Eve Blau

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

Director of Research

Eve Blau is Adjunct Professor of the History of Urban Form in the Department of Urban Planning and Design. She teaches courses in the history and theory of urban formation and design including the Urban Design Proseminar, Urban Form: History and Theory, PhD Proseminar, and Cities by Design. In recent years she has taught a series of research seminars: Berlin as Laboratory, Baku: Oil and Urbanism, and Mapping Cultural Space Across Eurasia.

She is Co-Principal Investigator of the Harvard Mellon Urban Initiative, an interdisciplinary cross-school initiative supported by funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. It brings together scholars and resources from across Harvard to foster interdisciplinary urban study through collaborative research and teaching, and by developing innovative cross-disciplinary methodologies that integrate digital technologies to bring together the perspectives of the design disciplines, the humanities, and the social sciences.

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.

Her research engages a range of issues in urban and architectural history and theory and the productive intersection of urbanism and media. A major concern is with transitional post-socialist and post-industrial urban conditions that are reorganizing urban environments in ways that challenge the fixed categories by which we have traditionally understood the urban. Current research projects in Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, and the United States examine these transitional conditions historically and comparatively across geographies and cultures. In her published work Blau has developed new methodologies for understanding the dynamics of transition. Her books include Baku: Oil and Urbanism (2017); The Architecture of Red Vienna, 1919-1934 (1999; German edition, 2014), which was awarded the 2015 Victor Adler State Prize of the Republic of Austria, the 2001 Alice Davis Hitchcock Book Award and the 2000 Spiro Kostof Book Award by the Society of Architectural Historians, and the Austrian Cultural Institute Book Prize 1999-2000; 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 (1999/2000) which was also an exhibition that travelled to the Obecni Dum in Prague, Canadian Center for Architecture in Montreal, Getty Museum in Los Angeles, and Kunstforum in Vienna in 2000-2001. She is also the editor of Harvard Design Magazine 37: Urbanism’s Core (2014) and Architectural History 1999/2000: A Special Issue of JSAH (1999).

In addition to her work on urbanism, Blau has published widely on intersections between art and architecture, transparency, and other issues in representation. Her books include  Architecture and Cubism  (1997), Architecture and Its Image: Four Centuries of Architectural Representation (1989) awarded the 1991 Society of Architectural Historians’ Exhibition Catalogue Award, and the 1990 AIA Citation for Excellence in International Architectural Book Publishing; Architecture or Revolution: Charles Moore and Yale in the late 1960s(2001); Ruskinian Gothic: The Architecture of Deane and Woodward (1982). Articles include: “Isotype and Architectural Knowledge,” in Alison Clarke, ed., Émigré Design CulturesHistories of the Social in Design (2017); “Architecture as Instrument,” in Akiko Miki, ed., Insular Insight: Where Art and Architecture Conspire with Nature: Naoshima,Teshima, Inujima (2011); “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 2015, Blau was awarded the Victor Adler State Prize/Victor Adler-Staatspreis für Geschichte sozialer Bewegungen by the Republic of Austria in recognition of her contributions to the history of social movements, the interdisciplinary breadth, and innovative methods of her scholarship. In 2016, she was the Clarkson Visiting Chair in Architecture at the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning. She has been a Visitor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, fellow at the International Research Center for Cultural Studies in Vienna and Bunting Institute of Radcliffe College, and recipient of the J. Paul Getty Trust Senior Research Fellowship.

She is President of the Board of Directors of the American Friends of the Canadian Centre for Architecture, past Vice President of the International Scholarly Advisory Board of the IFK_Internationales Forschungszentrum Kulturwissenschaften/Vienna, and serves on the Advisory Board of the Dumbarton Oaks Mellon Initiative in Urban Landscape Studies, the Advisory Board of Columbia Themes in Philosophy, Social Criticism, and the Arts of the Columbia University Press, and the Editorial Board of the Journal of Planning History.