Lucia Allais

Lucia Allais is an historian and theorist of architecture who works at the intersection of architecture, preservation, politics and technology in the modern period, with a special focus on international institutions and global practices in the 20th century. Her first book Designs of Destruction: The making of international monuments in the 20th Century, is forthcoming from University of Chicago Press. This work traces the mechanisms by which monuments were protected in a variety of mid-century destructive scenarios—from the League of Nations in the 1930s, through the Allied Air Forces in World War II, and the 1972 World Heritage Convention—and how architecture thereby became a privileged tool for cultural cooperation on the world stage.

She has published a number of articles on related themes, including: “Integrities: The Salvage of Abu Simbel” (Grey Room 50), “The Design of the Nubian Desert" (Governing by Design, 2012), “Formless Keepers,” (Formless Finder,  2013), and a translation and commentary Superstudio’s “Salvages of Italian City Centers” (Log 22)

Allais also writes about the history of architecture as a discipline (“The Real and the Theoretical 1968”, Perspecta 42) and as a practice (“Global Agoraphobia”, Global Design History, Routledge). Her critical essays on contemporary designers include "Staring at Walls: 2x4 for Architects" (in Michael Rock, Multiple Signatures, 2013) and "On MOS Making Holes" in MOS: Selected Works (2016). She is working on an essay on rendering, where she probes the history of the epistemic divide between experience and experiment. Her essay on the UNESCO House will appear in Marcel Breuer: Building Global Institutions, edited by Barry Bergdoll and Jonathan Massey, in 2018.

Allais has worked as an architect in Europe and the United States. In 2014, she curated Legible Pompeii, an installation at the 14th Annual Venice Architecture Biennale, which addressed the history of preservation in Pompeii and offered a "Souvenir Pile" of resin blocks to the visiting public.

Allais has received a number of grants and fellowships for her scholarly work, including from the Graham Foundation, the Krupp Foundation, the CASVA, and the Radcliffe Institute. Before joining the Princeton faculty she was the Behrman-Cotsen Postdoctoral Fellow at the Princeton Society of Fellows. In 2015 she was selected to be the inaugural Detlef Mertins Lecturer on the History of Modernity at Columbia University.

Allais received her BS from Princeton, her M.Arch from the Harvard GSD and her PhD from MIT. She is a member of Aggregate and an editor of Grey Room.

2009 Doctoral Dissertation: Will to War, Will to Art: Cultural Internationalism and the Modernist Aesthetics of Monuments, 1932-1964, revised and published as a book, Designs of Destruction: The Making of Monuments in the Twentieth Century, in 2018 by the University of Chicago Press.