Eve Blau is Adjunct Professor of the History and Theory of Urban Form and Design and Director of Research at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. She teaches core and elective courses on Urban Design, including the Urban Design Proseminar: History, Theory, Practice; Cities by Design; Urban Form: Transition as Condition. In recent years she has taught a series of research seminars: Berlin as Laboratory; Baku: Oil and Urbanism; Mapping Cultural Space Across Eurasia.
She is Co-Director of the Harvard Mellon Urban Initiative, a cross-Harvard initiative supported by funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which brings together scholars and resources from across Harvard to foster innovative approaches to the study of cities and urbanization processes, and develop new collaborative research practices that bring together scholarship, design, and media around the study of urban environments. In 2018 she co-curated Urban Intermedia: City, Archive, Narrative, an exhibition presenting the new visual and digital methods for acquiring and producing knowledge about cities developed in phase one of the Initiative. The exhibition was shown in Berlin, Istanbul, Mumbai, and Boston.
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. In her published work Blau has developed innovative critical methodologies for understanding the dynamics and processes by which urban spatial practices operate and change.
Blau has written extensively on modern architecture and urbanism, and has curated numerous exhibitions. Her books include Baku: Oil and Urbanism (2018), which received the 2019 DAM Architectural Book Award from the Deutsches Architekturmuseum in collaboration with the Frankfurt Book Fair; The Architecture of Red Vienna, 1919-1934 (1999; German edition: Rotes Wien: Architektur 1919-1934. Stadt-Raum-Politik. 2014, which was awarded the 2015 Victor Adler Prize, the 2001 Alice Davis Hitchcock Book Award, the 2000 Spiro Kostof Book Award, and the 2000 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 ) in 2000-2001. 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 (1999).
In addition to her work on urbanism, Blau has published widely on issues of representation and intersections between art and architecture. Her books on these topics include Architecture and Cubism (2001/1997), Architecture and Its Image: Four Centuries of Architectural Representation (1989), which was 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) 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: “Urban Intermedia: City, Archive, Narrative,” in Ways of Knowing Cities, Laura Kurgan and Dare Brawley, eds. (2019); “Pedagogy and Politics: Making Place and Learning from Las Vegas,” in Eyes that Saw, Stanislaus von Moos and Martino Stierli, eds. (2020); “Baku Oil and Urbanism: The Dynamics of Scarcity and Surplus,” Topos. Consumption, No.109. (2019); “Isotype and Architectural Knowledge,” in Émigré Design Cultures: Histories of the Social in Design, Alison J. Clarke and Elana Shapira, eds. (2017); “Revisiting Red Vienna as an Urban Project,” in Urban Change. Social 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 Laureates. The Pritzker Architecture Prize. Chicago: The Hyatt Foundation (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 for her contributions to the history of social movements and the 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 was named a Fellow of the Society of Architectural Historians in 2018 and she received the DAM Architectural Book Award from the German Architecture Museum and Frankfurt Book Fair in 2019. She has been a Visitor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, Fellow at the International Center or Cultural Studies in Vienna, Fellow at the Bunting Institute of Radcliffe College, and J.Paul Getty Trust Senior Research Fellow.
Blau is President of the Board of Directors of the American Friends of the Canadian Centre for Architecture, former Vice President of the International Scholarly Advisory Board of the IFK_International Research Center for Cultural Studies (Vienna), serves on the Advisory Board of Columbia Themes in Philosophy, Social Criticism, and the Arts, Columbia University Press, and the Editorial Board of Journal of Planning History.