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Architectural Regionalism as a Global Process (1890-1950)

International Conference

30 November - 2 December 2016

Venue: German Center for Art History, Hôtel Lully, 45, rue des Petits-Champs, 75001 Paris/France


Concept of the Conference

Michael Falser (Heidelberg University)

In the last twenty years, architectural historiography approached regionalism as a pan-European movement between 1890 and 1950 which, as a flipside of the International Modern Movement with its rationalist and cosmopolitan agenda, helped to reinforce regional identities through the language of regionalist building styles. When European nation states such as France, Great Britain, Netherlands, Germany etc. entered a late-modern phase of political saturation and a stronger need of cultural self-definition, architectural regionalism emerged as a polymorphic set of artistic strategies: fostered either by centralist regimes to stabilize the national project through a higher (however controlled) valorisation of its peripheral elements, or by centrifugal forces towards provincial independence. In France, for example, this regionalist movement was particularly developed through a whole range identity-building structures in neo-Basque, neo-Breton etc. styles, but also in a kind of regionalist eclecticism for seaside architecture.

Latest projects to write a 'global history of architecture' or a canon of 'world architecture' comprised of rather additive architectural case-studies around the globe with an ordering system along geographic and political entities (Europe or Non-Europe), but did not yet transpose the above-mentioned scenario to the global arena: in comparing the strategies of political and cultural stabilization, negotiation and/or resistance through architectural regionalism, a structural analogy of the centre-periphery model can also be detected between the European metropole and its overseas colonies, resp. between those colonies’ capitals and their own provinces. If 'area studies' identified similar regionalist policy changes from cultural assimilation (direct transfer) to association (regional adaptation) for European colonies in Asia and Africa during the same period (1890-1950), then the emerging 'neo-vernacular styles' in the colonies (such as the Style indochinois in French Indochina or the 'neo-Mauresque' style in French North Africa, the Indo-Saracenic Style in British India, or the Indische Stijl in the Dutch East Indies etc.) – can be read as Non-European variants of 'regionalist styles' in the European nation states. This 'trans-cultural' approach frames the diverse regionalist formations of architectural styles and forms as one globally connected process.

Transnational approaches to set the different European colonial contexts within the first half of the 20th century in relation to each other can also help to conceptualise the recent inter-related effects between globalisation and decentralisation (like in France) where the notions of the global and the local are often enmeshed simultaneously in contemporary architecture.

Left: Drawing for a regionalist architecture entitled "Auberge dans la Somme" in Charles Letrosne's publication "Murs et toits de chez nous" (1923-6); Right: The"Technische Hogeschool" in Bandung/Java in the Dutch East Indies (today Indonesia) by Henri Maclaine Pont in 1920 (Photo: Michael Falser 2014)

Conceptualizing Global Connectivity in Architectural History

Requested case studies can focus on regionalist and (neo-)vernacular architectural style formations either within European nation states or in European colonies. In order to conceptualize a transcultural matrix of global connectivity between the different forms of regionalist expressions beyond the strict divide of West or Non-West, Europe or Non-Europe, metropole or colony, colonizer or colonized, the different presentations will be set in direct relation to each other (e.g. France vs. French Indochina etc.).

To facilitate the discussion of structural analogies and connections across those divides, the presentations will address the following questions on agency and process beyond a mere stylistic analysis:

- In which centre-periphery constellation was the particular regionalist project embedded?
- Which individual actors (architects, engineers, ethnographers, politicians) and institutions participated (or not) in the project?
- To which kind of regional/vernacular expressions and traditions was referred to, and how were those collected, valorised, hybridized or (re)invented, and finally applied?
- Did the different projects, institutional agencies and individual agents (cultural brokers) cross the lines between the divides of the national vs. regional, metropole vs. colony etc.?
- Where there any platforms of knowledge exchange involved across those divides (scientific journals, national/colonial congresses, exhibitions and fairs, individual networks etc.)?

