Eve Blau

Adjunct Professor of the History and Theory of Urban Form and Design

Eve Blau is Adjunct Professor of the History and Theory of Urban Form and Design at the GSD. She teaches core and elective courses on Urban Form and Design, including Histories and Theories of Urban Form and Design; Cities by Design; Urban Form: Transition as Condition. In recent years she has taught a series of research seminars: Berlin as LaboratoryBaku: Oil CityMapping Cultural Space Across Eurasia.

Blau is Director of the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies which sponsors multidisciplinary study of the Eurasian region through the Master’s Degree Program in Regional Studies of Russia, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia (REECA), fellowship programs, seminars, research initiatives, Outreach Programs, and the Davis Center Collection. She is Co-Director of the  Harvard Mellon Urban Initiative, a cross-Harvard program that brings together scholars and resources from across the University to foster innovative approaches to the study of cities and urbanization processes. The initiative has also developed new collaborative research practices that integrate scholarship, design, and media around the study of urban environments, and awards grants to students and faculty across Harvard to pursue urban-focused research projects.

Before coming to Harvard, Blau was Curator of Exhibitions and Publications at the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal, and Editor of the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians.

Blau’s research engages a range of issues in urban and architectural history and theory and the productive intersection between urban spatial form and media. The underlying concern is with the complex dynamics of urban transformation in the context of rapidly changing sociopolitical, environmental, and technological conditions. The purpose is to understand how these conditions are reorganizing built environments in ways that challenge the fixed categories by which we have traditionally understood the urban. A major focus is on cities and urban regions in the post-socialist world that have experienced large-scale adjustments to new forms of polity, systemic institutional change, and economic reorganization.

Blau has written extensively on modern architecture and urbanism, and has curated numerous exhibitions, including Urban Intermedia: City, Archive, Narrative (2018), an exploration of new visual and digital methods for acquiring and producing knowledge about cities. Her books include Baku: Oil and Urbanism (2018), which received the 2019 DAM Architectural Book Award from the German Architecture Museum and Frankfurt Book Fair, and 2020 Bruno Zevi Book Award; The Architecture of Red Vienna, 1919-1934 (1999); German editionRotes Wien: Architektur 1919-1934. Stadt-Raum-Politik (2014), which was awarded the 2015 Victor Adler Prize; the Society of Architectural Historians’ Alice Davis Hitchcock Book Award and Spiro Kostof Book Award, and the Austrian Cultural Institute Book Prize; Project Zagreb: Transition as Condition, Strategy, Practice (2007); Urban Form. Städtebau in der postfordistischen Gesellschaft / Urban Form: City Building in post-Fordist Society (2003); Shaping the Great City: Modern Architecture in Central Europe 1890-1937 (2000) which was also a major international exhibition shown in Prague (Obecni Dum), Montreal (Canadian Centre for Architecture), Los Angeles (Getty Museum), and Vienna (Kunstforum ). She also edited two Special Journal Issues: Harvard Design Magazine 37: Urbanism’s Core (2014) and Architectural History 1999/2000: A Special Issue of JSAH (2000).

In addition to her work on urbanism, Blau has published widely on issues of representation and intersections between art, media, architecture and urbanism. Her books on these topics include Architecture and Cubism (2001/1997), Architecture and Its Image: Four Centuries of Architectural Representation (1989), awarded the Society of Architectural Historians’ Exhibition Catalogue Award, and 1990 AIA Citation for Excellence in International Architectural Book Publishing; Architecture or Revolution: Charles Moore and Yale in the late 1960s (2001) the catalogue of an exhibition at the Yale School of Architecture; Ruskinian Gothic: The Architecture of Deane and Woodward (1982).

Selected articles and book chapters on urban and architectural topics include: “Architecture as Urban Instrument,” in The Emergence of Modernity, Ludwig Boltzmann Gesellschaft, Vienna (2022); “Vienne La Rouge: Changer La Ville Pour Changer La Societé,” Tracés, 3507, Logements Sans Profits Au-delà des Modèles Spéculatifs, 3/2021. “Pedagogy and Politics: Making Place and Learning from Las Vegas,” in Eyes that Saw, Stanislaus von Moos and Martino Stierli, eds. (2020); “Haussmann Becomes Popular: White City, Baku,” Domus. Instant Heritage. No. 1036 (2019); “Urban Intermedia: City, Archive, Narrative,” in Ways of Knowing Cities, Laura Kurgan and Dare Brawley, eds. (2019); “Baku Oil and Urbanism: The Dynamics of Scarcity and Surplus,” ToposConsumption, No.109 (2019); “Forward,” Hermann Czech: Essays on Architecture and City Planning, Elise Feiersinger, ed. (2019); “Isotype and Architectural Knowledge,” in Émigré Design CulturesHistories of the Social in Design, Alison J. Clarke and Elana Shapira, eds. (2017); “Revisiting Red Vienna as an Urban Project,” in Urban ChangeSocial Design—Art as Urban Innovation, Anton Falkeis, (2017); “From Red Superblock to Green Megastructure: Municipal Socialism as Model and Challenge,” Architecture and  the Welfare State 1918-1979. Mark Swenarton, Tom Avermate, Dirk van den Heuvel, eds. (2015); “The Common Ground of Urban Praxis,” HDM 37: Urbanism’s Core, Harvard Design Magazine Special Issue, Eve Blau, ed. (2014); “Architecture as Instrument,” in Insular Insight: Where Art and Architecture Conspire with Nature: Naoshima,Teshima, Inujima, Akiko Miki, ed. (2011); “Inventing New Hierarchies,” Pritzker Architecture Prize Essay on Kasuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa, 2010 Pritzker Prize Laureates. The Pritzker Architecture Prize. Chicago: The Hyatt Foundation, 2011. https://www.pritzkerprize.com/2010/essay “Curating Architecture with Architecture,” Log 20, (Fall 2010); “The Third Project” in Olafur Eliasson: Your chance encounter, Kanazawa 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art (2010); “Tensions in Transparency. Between Information and Experience: The Dialectical Logic of SANAA’s Architecture,” Harvard Design Magazine (Fall 2008); “Transparency and the Irreconcilable Contradictions of Modernity,” PRAXIS 9 (2007).

In 2022, Blau was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; in 2018 she was named a fellow of the Society of Architectural Historians; in 2015, Blau was awarded the Victor Adler State Prize [Victor Adler-Staatspreis für Geschichte sozialer Bewegungen] by the Republic of Austria for her contributions to the history of social movements and for the innovative methods of her scholarship.

She was Clarkson Visiting Chair in Architecture at the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning and Robert Sterling Clark Visiting Professor of Art History at the Clark Art Museum. Blau is the recipient of fellowships from the J. Paul Getty Trust; Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton; Mellon Foundation; International Center or Cultural Studies, Vienna; Graham Foundation; Bunting Institute of Radcliffe College; National Endowment for the Humanities; American Council of Learned Societies; American Philosophical Society.

Blau is President of the Board of Directors, of the AFCCA, Canadian Centre for Architecture; former Vice President of the International Scholarly Advisory Board of the International Research Center for Cultural Studies_IFK (Vienna). She is a member of the Scientific Board, gta papers, ETH Zurich Institute for History and Theory of Architecture; the  Advisory Board of Columbia Themes in Philosophy, Social Criticism, and the Arts, Columbia University Press; Editorial Board of the  Journal of Planning History;  Scientific Review Board, LIStLab, Laboratorio Internationale di Strategie, Barcelona -Trento; and Scientific Committee, Histories of Post-War Architecture (HsPWA).