a common research and pedagogical agenda. Workshop co-chair Daniel Barber recently led a research group on architecture and climate for the Mellon Foundation funded Global Architectural History Teaching Collaborative, and is part of the Architecture and Environment Interest Group of the European Architectural History Network (EAHN). Workshops held by the EAHN Architecture and Environment group have sought to develop and share methodological insights, pedagogical materials, and to instigate mutually beneficial understanding across fields of inquiry relevant to developing environmental histories of architecture. The Canadian Centre for Architecture has also recently initiated a Mellon Foundation funded project titled “Architecture and/for Environment” that seeks to address compelling environmental concerns emerging from contemporary debates.

The aim of this workshop is to build on the foundations emerging from activity such as that described above. It will bring together a small group of scholars with an interest in historicising architecture-environment convergences. The workshop will be used to host a dialogue, share knowledge, and develop tools that may assist participants in further research projects. We will explore emerging research questions and methodological issues, as well as consider how collaborative projects such as formal session proposals, publications, funding applications, or symposia might be developed. The outcomes will be shared with colleagues.

The Workshop

We look to foster productive exchange rather than simply the presentation of research outcomes. The workshop will run 9am – 5pm; morning and afternoon sessions will focus on activating discussion, building shared dialogue and reference points, and developing shared projects and knowledge. More information about the workshop


We seek abstracts (maximum 300 words) for short, five minute presentations that will provide a question or provocation for collective consideration at the workshop.
Abstracts should be submitted as a Word document to by Monday January 15th, 2017. Please also include a CV as Word or PDF document.