PICTURING ARCHITECTURE is a visual research blog by Marie-Madeleine Ozdoba, architect and PhD researcher in visual culture studies at the Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS) in Paris.

This blog is an open notebook where I share research in progress, off-the-cuff reactions to things I see and read, exhibition and book reviews, unpublished articles and presentations, archival discoveries and more…

My research explores a field at the intersection of architecture, popular media and visual culture. The focus of my dissertation is on International Style corporate architecture – i.e. the gridded glass box – as cultural icon and marker of mid-century American modernity.

Union Carbide advertising brochure featuring S.O.M. designed corporation's headquarters on Park Avenue in NYC, ca. 1960

Union Carbide advertising brochure featuring the S.O.M. designed corporation’s headquarters on Park Avenue in NYC, ca. 1960

Through the prism of popular materials such as consumer magazines, advertising and popular movies from the late 1940s to the mid 1960s, the gridded glass box appears as a major ingredient in narratives placing Cold War America in relation to its future.

The gridded glass box marks the birth of the contemporary visual regime of modern architecture as a mass medium of temporal projection. Within this paradigm of the “achievable future” that I aim to describe, the visual culture of modern architecture blends with the visual standards of mass communications, inaugurating a new function of architectural imagery in an anxiety-driven society: providing viable visions of the future.

About this blog:

Before PICTURING ARCHITECTURE, I opened my first blog, plan/coupe/image, on the platform culturevisuelle.org, a pionneering project in the field of collaborative visual research initiated by André Gunthert and his Laboratoire d’Histoire Visuelle Contemporaine (Lhivic) at EHESS. Since then, Culture Visuelle has migrated to become a part of the Hypotheses.org academic blogging platform. The plan/coupe/image blog posts have been transfered to PICTURING ARCHITECTURE.

About me:

After graduating in architecture (TU Wien, 2003), I enrolled in an MA in Visual Culture (Goldsmiths College, University of London, 2005), with the project to explore the intersections of both disciplines. This project has been driving my professional and academic trajectories ever since.

I have worked several years in architecture and urban design firms, specializing on competitions and design at concept-stage. Pursueing my interest in architectural representation and image-making, I have also practiced as an architectural illustrator with the firm Luxigon.

In 2011, I enrolled in a PhD program in Visual Culture Studies at EHESS in Paris. André Gunthert and Giovanni Careri are my advisors at the Center for Art History and Theory (CEHTA). Alongside, I am working part time as a research assistant in the research laboratory of the National School of Landscape Architecture (ENSP) in Versailles, where I contribute to programs in the field of visual culture.

My PhD research has been supported by grants from the Getty Foundation, the Terra Foundation for American Art, EHESS and the Abvent group. In 2015, I have spent two academic quarters as a visiting student at the University of Chicago.



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