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Mercedes Volait


New Texts Out Now: ABE Journal: Architecture Beyond Europe

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Jadaliyya (J): What made you start the journal Architecture Beyond Europe, and who are the scholars involved in its editorial work? Mercedes Volait (MV): Several related concerns prompted the launch of the journal in 2012. One is that modern architecture outside the West features poorly in the literature devoted to architectural history, and when it does surface, it is principally for the conspicuous global starchitecture of the last decades or for colonial icons, as if ...

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Mercedes Volait


Mercedes Volait is CNRS Research professor at INHA (Institut national d’histoire de l’art, Paris) and heads its digital research unit on architecture, antiquarianism, and applied arts in the modern Mediterranean. Her education has been in architecture, Middle Eastern studies, and art history. She is currently interested in issues of patronage, materiality, and consumption in connection with the production of Mamluk-style architecture and design in nineteenth-century Cairo. Her earlier work dealt with the rise of modern Egyptian architecture in the twentieth century (Architectes et architectures de l’Egypte moderne (1820-1950), genèse et essor d’une expertise technique locale, Paris, 2005). Her recent publications include Fous du Caire [Crazy about Cairo: Eccentrics, Architects, and Art Lovers in Egypt (1867-1914)] (2009), and Maisons de France au Caire [French Diplomatic Architecture in Cairo: Reusing Mamluk and Ottoman Fragments in Modern Buildings] (2012). She has received fellowships and awards from the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at Harvard and the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery, Washington, DC, among others. She is the current editor of the digital journal ABE -Architecture beyond Europe.