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Land Outside Capital

About the program

This event will be held in person and on Zoom. Please email to RSVP or register for the Zoom link

Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, University of Chicago

915 E 60th St, Chicago, IL 60637

Sunday-Saturday: 8:00 AM-10:00 PM

As discussions of “returning” lands to the dispossessed become more widespread, questions arise about whether land can ever be considered, managed, or inhabited as a “gift.” What cultural and architectural practices arise when land is valued outside of market capital? Ana Maria León and Łukasz Stanek report from contemporary architectural examples in Ghana and Chile.


Łukasz Stanek is Professor of Architectural History at A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA. Stanek authored Henri Lefebvre on Space: Architecture, Urban Research, and the Production of Theory (2011) and Architecture in Global Socialism: Eastern Europe,
West Africa, and the Middle East in the Cold War (2020), which won the Alice Davis Hitchcock Medallion by the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain, among others. Stanek taught at the ETH Zurich (Switzerland), the University of Manchester (UK), and held guest professorships at Harvard University (USA) and the University of Ghana (Ghana).
Ana María León is an architect, a teacher, and a historian of texts, images, objects, buildings, and landscapes. Her work studies how spatial practices shape the modernity and coloniality of the Americas. León is co-founder of several collaborations laboring to broaden the reach of architectural history including Nuestro Norte es el Sur and the Settler Colonial City Project. She has co-organized several workshops exploring architectural history’s relationship to intersectional feminism, the global, the South, decolonization, and antiracism, and is instigator and co-editor of the SPACE/RACE, SPACE/GENDER, SPACE/BODY, and SPACE/LABOR crowdsourced reading lists. León is author of Modernity for the Masses: Antonio Bonet’s Dreams for Buenos Aires and A Ruin in Reverse / Bones of the Nation. León is Associate Professor at the Harvard GSD, her current projects examine spatial tactics against the Chilean dictatorship and the intersection of modern architecture and Indigenous groups in the Americas.

Jacobé Huet is Assistant Professor at the University of Chicago. As a historian of modern architecture in the transcultural Mediterranean, Huet is particularly interested in the circulation of forms and ideas, intersections between modernism and vernacular, and depictions of architecture in art and literature. Huet is completing the manuscript for her first book, a reciprocal history of the white cube as a vernacular-modernist motif in the colonial and postcolonial Mediterranean.


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The Buell Center and AD—WO, Columbia University

New York, United States


The Temple Hoyne Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture was founded at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation (New York City) in 1983. In recent years, the Center has convened conversations among overlapping constituencies, including academics, students, professionals, and the general public. Its current project addresses the topic of Architecture and Land in the Americas, in its historical significance and contemporary relevance. The Center’s director, Lucia Allais (b. London, 1974), is a historian and critic of architecture whose work focuses on the relation between architecture, politics, and technology in the modern period and on the global stage.

AD—WO (Partners: Jen Wood b. Naarm/Melbourne, Australia, 1984, & Emanuel Admassu, b. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 1983), is an art and architecture practice based in New York City, and by extension, between Melbourne and Addis Ababa. The practice aims to establish an operational terrain between architecture’s content and container: equally committed to designing buildings and reimagining their sociopolitical contexts. Founded in 2015, AD—WO has undertaken projects in Ethiopia, Tanzania, Germany, and the United States. Their work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, Studio Museum in Harlem, Architekturmueum der TU Munchen, and Art Omi. AD—WO’s work is part of the permanent collection at the High Museum of Art and the Art Institute of Chicago.

The City is the Site