Visiting Professor of the Theory of Architecture
Samia Henni
About Us

Prof. Dr. Samia Henni is a historian of the built, destroyed, and imagined environments. She is the author of the multi award-winning book Architecture of Counterrevolution: The French Army in Northern Algeria (Zurich: gta Verlag 2017, EN; Paris: Editions B42, 2019, FR), and the editor of Deserts Are Not Empty (New York: Columbia Books on Architecture and the City, 2022) and War Zones: gta papers 2 (Zurich: gta Verlag, 2018). She is also the maker of exhibitions, such as Performing Colonial Toxicity (Framer Framed, If I Can’t Dance, Amsterdam, 8 October 2023– 14 January 2024); Archives: Secret-Défense? (ifa Gallery, SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin, 2021), Housing Pharmacology (Manifesta 13, Marseille, 2020); and Discreet Violence: Architecture and the French War in Algeria (Zurich, Rotterdam, Berlin, Johannesburg, Paris, Prague, Ithaca, Philadelphia, Charlottesville, 2017–22). She was Albert Hirschman Chair (2020–21) at the Institute of Advanced Study in Marseille, a Visiting Geddes Fellow (Spring 2021) at Edinburgh University’s School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, and a Visiting Professor (Fall 2021) at the University of Zurich’s Institute of Art History.

Henni received her Ph.D. in the history and theory of architecture (with distinction, ETH Medal) from ETH Zurich. She taught at Princeton University, ETH Zurich, The University of Zurich, the Geneva University of Art and Design, and now at Cornell University. She was a member (2020–23) of the Board of Directors of the Society of Architectural Historians and a Tutor at the Biennale College Architecture 2023 at The Venice’s 18th International Architecture Exhibition: The Laboratory of the Future. Henni is currently a member of the editorial boards of: The Journal of Architecture; field: journal; the editorial series Descamino; Tamazgha Studies Journal; and Manazir. She is also a member of the academic board of the African Futures Institute, and the co-chair (with Ralph Ghoche) of Beyond France, the University Seminar at Columbia University.

Currently, Henni is working on the book Colonial Toxicity: Rehearsing French Radioactive Architecture and Landscape in the Sahara (Amsterdam: If I Can’t Dance/ Zurich: edition Fink, 2023). During her visiting professorship at the gta Institute, she will work her new research project that explores the spaces and geographies of colonial psychiatry and psychology. She will also teach two seminars: “Desert Modernism(s)” in the Fall 2023 and “Wars, Cities and the Environment” in the Spring 2024.