Space Versus Time: Flattening History. An architectural history perspective

Event: Public talk

Location: NEC conference hall

28 November 2019, 17:00 – 19:00


Professor of Architectural History at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Bretagne (Rennes)

The talk will explore how the very building of historicity in the making of architectural historiography led to the flattening of History. What was the path from considering the architectural bizarreries (Seroux d’Agincourt) and the “nonhistorical styles” (Banister Fletcher) to turning peripheries into relevant territories of architectural history, as meant to do the supporters of Critical Regionalism (Alexander Tzonis, Liane Lefaivre, Kenneth Frampton) or a Global History of Architecture (Francis D.K. Ching, Mark Jarzombek, Vikramaditya Pakrash)? Professor Popescu argues that this process was triggered by gradually emphasizing Space over Time. Moreover, the change of dynamics from a vertical construction to an increasingly horizontal perception was rendered more complex by yet a new understanding of space as being the very doctrinal matter of architecture.


Professor Popescu will articulate her exploration by following several threads, among which: the biological models of hierarchy borrowed by the history of architecture (Lamarckian, but not only), the fortune of the original hut (from Quatremère de Quincy and Semper to modernists and critical regionalists), the emergence of marginal territories of art/ architectural historiography as geocultural triggers both in official discourses (CIHAs, Congrès de l’Art Populaire…) and in theoretical approaches (George Kubler, Sigfried Giedion). By doing so, Professor Popescu aims to analyze how the complex concept of space helped evolving architectural historiography while producing in the meantime deceptively open discourses.

Carmen POPESCU is an art and architectural historian whose research is structured around three main themes: the intricate connections between architecture, on the one hand, and ideology and politics, on the other; architectural historiography; the dialogue between art and architecture. She has published extensively on these topics, and presented her research in numerous conferences. She is currently conducting a research project around the concept of transgression, which she studies as a paradigm of aftermodernity. Carmen Popescu is Professor of Architectural History at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Bretagne (Rennes).


Event supported by the Getty Foundation as part of its Connecting Art Histories initiative