Vanessa Grossman

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Vanessa Grossman
M.Phil. Princeton University
Research Masters 1 & 2 of Architectural History, Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne University
B.A. School 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. 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 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 the history of communism, modern architecture and urban planning in France and Brazil, postwar French culture, politics and urban studies. She has also worked and published on the Situationist International. Her work has been supported by grants from the Canadian Center for Architecture (CCA), the Île-de-France Regional Council and the São Paulo Research Foundation (Fapesp).

She was the assistant curator of the French Pavilion at the 14th Architectural Biennale in Venice, which has received a Special Mention from the Jury.

Selected publications:

“The Communists have changed:’ Oscar Niemeyer’s Headquarters for the French Communist Party (1965-1980),” in Face-à-Face: Studies on Cultural Exchanges between Brazil and France, ed. Regina Félix and Scott Juall (forthcoming 2015).

La modernité, promesse ou menace? France. 101 bâtiments 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

“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).

“Le siège du PCF. La liberté formelle d’un manifeste politique,” AMC 221 (2013).

“Soto et l’architecture moderne / 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).

“Ariane en Chômage,” L’Architecture d’aujourd’hui 370 (2007).

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

Selected papers and lectures:

“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.

“The headquarters for the French Communist Party,” Sint Lucas School of Architecture, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Brussels, May 13, 2013.

“Managing Utopia: Municipal Communism at Ivry-sur-Seine, and the architecture of Renée Gailhoustet and Jean Renaudie (1962-1986),” Reality(ies), Fiction and Utopia in the Art of France, West Germany, East Germany and Poland Between 1960 and 1989, Centre Allemand d'Histoire de l'Art, Paris, April 11-13, 2013.

“João Vilanova 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.

“Crossing the Rhine: German Modern Churches as Seen by L’Art Sacré,” Liturgy as Muse. Religious Institutes as Protagonists in Renewing Liturgy, Sacred Art and Music and Church Material Culture (1903-1962),” European Forum on the History of Religious Institutes in the 19th and 20th centuries, Leuven, November 8-9, 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.