Sarton lecture: Lucia Allais ‘The Protective Matrix: Monuments, Sandbags, and Apotropaia since 1900’

(18-03-2024) The 2023-2024 Sarton medal for the History of Science for the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture will be awarded to Prof. Lucia Allais, Associate professor at Columbia University (GSAPP).

Lucia Allais is an architecture historian of the modern period, studying among other things the technical and philosophical history of materials and the participation of buildings and design actors in political culture and global governance. In her book Designs of Destruction: The Making of Monuments in the Twentieth Century (2018), for instance, she showed how liberal internationalist organisations crafted new post-war notions of 'the monument'.

'The Protective Matrix: Monuments, Sandbags, and Apotropaia since 1900’

"A remarkable expressive architecture was invented over the course of the twentieth century through the international practice of protecting monumental structures with lattices of sandbags. This lecture unfolds the history and significance of this practice, from the history of the humble sandbag, to the evolving legal norms that surrounded debates about the “humanization of war” at the League of Nations. Ultimately Allais detects a spectrum of aesthetic ideologies behind this protective matrix, which all have in common a belief in apotropaia: the power of images to repel evil."

25 April 2024, 17:30 at VANDENHOVE Centrum voor Architectuur en Kunst, Rozier 1, Ghent
With introductions by the Faculty, the Sarton Committee and a laudatio by prof. Maarten Liefooghe, and followed by a drink offered by the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture.