Crazy prize-winning success from Modern Architecture final papers (Fall 2018)

Huge congratulations to my stellar students from ARTHIST 275: Modern Architecture, Fall 2018. An unprecedented three final comparison papers from that course by Olivia Chang (International Studies major, Art History minor / senior); Bethany Greene (Economics major, Architectural Studies minor / junior); and Jennifer Wang (Neuroscience & Behavioral Biology Major, Architectural Studies minor / junior) won Emory College, Emory University Libraries, and Art History Department prizes. I couldn’t be prouder of the research and analytical work they undertook to produce such justifiably heralded essays. Congrats, Olivia, Bethany, and Jen! See their topics below:

  • Olivia Chang, “In Search of Modern Classicism: The Shared Inspiration of Atlanta Freemasons and Hitler’s Third Reich,” paper for Modern Architecture course, winner of Dorothy Fletcher Paper Prize ($150), 2019

  • Bethany Greene, “An Unexpected Pairing: The Villa Muller and Cannon Chapel,” paper for Modern Architecture course, honorable mention for Alan Rackoff Prize for Undergraduate Research ($500), 2019

  • Jennifer Wang, “Cities Within Cities: A comparison of Rockefeller Center and Peachtree Center,” paper for Modern Architecture course, winner of Elizabeth Long Atwood Undergraduate Research Award ($500), 2019

Book launch / seminar for Routledge Research Companion to Landscape Architecture @ MIT Friday, December 7.

Come enjoy a seminar, discussion and drinks reception in celebration of the newly published volume, Routledge Research Companion to Landscape Architecture. I’ll give a short presentation of my chapter, “The Case to Save Socialist Space: Soviet Residential Landscapes Under Threat of Extinction,” which considers typical mass housing complexes constructed by the Soviet state in the 1920s and 1930s, and post-1950—communities designed to meet residents’ housing, educational, cultural, commercial, and recreational needs in all-inclusive precincts. The remarkable eighty-per-cent-open site plans that these complexes proffered signalled the presence of a fully socialist land regime in which land held no monetary value. Now, more than twenty-five years after the fall of the Soviet Union, this exterior collective space that was a hallmark of Soviet socialist housing provision is under threat of extinction. In the spring of 2017, the Russian State government took up a bill to demolish nearly 8,000 ‘decrepit’ Moscow residential buildings in order to parcelize and sell the capacious landscape in which they sit on the open real estate market. The chapter makes an argument for the unique qualities of these disappearing residential landscapes by articulating what so-called socialist space is, how it operates, what makes it worth preserving, and in conclusion offers options for approaching these fleeting remnants of a past economic regime. Join us for the celebration at MIT!


"Socialist Settlement Experiment" wins Anthony Sutcliffe Award, Runner-up Prize, 2018

The Anthony Sutcliffe Award from the International Planning History Society recognizes the best dissertation in the field of planning history written in English and completed during the two years preceding the conference. There is no restriction on topic, but submissions that most directly and innovatively address the internationalism of the modern planning movement in line with much of Sutcliffe’s work are especially welcome.

Runner-up prize of the Anthony Sutcliffe Dissertation Award: Christina E. Crawford, "The Socialist Settlement Experiment: Soviet Urban Praxis. 1917-1932". 2016. Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.

"This dissertation is a very detailed and deeply researched submission, opening up fields seldom explored by the academy so far. The focus on  non-official Soviet planning and design experimentation is surprising and provocative, and the work on Ernst May and other actors of the time is magnificent. There is also an incredible work of compiling documents from archives in Azerbaijan, Canada, Russia, and the US, and a deep reflection on the role of architecture and city planning in the USSR. The number of new windows opened up is absolutely impressive." 

On behalf of The Anthony Sutcliffe Dissertation Award Committee: José Luis Sáinz Guerra, Universidad de Valladolid, Spain (Chair);   Nancy H. Kwak, UC San Diego, USA;   Karl Friedhelm Fischer, University of New South Wales, Australia. 


