Publication

  • Imagining the Modern: Postwar Urbanism and Architecture in Pittsburgh
    Rami el Samahy, Chris Grimley, and Michael Kubo
    Authors
    The Monacelli Press, 2019
  • GRANTEE
    Rami el Samahy, Chris Grimley & Michael Kubo
    GRANT YEAR
    2018

The Public Auditorium Authority of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County; Make It Pittsburgh! (brochure). Civic Arena by Mitchell & Ritchey, architect, ca. 1961, Pittsburgh, PA. Courtesy of Carnegie Mellon University Architecture Archives.

In the 1950s and ’60s an ambitious program of urban revitalization transformed Pittsburgh and became a model for other American cities. Politicians, civic leaders, and architects worked together to reconceive the city through local and federal initiatives that aimed to address the problems that confronted Pittsburgh's postwar development. Initiated as an exhibition at the Carnegie Museum of Art in 2014, Imagining the Modern untangles this complicated relationship with modern architecture and planning through a history of Pittsburgh's major sites, protagonists, and voices of intervention. Through original documentation, photographs, and drawings, as well as essays, analytical diagrams, and interviews with participants, the book provides a nuanced view of this crucial moment in Pittsburgh's evolution. Addressing both positive and negative impacts of the era, the book examines what took place during the city's urban renewal era, what was gained and lost, and what these histories might suggest for the city's future.

Rami el Samahy teaches and practices architecture and urban design. He is a cofounder of the multi-disciplinary studio over,under. At over,under he has played a leading role in a range of projects, including large-scale urban developments, cultural and institutional buildings, and exhibit installations, including as co-curator of HACLab Pittsburgh at the Carnegie Museum of Art’s Heinz Architectural Center. His research focuses on urban issues including the contemporary Arab city, the logics of main street retail, and the legacy of urban renewal. His design and research have been recognized by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Upjohn Research Initiative, the Boston Society of Architects, AIA Pennsylvania, and Qatar Foundation. As a professor at Carnegie Mellon's School of Architecture, el Samahy taught a number of studios, including the studio in residence at the HAC. His writing has appeared in ArchitectureBoston, Architectural Design, the University College London's Urban Pamphleteer, and AlManakh 2.

Chris Grimley is a cofounder of over,under, an integrated design practice known for architecture, urban design, graphics, curating, and research. At over,under he is the lead on ArtFarm, a cultural center for the City of Somerville, and is the project director for the office’s work in environmental graphics and wayfinding for Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASSMoCA), Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Department of Urban Planning, and the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. He is one of the authors of Heroic: Concrete Architecture and the New Boston (The Monacelli Press, 2015). The book received a Graham Foundation grant, an achievement award from the Boston Preservation Alliance, and the Advocacy Award for Excellence from docomomo US. His writing has been featured in Harvard Design Magazine, CLOG, ArchitectureBoston, Architect, Volume, and The New City Reader.

Michael Kubo is assistant professor of architectural history and theory at the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture and Design, University of Houston. Kubo was previously the Wyeth Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, National Gallery of Art. He was associate curator for OfficeUS, the US Pavilion at the 2014 International Architecture Biennale in Venice, and is coeditor of OfficeUS: Atlas (Lars Müller Publishers, 2015). He is coauthor of Heroic: Concrete Architecture and the New Boston, along with Mark Pasnik and Chris Grimley. His writing has appeared in publications including the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Journal of Architectural Education, Harvard Design Magazine, Bauhaus Magazine, Architect, Arquine, MAS Context, CLOG, and Volume. He holds a PhD in the history, theory, and criticism of architecture from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an MArch from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design.