Samia Henni

Posted By: 

Samia Henni
Lecturer, History and Theory of Architecture
M.Sc. in Architecture, Academy of Architecture, Mendrisio
Ph.D. in History and Theory of Architecture (with distinction), ETH Zurich

Office: Architecture Building, S-110

Samia Henni is an architect and an architectural historian and theorist who works at the intersection of architecture, planning, colonial practices, and military operations from the early 19th century up to the present days. Her book Architecture of Counterrevolution: The French Army in Northern Algeria (Zurich: gta Verlag, September 2017) examines French colonial territorial transformations and spatial counterinsurgency measures in Algeria under colonial rule during the Algerian Revolution (1954–1962). The book discusses the complicity of architecture and planning in strategies of offense, defense, control, and surveillance.

She recently curated Discreet Violence: Architecture and the French War in Algeria at the gta Institute, ETH Zurich, an exhibition that utilized French propaganda visual records and archival documents to feature the processes through which the French colonial military authorities forcibly relocated thousands of Algerians in Algeria’s rural areas during the Algerian Revolution. She is also co-curating gta Films at the gta Institute, an exhibition that dissects the production and use of motion picture as a way of documenting, teaching, promoting, and understanding architecture.

Henni is the editor of the next issue of gta papers entitled Architecture and Wars (Zurich: gta Verlag, 2018), in which she examines the design of the militarization of cities since World War II, and specifically after the events of September 11, 2001. She also writes about the effects of colonialism on planning and housing development (“Black Color and ‘Negro Village:’ Why Skin Color Still Matters in Architecture?” Trans Magazin, 30), on population resettlements (“On the Spaces of Guerre Moderne,” Footprint, 19), on women’s lives (“How to Frenchify Algerian Women: On Domestic Spaces and Women’s Agency during the French War in Algeria,” forthcoming book chapter in Productive Universals – Specific Situations: Analysis and Intervention in Art, Architecture, Design and Urbanism. Berlin: Sternberg Press, 2018), and on language (“What the Hell Do They Mean When They Say ‘Independence’?” written and read for Barby Asante, broadcasted at the Diaspora Pavilion, 57th Art Exhibition, Venice Biennial.

In 2018, she will co-chair two conference sessions: “French North Africa and the Architecture of Counterinsurgency,” with Ralph Ghoche, at the College Art Association Annual Conference in Los Angeles, and “United Nations in the Non-Western World: Norms and Forms of ‘Development’ Programmes,” with Tom Avermaete, at the Fifth International Meeting of the European Architectural History Network in Tallinn. Her recent lectures include “Vers une dé-propagande des archives militaires: mais où se trouve donc l'architecture?” Laboratoire InVisu, Institut national d'histoire de l'art, Paris; “On Critical Institutions in Society,” Shedhalle Zurich; “From Camps, Homes, Borders, and Laws,” The Side Room, Amsterdam; “C as in Colonialism,” CCC Research-based Master program, Geneva School of Art and Design; and “Why Does Algeria Need a Pavilion More Than Ever? On Retelling Stories, Rewriting Histories and Researching Architecture,” Kunsthal Aarhus.

She taught at the ETH Zurich and the Geneva School of Art and Design. She received her Ph.D. (with distinction, ETH Medal) in History and Theory of Architecture from the ETH Zurich. She was a Research Associate at Curatorial/Knowledge, Department of Visual Cultures, Goldsmiths, University of London. She received her M.Sc. in Architecture from the Accademia di Archittetura di Mendrisio, Università della Svizzera Italiana. She also studied at the former Berlage Institute in Rotterdam, and at the École polytechnique d'architecture et d'urbanisme in Algiers. Her work has been included in exhibitions at Kunsthal Aarhus, Museum of Yugoslav History in Belgrade, the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal, and the Chung-Shan Creative Hub in Taipei.

Recent Courses
ARC 403: Topics in the History and Theory of Architecture: The Architectural Thesis (Fall 2017)
ARC 575: Advanced Topics in Modern Architecture: Wars, Architecture and Cities (Fall 2017)

Recent Publications
Architecture of Counterrevolution: The French Army in Northern Algeria (Zurich: gta Verlag, 2017)