My Spring 2018 graduate seminar, "Mastering the Archive: Situating Atlanta in the Interwar Housing Debates" was highlighted as a cool course in the Emory Report. The seminar focuses on my new home of Atlanta, the site of the first “slum clearance” project in the United States, in 1934, and America's first completed — though segregated — federally-funded public housing: Techwood and University Homes. Using these projects for research, students gain facility working in Atlanta-area archives through theoretical and historical readings and discussions and hands-on work and workshops with archival specialists. The seminar seeks to plot Atlanta on the interwar architectural map, establishing the city’s role as a clearinghouse for European social housing ideas in the U.S., and as the earliest homegrown precedent for the Roosevelt administration’s New Deal public housing. The students come from Art History, History, and even Emory's Goizueta Business School. It promises to be an intense semester; I'll report back on the results through my Research page.


My article, “From Tractors to Territory: Socialist Urbanization through Standardization” in the Journal of Urban History, was selected as the inaugural winner of the 2017 Emerging Scholar Prize, Society of Historians of East European, Eurasian, and Russian Art and Architecture (SHERA). Thank you to SHERA, and the award jury, for recognizing my scholarship, and for this fantastic opportunity to have my work more widely read. Please email me if you'd like a copy, and do not have institutional access to the SAGE database.


The phenomenal (in scale and design) Freedom Square in Kharkiv, Ukraine--established in the 1920s--is under threat of serious kitschification. Please consider adding your name to this open letter to Ukrainian President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko. To add your signature to the open letter please send your request to:

An excerpt of the letter is posted below:

"When the monument to Lenin was taken down on the Freedom Square in September 2014, the question arose: how to rethink and redesign the square, a place highly significant for Kharkiv's visual image, a world-famous monument of the 1920s and 1930s architecture and urban planning?...

"On November 2, 2016, the Kharkiv city council announced a 'blitz open competition' for a new monument to be situated on Freedom Square. This competition violated the law in several ways: it was announced as charitable (the winner would not receive a prize), the type of competition was not specified (even though the character of the place calls for an international competition and an international expert jury), and the competition's call for submissions contained neither the essence of the problem to be resolved, nor the criteria by which submissions would be judged. There were no public hearings regarding the fate of this place. Just three months later, on February 3, 2017, the winning submission was announced: an 86-meter decorative column, topped by an angel with a cross, which crudely destroys the unified historical appearance of the square. This winning project has countless analogues in the world while its originality and artistic value are doubtful, to say the least. Kharkiv city residents have already called the project 'odoroblo,' which in Ukrainian means 'a monster.'" ...


I'm pleased to participate as a design juror on final reviews at Georgia Tech School of Architecture. Former Harvard GSD classmate, Jen Pindyck, has been guiding her 2nd year MArch students in their analysis of, and intervention in, Clarkston, GA. Clarkston, just east of downtown Atlanta, became a Federal Refugee Resettlement Area in the 1908s, and is now known as the most diverse square mile in the United States. At the midterm, students pitched architectural, landscape, and inventive programming ideas to bolster the existing community and draw visitors to the city. I look forward to seeing what the second half of the semester brought. 

Magnitogorsk Modern at ASEEES

At the upcoming 2016 ASEEES Convention (Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies) I'll be presenting the paper, "Designing Steel City: All-Union Architectural/Competition for the City of Magnitogorsk, 1929-30," in the panel on Modernism in Soviet Architecture of the 1920s-1930s: Experiments and Myth-Making. Wake up early, and come hear three great presentations! Date/Time/Location: Sat, November 19, 8:00 to 9:45am, Wardman DC Marriott, Mezzanine, Johnson.


I am happy to be participating in the Landscapes of Housing Mellon Colloquium, Harvard University, Friday, October 14, 2016. I'll be giving a talk entitled "Afterlife of a Model Socialist Settlement" on the panel, Housing, Landscape and the Post-Socialist City, which asks how socialist residential landscapes have fared in the 25 years since the fall of the Soviet Union. It promises to be an intellectually stimulating day, with presentations by practitioners and scholars that will explore the relationship of landscape and housing worldwide.