CFP for session at EAHN: "Architectures of Waiting in the City"

Henriette Steiner Announcement
Subject Fields
Architecture and Architectural History, European History / Studies

Call for Papers

I am deligthed to announce the following call for papers for the session entitled Architectures of Waiting in the City at the 2016 EAHN (European Architectural History Network) conference in Dublin, 2-4 June 2016. Please find the full conference call here:

Please submit abstracts of no more than 300 words by 30 September to (please indicate the name of the session).

Architectures of Waiting in the City

Visual representations of contemporary urban milieus commonly suggest precise or uninterrupted activity: People move unhindered in and out of buildings and vehicles pass smoothly through the city. However, we must acknowledge that as everyday users of the city, our activities are often punctuated by intermissions, halts, interruptions and delays. In fact, a significant amount of our time in the city is spent doing very little – simply waiting.

In contemporary culture, the places where we tend to wait are frequently pigeonholed as neutral or even unremarkable spaces; interstitial settings that are patently functional but devoid of wider consequence and meaning. Despite being a modality of participation in urban life, waiting or loitering is seen as a negative that contrasts with more active, goal-oriented activities. This session presents an opportunity to reappraise the significance of urban architectures of waiting. In doing so, it will also uncover how the phenomenon of waiting is fundamental to how we negotiate not just individual buildings or architectural settings but also the wider urban realm. More often than not, places of waiting are important thresholds, liminal spaces that communicate between two or more different locations or activities. The session proposes to explore the intricate relationships between waiting as an urban praxis – something people incontrovertibly do in the city – and the urban places or architectures of waiting that support it. It thereby will cast new light on a phenomenon that we know all too well, but whose significance as an explicitly urban phenomenon remains unexplored.

We seek innovative proposals that examine not only well-known typologies of the modern or contemporary city, such as airport departure lounges and the waiting rooms of railway or bus stations, but also atypical or improvised settings that have, for one reason or another, become spaces of waiting – what, for instance, Jeremy Till refers to as ‘slack space’ (Architecture Depends, MIT Press, 2009). A case in point is the main entrance of Trinity College Dublin where a covered archway serves as a prominent and very public waiting place in the heart of the city. But the history of architecture provides a much larger body of material that deserves interpretation, and therefore we welcome proposals from broad chronological as well as geographical contexts. For example, papers might deal with one of the sophisticated places for waiting in a pre- or early- modern city, such as the colonnaded stoas that bordered the ancient Athenian Agora, or the loggia of the Ospedale degli Innocenti of Renaissance Florence. They may also equally consider something like the lobby and plaza of the modernist Seagram Building in New York City or the main entrance lobby of Adler and Sullivan’s Auditorium Building in Chicago or contemporary examples.

Chair: Henriette Steiner, Associate Professor, Section for Landscape Architecture and Planning, University of Copenhagen  

Contact Information
 Henriette Steiner
Associate Professor

Section for Landscape Architecture and Planning
Faculty of Science
University of Copenhagen
Rolighedsvej 23
DK-1958 Frederiksberg C

Phone: +45 35 33 10 33
Phone (Reception desk): +45 35 33 15 00
Contact Email