The biennial Dissertation Colloquium brings together a select group of doctoral students from diverse institutional and disciplinary backgrounds working on dissertation topics related to the history, theory, and criticism of American architecture, urbanism, and landscape. 

The Buell Conference on the History of Architecture brings together scholars in architectural and urban history to discuss topics in architecture, urbanism, and modernity as broadly understood.

Conversations on Architecture and Land in and out of the Americas


Design by Morcos Key

This year, the Buell Center continues and concludes its series of “Conversations on Architecture and Land in and out of the Americas” which began in Winter 2021. The theme of land, and the plural, Americas, is meant to help expand the Center’s mission in two ways: first, by situating US building practices comparatively in hemispheric relation with the rest of the continent; and second, by suggesting that there are several Americas within the United States. This Fall, we will host speakers who turn our attention to architecture’s role in the political economy of land. 

In celebration of the Buell’s 40th Anniversary and its participation in the 5th Annual Chicago Architecture Biennial, events will be held in various locations throughout New York City and Chicago. All events will be held in person and on Zoom, as well as live-streamed to GSAPP’s YouTube channel here. Please email [email protected] to RSVP or register for the Zoom link on the event's page.


On a shifting red, green, yellow, white, and blue, blurred background, white text reads: "Counting Land: Conversations on Architecture and Land in the Americas // Mar 24th 12pm // Buell | GSAPP."

March 24, 12PM

There has never been a way to account for land—its size, location, or monetary value—without also counting people. From 17th Century cadastral surveys to contemporary gerrymandering, the questions of what to build, for whom, and where, have always depended on the question: “for how many?" This event will address a postwar moment when spatial overlaps between physical and political boundaries were deliberately redesigned in the United States. Alma Steingart (Assistant Professor in the Department of History at Columbia University) will present on the impact of digital algorithms on redistricting in the 1960s; Benedict Clouette (Doctoral Student in Architecture at Columbia GSAPP) will discuss the role of electoral maps in political negotiations over large-scale urban projects in Chicago in the 1950s.


Benedict Clouette is a doctoral candidate in architectural history at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. His writings and interviews have appeared in Harvard Design Magazine, Volume, Domus, The Architect’s Newspaper, and San Rocco, and he is the author, with Marlisa Wise, of Forms of Aid: Architectures of Humanitarian Space (2017).

Alma Steingart, an assistant professor in the Department of History at Columbia University, researches the interplay between American politics and mathematical rationalities. Professor Steingart’s current project, Accountable Democracy, examines how mathematical thought and computing technologies have impacted electoral politics in the United States in the twentieth century. Her first book, Axiomatic: Mathematical Thought and High Modernism, is forthcoming with the University of Chicago Press (Fall 2022). Before joining Columbia University, Steingart was a Junior Fellow of the Harvard Society of Fellows and a predoctoral fellow of the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin. She earned her PhD in 2013 in the Program in History, Anthropology, and Science, Technology, and Society at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Steingart’s work has appeared in Social Studies of Science, Grey Room, and the Los Angeles Review of Books. Her work is supported by a CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation.