• War Diaries: Design After the Destruction of Art and Architecture
    Elisa Dainese and Aleksandar Staničić
    University of Virginia Press, 2020
    Elisa Dainese & Aleksandar Staničić

Postcard showing the damaged Serbian Government building taken from the Old (Baumgarten’s) Generalštab (General Staff Building) in Belgrade, Editions Francophiles, 1999. Courtesy of the National Library of Serbia.

In recent decades, the development of high-precision weaponry systems and the instant flow of information has redefined the notion of urban warfare as a local phenomenon with global effects in an increasingly interconnected world. The annihilation of Aleppo and the broadcasted demolitions of Palmyra demonstrate the accelerating politicization of the destruction process and the rising weaponization of architecture. War Diaries looks at complex postwar settings to illuminate design responses to urban warfare and violence against art and architecture. The focus is on world regions where planners, architects and artists are involved in concrete initiatives on the ground. The question at stake, is how professionals have conducted and accomplished investigations, renewal and redevelopment of attacked sites. Examining the role of these specialists, the book illuminates the approaches and attitudes towards destruction that designers have used to remediate the effects of violence against cities and cultural heritage.

Elise Dainese is an architect, theorist, and historian and she is currently assistant professor of architecture at Dalhousie University. She works on issues of decolonization and postcolonial theory, global history and globalization, modernism, architectural design, and urbanization with a focus on the transoceanic exchanges across Africa, Europe, and the Americas. She has published widely in internationally renowned books and journals (Journal of Architecture and Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians) and her research has received grants, fellowships, and awards from the Graham Foundation, Columbia University, the Bruno Zevi Foundation, the Canadian Centre for Architecture, and the Mellon Foundation funded GAHTC. Her book projects include two manuscripts entitled War Diaries: Design after the Destruction of Art and Architecture" (coeditor, University of Virginia Press, 2020) and African Dimensions of Postwar Architecture: A Global History of the Sub-Saharan “Habitat” (forthcoming). In 2012, she obtained a PhD in Architecture from the IUAV.

Aleksandar Staničić is an architect, researcher, and Marie Curie Fellow at TU Delft Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment. Previously he was a research scholar at the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America, Columbia University, and postdoctoral fellow at the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at MIT. Staničić’s work explores architectural engagements with violence driven transformation of urban morphology, politics of urban (re)construction in cities of upheaval, and disaster resilience design. It stems from two book projects, War Diaries: Design after the Destruction of Art and Architecture (coeditor, University of Virginia Press, 2020) and Transition urbicide: Post-war reconstruction in post-socialist Belgrade (forthcoming). His professional portfolio includes awarded design on postwar housing in Syria, and multiple grants and fellowships from the Government of Lombardy Region, Italy, and Ministry of Education, Republic of Serbia. Staničić obtained his PhD in architectural composition from Politecnico di Milano in 2014.