call for papers–Construction History

[Very happy about this, and hoping some AF readers might submit…!]

With the founding of the Construction History Society of America and the global scope of the triennial International Congresses on Construction History, the discipline of Construction History is enjoying its broadest audience yet.  To recognize this wider audience and to support the discipline’s growth in North and South America, Construction History is dedicating a forthcoming issue to the Americas.
The Editors of Construction History and Guest Editor Thomas Leslie, seek a broad range of papers that will reflect the breadth of interest and topics currently active.  Papers that explore previously under-studied examples, or that expand the geography of the Americas beyond the United States are particularly welcome.  Topics may include materials, design, management, engineering, or pure construction.  To be considered for inclusion, abstracts should be submitted by 31 January 2012, with accepted papers to be submitted in full by 31 May 2012. Abstracts and papers are to be submitted to with a copy to Thomas Leslie at Notes for contributors will be sent on acceptance of the abstract.  Information on the Journal itself is available online at; the American branch of the Society is also online at


Construction History, the journal of the Construction History Society, is a peer-reviewed scholarly journal which is published annually.  It is the leading international journal in its field, and enjoys a high reputation in the diversity, breadth and detail of its coverage. The journal covers all aspects of construction history and recent papers have ranged from buildings in early China to construction processes in the modern USA, and from nineteenth-century British bridge building to the use

of concrete in India and Mexico.  The scope embraces both technical and non-technical aspects of construction history. Among technical issues covered in Construction History are construction materials and components, buildings, infrastructure, building form, construction processes and plant.

Non-technical aspects of construction include funding, organizations, company history, labor, education and historical sources. The journal does not include papers about the refurbishment of existing buildings or engineering structures.

hampton u.

I’m on vacation this week with family in Virginia this week, but managed to invite myself on to thesis reviews at Hampton yesterday.  Great stuff–their thesis projects focus on design research and included really insightful studies of social housing, education, energy-harvesting skyscrapers, and zombie-proof apartments.  That last one was a bit of a surprise, but I came away concerned that we are, as a whole, inadequately prepared for the coming zombie apocalypse.  Thanks to Shannon Chance, Carmina Sanchez-Del-Valle, and Wesley Henderson for a great afternoon, and to their students for some really thoughtful–and thought-provoking–projects…

san luis obispo

I’m in California today to review projects and give an in-class lecture at Cal Poly.  Structures and pedagogy guru Kevin Dong is my host–we go back a ways having worked on a major project together in the 1990s and then subsequently entered academia at about the same time.  I’ve made periodic trips out here with studios or to lecture, and he’s returned the favor.  We have to organize things according to weather, of course.

And the weather here is almost always spectacular, which made this morning’s run particularly happy.  I headed up into Poly Canyon, which is the traditional site for an annual design-build project.  Some of these are really spectacular, but there’s one that has genuine historic interest.  The rusting hulk spanning that arroyo is the closest that Craig Ellwood came to building his breathtakingly purist Vacation House, which exists mostly in a well-known rendering.  In the early 1970s he led a group of students in building a version of it–less pure, obviously, but still a typically powerful statement of structure and domesticity.  And, of course, a precursor to his Pasadena Art and Design College, which does the same trick on an unbelievably larger scale.

The pavilion isn’t in great shape, and I keep thinking a small awareness and fund-raising campaign wouldn’t be out of order.  This is one of those monuments that is off the radar for most folks, and it’s a moment of late-modernist structural exuberance that deserves a bit of recognition.  The fact that it’s at the top of a half-mile hill also makes it a good spot to take a running break.  Literally breathtaking.