Event Date: 

RESCHEDULED: PhD Colloquium: Martin Bressani

Please join us Friday, April 8th at 10:30am as Martin Bressani presents
“Haunting, or the Past Inside the Present”

Haunting will treat the presence of the past inside the present – the dead hand of the past, the baleful influence of old institutions that live on in the present. It will consider the particularly modern phenomena of “revivalism” in architecture – the attempt to revive the undead – as an anxious and mournful attempt to at once conjure and get rid of history. The past, and paradigmatically in architecture the “Gothic,” offers Romanticism and modern culture in general a space in which to explore but also contain the institutional dismemberment and re-articulation often glossed as secularization.


Martin Bressani, architect and architectural historian, is Professor and Director at McGill University’s School of Architecture. He holds a professional architecture degree from McGill University, a Masters degree in the History and Theory of architecture from M.I.T, and a Ph.D. in Art History from the Université de Paris-Sorbonne (Paris IV). He has held visiting professorships at M.I.T, Cornell University, and Syracuse University and was a fellow at the Study Centre of the Canadian Centre for Architecture in 2003. He has published in many of the topical forums for architectural debates such as AssemblageAny MagazineLogAD Magazine and has been on the editorial board of the Journal of Architectural Education and currently of the M.I.T journal Thresholds. He has contributed essays to many books as well as publishing in scholarly journals such as the American Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians and the Studies in the History of Art, the French Revue de l'art, the German Architectura: Zeitschrift für Geschichte der Baukunst, the British Art History and the Canadian Annals in the History of Canadian Art.

Bressani's central theme of research has been the organic metaphor in architecture, seeking to understand, through an interdisciplinary approach, the nature of the exchange between science and architectural thought and practice. He is also interested in the production of atmospheres or ambiances in architecture, and the concomitant development of the sense of an interior. Though he has covered many historical periods and geographical areas, his privileged domain of study is French nineteenth-century architecture. Bressani has published a monograph on French architect and theoretician Eugène-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc, Architecture and the Historical Imagination. Eugène-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc (Ashgate, 2014).

He currently teaches in the third-year design studio, the undergraduate architectural history sequence, and a thematic graduate seminar in the History and Theory post-professional Masters option. Bressani’s doctoral students work on a range of subjects from the French boudoir to the relationship of Gothic architecture to literature.


RSVP is required. Papers will be pre-circulate a week before each session. Please email Megan Eardley (meardley@princeton.edu) for a copy of the paper.

This event will take place in S-11.

School of Architecture
Princeton University


Convened by Carson Chan, Martin Cobas, Megan Eardley, Curt Gambetta, and Elis Mendoza.

With kind support from:
Princeton-Mellon Initiative in Architecture, Urbanism & the Humanities
Program in American Studies
Program in Media + Modernity
Program in Latin American Studies
Race and Citizenship in the Americas Network