Evidence + Narrative in Architectural History

The Evidence + Narrative project explores two interrelated practices of architectural history: choosing evidence with which to make arguments, and developing structures for telling stories. The project aims to seed a conversation on writing history that will help the field become more self-conscious and innovative about its uses of evidence and narrative.

In architectural history, what is evidence for architecture, in material, documents, and experience? What do we make architecture evidence of, through narrative forms and other means? And how does architectural history’s deployments of evidence and narrative relate to other fields in the humanities, arts, social sciences, and professions?

Ultimately, reconsideration of evidence and narrative can help develop the field—employing new evidence, testing different narrative strategies, and reimagining other agencies for ourselves as scholars, teachers, readers, and students.

The Evidence + Narrative project first organized a session at the 2017 Society of Architectural Historians annual conference; then sponsored a panel at the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial; published a Field Note essay in the December 2017 Journal of Society of Architectural Historians; organized a 2018 symposium and workshop at Boston University; and convened a 2018 workshop at the Clark Art Institute. These efforts resulted in 2021 with the publication of Aggregate’s Writing Architectural History: Evidence and Narrative in the Twenty-First Century (University of Pittsburgh Press), a collected volume of twenty chapters, plus introductory essay, intended for architectural historians, graduate students, and all those interested in new histories of architecture, and in issues of evidence and narrative.


Lucia Allais, Shiben Banerji, Ross Barrett, Doron Bauer, Amy Brodeur, Gülru Çakmak, Erik Carver, Jill H. Casid, Arianne Chernock, Ed Eigen, Michael Golec, Jia Yi Gu, Lisa Haber-Thomson, Dianne Harris, Sarah Hearne, Andrew Herscher, Michael Ann Holly, Timothy Hyde, Janna Israel, Lauren Jacobi, Paul B. Jaskot, Pamela Karimi, Roy Kozlovsky, Ayala Levin, Jonathan Massey, Forrest Meggers, Peter Minosh, Keith Moxey, Ijlal Muzaffar, Albert Narath, Alona Nitzan-Shiftan, Daria Ricchi, Laila Seewang, Julian Serna, Anooradha Iyer Siddiqi, Lukasz Stanek, Meredith TenHoor, Ivo van der Graaff, Alla Vronskaya, Claire Zimmerman

Related Events and Writings

  • Michael Osman and Daniel M. Abramson, “Evidence and Narrative,” Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 76, no. 4 (December 2017)
  • Session, Society of Architectural Historians Annual Conference, Glasgow, 2017
  • Panel and Workshop, Chicago Architecture Biennial @ School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 2017
  • Symposium and Workshop, Boston University, 2018
  • Workshop, Clark Art Institute, 2018
  • Daniel M. Abramson, Zeynep Çelik Alexander, and Michael Osman, “Evidence, Narrative, and Writing Architectural History,” Dialogue & New Directions no. 2 (June 2021)

For more information about the Evidence + Narrative project contact Daniel M. Abramson, Zeynep Çelik Alexander, Michael Osman