Collaborative Network - Design of the Conference

The international conference in French, English and German will take place from 30 November to 2 December 2016 at the German Center for Art History in Paris. It is a collaborative exercise between the Cluster of Excellence 'Asia and Europe in a Global Context – The Dynamics of Transculturality' at Heidelberg University (and its project "Picturesque Modernities", directed by Michael Falser/Global Art History), the German Centre of Art History in Paris (directed by Thomas Kirchner), the University of Poitiers (Centre de recherche interdisciplinaire en histoire, histoire de l’art et musicologie/CRIHAM, with its project "Corpus numérique du patrimoine architectural en région", directed by Nabila Oulebsir), the Centre André Chastel (CNRS/University Paris-Sorbonne, directed by Alexandre Gady) and the Association d’Histoire de l’Architecture (directed by Jean-Baptiste Minnaert/University Paris-Sorbonne).

This conference is the second event after the International Conference "Picturesque Eye. Framing Regionalist Art Forms in Late Empires (1900-1950)" which took place in Vienna/Austria in December 2015.

After the 1,5-day conference at the German Center for Art History Paris, a half-day workshop for PhD-candidates will take place in the INHA (Institut national d'histoire de l'art).

The conference is open to the public.


WEDNESDAY, 30 November 2016

Venue: Centre Allemand d'Histoire de l’Art Paris,
           Hôtel Lully  -  45, rue des Petits Champs, F-75001 Paris

14.00-15.00    Introduction

Godehard Janzing (German Center for Art History, Paris)
Welcome by Hosting Institute

Jean-Baptiste Minnaert (Institute of Art History, University Paris-Sorbonne, and A.H.A.)
Alexandre Gady (Centre André Chastel, University Paris-Sorbonne)
Nabila Oulebsir (CRIHAM, University of Poitiers/Centre Georg Simmel/EHESS Paris)
Introduction by Partner Institutions

Michael Falser (Global Art History, Heidelberg University)
Introduction to the Concept of the Conference




15.00–16.30    France across its regions

Chair:      Alexandre Gady (Centre Chastel, University Paris-Sorbonne)

Dominique Ganibenc (Montpellier University)
La coopération vinicole du languedoc-méditerranéen face au régionalisme architectural

Claude Laroche (Région Nouvelle-Aquitaine)
Existe-t-il une architectonique régionaliste trans-régionale? Les traits communs des diverses expressions néo-régionales en France durant le premier XXe siècle

16.30–17.00    Coffee Break

17.00–18.30    France’s regionalisms in overseas perspective

Chair:  Nabila Oulebsir (CRIHAM, Poitiers University/Centre Georg Simmel, EHESS Paris)

Charlotte Jelidi (Tours University)
Léandre Vaillat et le baron d’Erlanger, leur réseau international et la pollinisation du régionalisme architectural au Sud de la Méditerranée

Caroline Herbelin (Toulouse University and Wesleyan University, Middleton CT/USA)
The multiple voices of the Indochinese style

19.00–20.15    KEYNOTE (I)

Dana Arnold (University of East Anglia)

Renegotiating the Boundaries of Architectural History

Discussant: Godehard Janzing (German Center for Art History Paris)

20.15        Reception
                 Centre Allemand d’Histoire de l’Art Paris

THURSDAY, 1 December 2016

Venue: Centre Allemand d’Histoire de l’Art Paris


9.00–10.30    Netherlands and the Dutch East Indies

Chair: Jean-Sébastian Cluzel (University Paris-Sorbonne)

Herman van Bergeijk (TU Delft)
‘The Centre cannot hold.’ Dutch Architectural Culture, H.P. Berlage and the Dutch Indies in the 1920s

Pauline K.M. van Roosmalen (Amsterdam – TU Delft)
From 'Indisch' and 'Art Deco' to 'Jengki': Re-thinking 'Colonial' Architecture of the Dutch East Indies in a Globalising World

10.30–11.00    Coffee Break

11.00–12.30    The German Empire and its Colonies

Chair:  Michael Falser (Heidelberg University)

Kenny Cupers (Basel University)
Heimatstil. Architecture between Namibia and Eastern Prussia

Itohan Osayimwese (Brown University, Providence/USA)
The Debate on Rectilinear, Flat-Roofed African Architectural Traditions
and the Development of an Arabicized German Colonial Style in East Africa

12.30–14.00    Lunch Buffet





14.00–15.30    Inner-continental Peripheries

Chair: Jean-Baptiste Minnaert (University Paris-Sorbonne)

Wolfgang Voigt (Frankfurt)
Between Alsace and Pacific Ocean: Regionalist Heimatschutz Architecture in the late Bismarck Empire and in its Peripheric Territories (1900-1918)

