Vanessa Grossman

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Vanessa Grossman
M.A. Princeton University
Research Masters 1 & 2 of Architectural History, Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne University
Diploma Architect and Urban Planner, Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning, University of São Paulo


Vanessa Grossman is a Ph.D. Candidate in the History and Theory of Architecture. She is the recipient of the 2015 Carter Manny Award for doctoral dissertation writing provided by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. She was awarded in 2012-13 the Chateaubriand Fellowship in Humanities & Social Sciences for her Ph.D. dissertation, and the Sciences Po Visiting Fellowship. She was a Sciences Po Doctoral Exchange Fellow in Paris in 2013-14, and an Exchange Fellow at the École Normale Supérieure Paris in 2012-13. 

Entitled A Concrete Alliance: Modernism, Communism and the Design of Urban France, 1958-1981, her dissertation examines the collaboration between architects and the French Communist Party (PCF) in France’s Fifth Republic, with case studies including the work of Oscar Niemeyer, the Atelier d’Urbanisme et d’Architecture (AUA), Jean Renaudie and Renée Gailhoustet.

She was the first architecture Lassen Fellow of the Program in Latin American Studies at Princeton University (PLAS, 2009-10). From 2006-8 she received the Bourse Master Île-de-France. In 2007 she was awarded the 8th Young Architects Awards (Critical Essays Category), provided by the Institute of Architects of Brazil (IAB) for her book A Arquitetura e o Urbanismo revisitados pela Internacional situacionista (São Paulo: Annablume / Fapesp, 2006).

She has assisted and taught seminars and studios at Princeton University School of Architecture, at the University of Miami School of Architecture, and at the École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Versailles, France. She was the co-organizer, together with Irene Sunwoo and Enrique Ramirez, of Teaching Architecture, Practicing Pedagogy, a graduate student symposium at Princeton University dedicated to new research on the history of architectural education in the 20th century.

Her current research interests include architecture’s intersections with ideology, power and government policies; French and Brazilian architectural cultures; the history of modern architecture and urbanism; contemporary architecture from global perspectives; the topic of Brutalism. She has also worked and published on the Situationist International. Her work has been supported by grants from Princeton University, the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, the Embassy of France in the USA, the Canadian Center for Architecture (CCA), the Île-de-France Regional Council, and the São Paulo Research Foundation (Fapesp).

She was the associate curator of Une architecture de l’engagement: L'AUA, 1960-1985 presented at the Cité de l'Architecture et du Patrimoine in Paris (November 2015-February 2016). She was also the assistant curator of the French Pavilion at the 14th Architectural Biennale in Venice in 2014, which has received a Special Mention from the Jury.

Selected publications:

AUA. Une architecture de l’engagement,1960-1985, ed. Jean-Louis Cohen, with Vanessa Grossman (Paris: Éditions Dominique Carré /Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine, 2015). Book and Exhibiton Review by Vittorio Gregotti

“The Communists Have Changed:’ Oscar Niemeyer’s Headquarters for the French Communist Party (1965-1980),” in Cultural Exchanges Between Brazil and France, ed. Regina Félix and Scott Juall (West Lafayette: Purdue University Press, 2016).

Modernity, Promise or Menace? France. 101 Buildings 1914-2014, Catalogue of the French Pavilion at 14th Architectural Biennale, ed. Jean-Louis Cohen, with Vanessa Grossman (Paris: Éditions Carré / Institut français, 2014).

“Du coup à la coupe, ou du ‘rôle de l’action révolutionnaire,’ 1964-2014,” Introduction to Carlos Marighella, Mini-manuel du guérillero urbain (Paris: Éditions B2, 2014).

Le PCF a changé ! Niemeyer et le siège du Parti communiste (1966-1981) (Paris: Éditions B2, 2013). Book Review by Yoann Morvan

“Sakrale Architektur in der Zeitschrift L'Art Sacré,” in Interferenzen. Interférences: Architektur. Deutschland - Frankreich 1800-2000, ed. Jean-Louis Cohen and Hartmut Frank (Tübingen: Wasmuth-Verlag, 2013).

“Soto and Modern Architecture” (DVD booklet), Jesus Raphaël Soto (1995), 52min. (Paris: Terra Luna Films, 2013).

“Chrysalis’s Pneudome, a Bubble-Pad-Survival-Kit, or London Meets L.A.,” in “Playboy Architecture, 1953-1979,” ed. Beatriz Colomina, Volume 33 (Fall 2012).

“Französischer Kontextualismus | Ahnenforschung in der jüngsten Vergangenheit,” Archithese 5, "Paris" (2012).

“RMSP: Metropolitan Region of São Paulo,” in Katherine Farley and Deborah Berke, Urban Intersections: São Paulo, ed. Nina Rappaport, Noah Bilken and Eliza Higgins (New Haven: Yale School of Architecture Books, 2011).

“João Batista Vilanova Artigas, Le Corbusier and Imperialism (1951),” introduction and translation from the Portuguese, Pidgin 10, (Spring 2011).

“Desenho, no. 2, São Paulo” and “Ou…, no. 1, August, São Paulo,” in Clip, Stamp, Fold: The Radical Architecture of Little Magazines 196X - 197X, ed. Beatriz Colomina and Craig Buckley (Barcelona: Actar, 2010).

“Il tempo libero nell’architettura di Lina Bo Bardi,” Area 114 (2011).

“A Genealogy of French Contextualism,” Pidgin 8 (Spring 2010).

A arquitetura e o urbanismo revisitados pela Internacional situacionista (São Paulo: Annablume / FAPESP, 2006).

Selected papers and lectures:

"The Third Zone: Designing a Cultural Center for Ivry-sur-Seine (1962–1986)", Society of Architectural Historians 70th Annual Conference, Glasgow, June 7-11, 2017.

"“The Concrete and the Utopian: Designing Ivry-sur-Seine’s City Center (1962-1986)”, Utopia, Whither the Future?, Institute for Comparative Literature and Society Graduate Conference, Columbia University, New York, September 22-23, 2016.

“La voie française au Brutalisme”, Architecture et politique en France au XXe siècle, Collège de France, Paris, June 23, 2014.

“When Communism Meets Brutalism: the AUA’s Critique of Production,” European Architectural History Network Meeting, Turin, June 19-21, 2014.

“Artigas’s Realism,” Architectural Elective Affinities: Correspondences, Transfers, Inter/ multidisciplinarity, European Architectural History Network Meeting, São Paulo, March 20-24, 2013.

“Arquitetura Nova, and the Quarrels of Marxism and Modernization,” Architecture and the Paradox of Dissidence, 9th International Conference of the Architectural Humanities Research Association, London, November 15-17, 2012.

“’The Communists Have Changed:’ Niemeyer's Headquarters for the PCF,” Society of Architectural Historians 65th Annual Conference, Detroit, April 18-22, 2012.

“Arquitetura Nova, and the Quarrels of Marxism, Architecture and Modernity,” Radical Aesthetics and Politics: Intersections in Music, Art, and Critical Social Theory, Critical Studies in Expressive Culture, Hunter College, New York, December 9, 2011.

“Lucio Costa, Robert Venturi and the Other,” Latin American Studies Association Annual Conference, Toronto, October 6-9, 2010.