• War Diaries: Design After the Destruction of Art and Architecture
    Elisa Dainese and Aleksandar Staničić
    University of Virginia Press, 2021
    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 and assistant professor at TU Delft Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment. Previously he was Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellow at TU Delft (2018–20), postdoctoral fellow at the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at MIT (2017–18), and research scholar at the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies, Columbia University (2016–17). Staničić is on the editorial board of the FOOTPRINT Architecture Theory Journal and acts as an expert evaluator for the European Commission (2020–present). He is coeditor of War Diaries: Design after the Destruction of Art and Architecture (University of Virginia Press, 2021, with Elisa Dainese), Conflict Mediations (Footprint #27, 2020, with Marc Schoonderbeek, Heidi Sohn, and Armina Pilav), and Embodiment and Meaning-making: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Architectural Heritage (The Journal of Architecture, forthcoming, with Andrea Jelić). Staničić is recipient of multiple grants and fellowships from the Graham Foundation, the European Commission, and Government of Lombardy Region.