Headshot of Elisa Dainese

Elisa Dainese

Assistant Professor

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, Colonial and Postcolonial Architecture, Indigenous Paradigms and Decolonized Worlds 


Elisa Dainese is a historian and theorist of architecture and urbanism. Her work examines intersections between modern ideas of habitation, constructions of indigeneity, and knowledge production. Her research and teaching examine twentieth and twenty-first century architecture; non-Western modernisms and Indigenous cultures; questions of race, gender, and power in the design disciplines.  

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). 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, Bruno Zevi Foundation, CCA, SSHRC, GAHTC, the Graham Foundation, the University of Pisa, and Georgia Tech. 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, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Venice. 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). She has served in research and professional boards, among them she is a member of the Board of Directors of the Society of Architectural Historians. 


SESAH Publication Award, Best Essay in an Edited Volume for the book chapter "Postwar Connections and Transatlantic Encounters: the Mozambique-Brazil-Portugal Triangle,"  

Mellon Foundation Grant Award for Teacher-to-Teacher Workshop, MIT School of Architecture + Planning and GAHTC, Cambridge, MA (USA). 


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, Staničić, Aleksandar. War Diaries: Design after the Destruction of Art and Architecture (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2022).  

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.

ARCH 2112-6106 History of Architecture II 

ARCH 4823-8823 Architecture and Decolonization  

ARCH 3016 Architecture Studio IV (Junior studio), “Architectures of Diaspora / Architectures of Empowerment”