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The Athens Conference, 1931

Human Rights Project Presents

Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Lucia Allais: Designs of Destruction CANCELED
Olin, Room 102
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
UNESCO and the origins of world heritage

Due to huricane Sandy, this lecture has been cancelled. 

What does the protection of monuments have to do with the protection of human lives? Today human rights and cultural objects are treated as separate concerns by international organizations, but in the 1930s a broad movement of intellectuals, architects and lawyers worked to combine them into a new regulatory system, which they called “the humanization of war.” This talk will address the work they did for UNESCO’s precursor, the International Institute of Intellectual Cooperation (IIIC), in order to examine how monuments rose to the top of the international cultural agenda, where they still remain today.


Lucia Allais is an Assistant Professor of Architecture at Princeton University; she specializes in the intellectual and political history of architecture since 1900 with particular focus on international networks and global institutions. She received her Ph.D from MIT, her M.Arch from Harvard, and her B.S.E from Princeton, and has worked in design firms in Europe and America. Her recent writings address the aesthetics of post-conflict reconstruction ("International Style Heritage," Volume 20, 2009); transnational mobility in postwar architecture (“Global Agoraphobia,” Global Design History, 2011); the movement of monuments in 1960s Egypt (“The Design of the Nubian Desert,” Governing By Design, 2012); and Superstudio’s 1972 project “Salvages of Italian City Centers” (“Disaster as Experiment,” Log 22, 2011). She is at work on a book, Designs of Destruction, on the rise of a new political aesthetics in mid-20th-century international agencies that were charged with protecting monuments worldwide from the combined destructive effects of war, modernism and modernization.

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Time: 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Location: Olin, Room 102