Dariel Cobb

Dariel Cobb is a PhD candidate in the History, Theory, and Criticism of Art and Architecture division of the Department of Architecture at MIT. Her work examines modern art and architecture across the Black Atlantic, with a particular focus on plastic synthesis between art and architecture, the influence of Négritude on expressions of nationalism, and the entanglement of modern architecture and "tropicality" in the postcolony. Her dissertation explores post-colonial expressions of national identity in Francophone West Africa, and the discursive milieu which influenced creative exploration at mid-century, including the work of ethnographers, writers, and artists alongside architects. Dariel has written about Afrofuturism and the technological body in Africa; the climate discourse in modern architecture; juridical definitions of space; the relationship of nomadic peoples to built space, and the various ways “built” is defined. Her recent publications range from the work of Angolan photographer Kiluanji Kia Henda, to the design of urban Luanda, to the discipline of creative labor and the economics of architecture as work. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from the University of California at Berkeley, and a Master of Architecture from Yale University. Dariel was also a US Fulbright Scholar in France, 2019-20 

Dariel Cobb has presented her work at the Future Africa Conference at the Berlin Free University in Bayreuth, Germany; the ARCHTheo Theory of Architecture Conference in Istanbul; the Architecture Research Centers Consortium (ARCC) Spring Conference in Detroit; the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) Annual Conference, and the National Conference on the Beginning Design Student. Her research has been supported by a Canadian Center for Architecture (CCA) fellowship, and by the MIT Presidential fellowship.

Prior to matriculating at MIT, Dariel was an Assistant Professor of Architecture at the University of Hartford, in Hartford, Connecticut, and worked as a professional designer for Robert A.M. Stern Architects and Arquitectonica in New York City. She was also the Assistant Director of the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation, where she helped to organize the Women in Modernism Conference at MoMA that garnered national attention in 2008. 


Selected Publications

"Black Spaces Matter," review of Black Spaces Matter exhibition curated by Pamela Karimi, Architecture Research Quarterly 22.1 (2018): 4-7.

“Ashes to Ashes: The Second Life of Kiluanji Kia Henda’s Afrofuturistic Critique,” in Afrofuturism 2.0 The Black Speculative Arts Movement: Afrofuturism, Art+Design, volume 2 of 2, Reynaldo Anderson and Charles E. Jones, eds. (n.p.: Lexington Books, forthcoming 2017). [See volume 1: Afrofuturism 2.0: The Rise of Astro-Blackness]

“Dispatches from MIT: Becoming Political,” in Asymmetric Labors: The Economy of Architecture in Theory and Practice (New York: The Architecture Lobby, 2016).

“Kiluanji Kia Henda,” in After Year Zero: Geographies of Collaboration, Annett Busch, ed. (Warsaw: Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, 2015).

“Claiming the Future of the Past: Kiluanji Kia Henda’s Vision of Luanda’s Monuments,” in The Johannesburg Salon, Achille Mbembe and Megan Jones, eds. (The Johannesburg Workshop of History and Criticism: University of the Witwatersrand, 2014),

Peggy Deamer, ed., Architecture and Capitalism: 1845 to present  (London: Routledge, 2014), co-editor.

Professional Experience

2019 - 2020
US Scholar, Fulbright, France