Boris Chukhovich (University of Montreal, Canada)
« Orient vif » et « Orient mort » : Croisées du modernisme et de l'orientalisme en Asie centrale soviétique dans les années 1920 et 1930

15.30–16.00    Coffee Break

16.00–17.30    Concessions and Mandates

Chair: Philippe Nys (University Paris-La Villette and Paris8)

Elizabeth LaCouture (Colby College, Maine/USA)   
Inventing Tianjin Modern Style through Multiple Colonialisms

Caecilia Pieri (Institut français du Proche-Orient, Beirut)
Entre hybridation, culturalisme et traditions locales: stratégies urbaines et architecturales à Bagdad sous mandat britannique (1920-1932)

19.00–20.00    KEYNOTE (II) - GUIDED VISIT

Venue: Cité de l’Architecture & du Patrimoine,
            Palais de Chaillot, 1. Place du Trocadéro, 75116 Paris)

Exhibition Tous à la Plage ! Villes Balnéaires du XVIIIe siècle à nos Jours

Bernard Toulier (Conservateur général du patrimoine, Paris)
Le Régionalisme dans l’architecture balnéaire

20.30        Dinner (optional)

FRIDAY, 2 December 2016

Venue: Centre Allemand d’Histoire de l’Art


9.30–11.00    Staging Regionalism in the Contact Zone

Chair: Sabine du Crest (Bordeaux University)

Eric Storm (Leiden University)
Regionalist Pavilions in San Diego and Seville: International Expositions as Global Platforms of Exchange (1915-1929)

Michael Falser (Heidelberg University)
The International Exhibition of Paris 1937: Regionalism  on a Global Scale

11.00–11.30    Coffee Break

11.30 –13.00    Regionalist Strategies in the Non-Colonial Mode

Chair: Carmen Popescu (Ecole Nationale Supérieure of Brittany)

Lawrence Chua (Syracuse University, New York/USA)
Manuals and Models of Utopia: Intersecting Transregionalism and the Reorganization of the Building Trades in early 20th-century Bangkok/Siam

Andreas Putz (ETH Zurich)
The Survey of the Homeland and the Production of Regionalist Modernism.
Switzerland and the USA 1930–1950

13.00–13.30    Snack Break



FRIDAY, 2 December 2016 (15.30–19.30)




Venue: INHA (Institut national d’histoire de l’art),
            Salle Ingres, 2 Rue Vivienne - 75002 Paris


David Sadighian (Harvard University/German Center for Art History Paris)
Beaux-Arts Design and the International Imaginary, 1867-1932

Nabila Metair (University Paris-Sorbonne)
L’oeuvre Art Déco de l’architecte métropolitain Georges Louis Wolff: entre le local et l’exogène

Christianna Bonin (MIT Boston/USA)
“Non-Soviet” Modern: How CIAM 4 Shaped Socialist Architecture

Maria Paola Sabella (University of Cagliari, Italy)
Primitivism and Contemporary in the Works of Le Corbusier

17.30–18.00    Coffee Break


Camille Conte (Poitiers University)
L’invention du local dans la photographie d’architecture  Lucien Roy, une culture du regard

Stéphanie Dietre (Grenoble University)
L’architecture cultuelle de Paul Tournon. Composition classique, modernité constructive et cultures du site

Antonio David Fiore (Open University, Milton Keynes/UK)
Ambientamento: Neo-vernacular Architecture as Solution to the Question of the Conservation of the Urban Heritage in the Writings and Practice of the Venetian architect Duilio Torres (1882-1972)

Asma Hadjilah (Polytechnical School of Algiers, Algeria)
Historicisme et esthétique locale dans l’architecture coloniale d’Alger. Les prémices du régionalisme

19.30-20.00        WRAP UP DISCUSSION

             END OF WORKSHOP and DINNER (optional)




Michael S. Falser (MA, MSc, PhD)

Cluster of Excellence "Asia and Europe in a Global Context" (Global Art History, Project D18: Picturesque Modernities), Heidelberg Center of Transcultural Studies (HCTS), Voßstrasse 2/4400, D-69115 Heidelberg, Germany

Website for the Conference:



The original CfP in English (PDF) is here.

The original CfP in German (PDF) is here.

The original CfP in French (PDF) is here.

THE PROGRAMME in English (PDF) is here.

ALL ABSTRACTS in English (PDF) are here.