Society of Architectural Historians to Host 70th Annual International Conference in Glasgow

Society of Architectural Historians to Host 70th Annual International Conference in Glasgow

by Helena Dean

The Society of Architectural Historians (SAH) will hold its 70th Annual International Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, from June 7-11, 2017, marking the first time SAH has met outside North America since 1973. An estimated 600 historians, architects, preservationists, and museum professionals from around the world will convene to present new research on the history of the built environment at the University of Strathclyde's Technology & Innovation Centre. The conference program will feature paper sessions, keynote talks, roundtables, social receptions, and public events including architecture tours in and around Glasgow and a seminar on heritage and sustainability.

On Wednesday, June 7, the Glasgow School of Art will offer a day-long pre-conference seminar, "Mackintosh: Materials and Materiality," in the School's Reid Building. The seminar will focus on several major projects underway to restore and/or reconstruct Mackintosh buildings. It will present new research on the materials that Mackintosh used in his work and the conservation challenges they present today. The keynote speaker will be Pamela Robertson, Professor Emerita and Honorary Professional Research Fellow, University of Glasgow.

The conference will officially open on Wednesday evening, June 7, with a civic reception hosted by Glasgow's Lord Provost at the City Chambers. Following the reception, Brian Park, founding director of PagePark Architects, will deliver the introductory address, "The Architects Who Made Glasgow," providing conference attendees with an overview of Glasgow's rich architectural heritage and important architects.

The conference's 36 paper sessions will take place on Thursday and Friday and address a wide range of built environment themes, geographic locations and time periods. Sessions covering Scottish topics include "Landscape and Garden Exchanges between Scotland and America" and "'A Narrow Place': Architecture and the Scottish Diaspora."

On Thursday, June 8, SAH will present its publication awards and recognize its members' achievements during the annual awards ceremony. Following the ceremony, Kathleen James-Chakraborty of University College Dublin will deliver the plenary talk "Architecture, its Histories, and their Audiences" at Strathclyde's historic Barony Hall.

SAH will celebrate the close of the conference and important architectural anniversaries with "The Architects' Birthday Party" on Saturday, June 10, at Glasgow Botanic Gardens' Kibble Palace. The conference-fittingly enough-opens on the 149th birthday of famed Glaswegian architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh, June 7. This year also marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Glasgow's other architectural giant, Alexander 'Greek' Thomson, as well as the 150th anniversary of Frank Lloyd Wright's birth, on June 8.

Thirty-three tours of architecture and landscapes in and around Glasgow are scheduled throughout the duration of the conference. Led by local historians, architects and other heritage experts, the tours will explore everything from Glasgow's Victorian West End to Merchant City, from Scotland's vernacular cottages to its famed castles, the works of Glasgow's great architects Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Alexander 'Greek' Thomson, as well as the UNESCO World Heritage sites of New Lanark and Edinburgh's Old and New Towns. All tours are open to the public.

On Saturday, June 10, SAH will present a public half-day seminar on heritage and sustainability in Glasgow at Mackintosh's Queen's Cross Church. The SAH Glasgow Seminar, "Making and Re-Making Glasgow: Heritage and Sustainability," will begin with three case studies that discuss Glasgow as a city of innovative housing; a city of parks, gardens, and other open spaces; and a riverside city, taking its livelihood and identity from its use and imagining of the River Clyde. A screening of Chris Leslie's short film (Re)Imagining Glasgow, commissioned for Scotland's 2016 Festival of Architecture, will follow, and a panel discussion will close the program.

Society of Architectural Historians

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