Elisa Dainese

Assistant Professor


Doctor of Philosophy in Architecture, IUAV University of Venice (Italy), 2012
Master of Architecture in Architecture and Sustainability, IUAV University of Venice (Italy), 2008
Bachelor of Architecture, IUAV University of Venice (Italy), 2005


Critical Reflections on Architectural History and Theory, Modern and Postcolonial Architecture, Indigenous Paradigms and Decolonized Worlds, Architecture and Urban Design in Africa, Europe, and North America


Elisa Dainese specializes in postwar architecture, urban design and knowledge production with a focus on the exchanges between Africa, Europe, and North America. Her research and teaching investigate questions of epistemic diversity in twentieth and twenty-first century architecture and urbanism; non-western modernisms and indigenous traditions; concepts of race, gender and power in the design disciplines; postcolonial theories and decolonial practices. 

Dainese is currently completing a publication on the key role that sub-Saharan traditions played in the historical and conceptual refashioning of modern European and North American architecture from the 1940s to the 1970s. Her book projects also include the manuscript entitled War Diaries: Design after the Destruction of Art and Architecture (co-editor, University of Virginia Press, 2022) and the edited collection Women in Architecture: The African Exchange, which is currently under development. She is also the author of articles and essays in Bauhaus (Dec 2020), Thresholds (Spring 2020), the Journal of Architecture (June 2019), e-flux (Apr 2019) and the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians (Dec 2015). 

Dainese’s research has received grants, fellowships, and awards from Columbia University (Italian Academy of Advanced Studies in America, 2016-17), the Bruno Zevi Foundation (Bruno Zevi Prize for historical-critical essays, 2017), the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA, 2018), the SSHRC Explore Grant Program at Dalhousie University (2018), the Mellon Foundation funded Global History of Architecture Teaching Collaborative (MIT, School of Architecture + Planning, 2017-19), the Graham Foundation (2019-21), and the University of Pisa (2021). In 2013-16, she was the recipient of a three-year Marie Curie International fellowship funded by the EU and developed in connection with Harvard University (Department of African and African American Studies), the University of Pennsylvania (History of Art Department), and the University of Venice (IUAV, Faculty of Architecture). She has participated in numerous international conferences and served as an organizing team member of both the Venice Biennale of Architecture (2010), IUAV AFRICA - Rwanda Pavilion, and of the Milan Triennale of Architecture (2013).


University of Pisa Visiting Fellowship for 2021, University of Pisa, Pisa (Italy).


Graham Foundation Grant to Individuals. Title of the project: “War Diaries: Design after the Destruction of Art and Architecture.” 


Bruno Zevi Prize for a Historical/Critical Essay in Architecture, Bruno Zevi Foundation, Rome (Italy).

SSHRC Explore Grant, Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Halifax, NS (Canada).


Mellon Foundation Grant Award, MIT School of Architecture + Planning and Global Architectural History Teaching Collaborative (GAHTC), Cambridge (USA).

Centre Canadien d’Architecture Visiting Program 2018, CCA, Montreal (Quebec, Canada). 


Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America Fellowship, Columbia University, New York (USA).


Opler Grant for Emerging Scholars, Society of Architectural Historians (SAH) (USA).


Marie Curie International Outgoing Fellowship, European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013), REA grant agreement no. PIOF-GA-2012-317261.

Dainese Elisa, “The Relocation of the Indigenous Community of South Indian Lake (1966-68): For an Alternative and Shared Inhabitation of Modern Architectural HistoryThresholds 48, Special Issue on Kin (Spring, 2020): 90-105.

Dainese Elisa, “From the Functional City to the African Village”, Bauhaus 12, Special Issue on Habitat (Dec 2020): Foundation Bauhaus Dessau (in English and German).

Dainese Elisa, “Protest Movements and University Curricula: Fascinations and Epistemological Research” in Anne Debarre, Caroline Maniaque, Éléonore Marantz and Jean-Louis Violeau (eds.), Architecture 68. International Panorama of the Renewal of Education (Geneva, CH: Metis Presses, 2020), 161-172 (in English and French). 

Dainese Elisa, “Against a Theory of Walls: On Architectural Criticism and Decolonization” in Joseph Bedford (ed.), Theory's Curriculum (The Architecture Exchange Press, 2020), 85-97. 

Dainese Elisa, “From the Charter of Athens to the ‘Habitat’: CIAM 9 and the African Grids”, Journal of Architecture, vol. 24 no.3, (June 2019): 301-324. 

Dainese Elisa, The Construction of the Charter of ‘Habitat’: From the Functional City to the African Village / La Costruzione della Carta dell’Habitat: Dalla Città Funzionale al Villaggio Africano (Rome: Bruno Zevi Foundation, 2018) (in English/Italian).

Dainese Elisa, Ginger Nolan and Bryan Norwood, “Architecture Unbound”, e-flux Architecture Series, special issue, Theory’s Curriculum (2019), https://www.e-flux.com/architecture/curriculum/260414/architecture-unbound/

Dainese Elisa, “African Design and CIAM Expansion After the Charter of Athens” in Silva, Carlos Nunes (ed.), Routledge Handbook of Urban Planning in Africa (London/New York: Routledge, 2019), 177-192.

Dainese Elisa, “Histories of Exchange: Indigenous South Africa in the South African Architectural Record and the Architectural Review”, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Special Issue on Global Postwar Architecture, vol.74 no.4, (Dec 2015): 443-463.