Inaugural Penelope Visiting Professor in Architectural History

Jean-Louis Cohen appointed

Professor Jean-Louis Cohen has been appointed the inaugural Penelope Visiting Professor in Architectural History at the University of Sydney, through which he will lead a two-year program of research and public events in the Sydney School of Architecture, Design and Planning.

The visiting position has been created through the generosity of Penelope Seidler AM. Her gift enables the University to bring outstanding scholars of international stature to Sydney to conduct research and curate a public program to foster discussion and debate in the history of architecture. It recognises the value of robust scholarship to a truly innovative architectural culture and addresses the challenge of cultivating a broad public for work that reimagines the roles of buildings and cities in responding to social, cultural, and technical challenges, global as well as local.

First announced in 2019, Professor Cohen’s appointment and his time in Sydney has been delayed by COVID-19. He plans to visit Sydney in 2022, however in the meantime he will work with colleagues at the University to stage a series of events (online and, eventually, in person) exploring the themes of his research.

Professor of Architecture at the School of Architecture, Design and Planning, and program coordinator Andrew Leach said: “We have taught architectural history for 137 years at the University of Sydney. This exciting appointment will extend us in new ways and allow our students and our public to explore a compelling theme with one of the world’s most prominent voices in this field.”

Penelope Seidler’s gift will support the School to cement its place as a key centre for research and teaching in the history of architecture and urbanism. It will allow scholars from around the world to work in Sydney, and to advance a program of research and outreach in the history of architecture among a lively and diverse community of scholars and architects. Sharing that work with a Sydney public will be a key aspect of each Penelope Professor’s agenda.

A new appointment will be made, in the first instance, every other year.

Cohen is among the world’s foremost experts on the history of modern architecture and urbanism. He is the Sheldon H. Solow Professor in the History of Architecture at New York University’s Institute for Fine Arts and Chair of Architecture and Urban Form at the Collège de France, in Paris. In France, he led the establishment of the Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine at the Palais de Chaillot from 1997 to 2003. His exhibitions have been staged at the Museum of Modern Art (NYC), the Centre Pompidou, MAXXI (Rome), and the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal. Extending his extensive bibliography, he has published in 2020 the first of the eight volumes of the complete works of Frank O. Gehry.

Further information on the Penelope Professor can be found here. The program will be formally launched on a date to be determined. The original launch, planned for June 21, was postponed in response to public health concerns.

Image of Jean-Louis Cohen
Jean-Louis Cohen (supplied)


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