Architecture Professors Keith Mitnick and Claire Zimmerman named University of Michigan Institute for the Humanities Fellows

Architecture Professors Keith Mitnick and Claire Zimmerman have been named 2009-10 University of Michigan Institute for the Humanities Fellows. The Institute, founded in 1987, exists with the central function of forming an intellectual community of Faculty and Graduate Student Fellows who spend a year in residence pursuing their research and participating in a cross-disciplinary, non-public weekly seminar. The Michigan Faculty Fellows are chosen by a selection committee of three evaluators from outside the University of Michigan and the Institute’s Executive Committee.

During his fellowship, Keith Mitnick plans to engage in a research project entitled The Architecture of Unseen Things, which will use different forms of written and visual narratives to examine the role of architecture in defining accepted notions of the “normal” and the “everyday”. By overlaying a series of conflicting accounts and representations of a single contested locale, he will consider ways in which seemingly blank and banal buildings infer a false sense of neutrality upon the institutions they accommodate.

Claire Zimmerman will continue writing a book entitled “Photographic Architecture” from Weimar to Cold War: The Case of Mies van der Rohe, which explores architectural representation in the twentieth century, focusing on the translation of information about space, material, and form into two-dimensional images. The book emphasizes the significant role played by photography in the historiography of modern architecture; it also studies the recursive effects of images, which began to alter building form in subtle but far-reaching ways in the post World War II period.