Vittoria Di Palma

Associate Professor

Modern European Architecture and Design
Ph.D., Columbia University, 1999

Contact Information

On leave
Phone: (212) 854-4503
Office: 905 Schermerhorn Hall


Vittoria Di Palma specializes in modern European architectural history and theory, with a particular concentration on eighteenth-century architecture and landscape. Her research focuses on connections between landscape and epistemology; ideas of the natural and the artificial; and, more broadly, brings art historical issues to bear upon architectural history, examining the ways in which visuality, aesthetics, and perception inform our understanding of buildings and environments.

After receiving her Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1999, she spent 1999-2003 at the Architectural Association, London, where she was co-director of the Histories and Theories of Architecture graduate program. She then taught at Rice University in Houston, before returning to Columbia to join the faculty in 2004.

Vittoria Di Palma teaches courses on eighteenth-century French architecture and theory, eighteenth-century British landscape theory and design, theories of ornament, contemporary landscape, and the undergraduate history of architecture surveys: "Architecture 1750-1890" and "Twentieth-Century Architecture and City Planning".

Recent publications include Intimate Metropolis: Urban Subjects in the Modern City (Routledge: 2009), an edited volume analyzing intersections between public and private in the modern city, and its chapter "Zoom: Google Earth and Global Intimacy"; "Flow: Rivers, Routes, Roads, and Cartographies of Leisure," a chapter in Routes, Roads and Landscapes: Aesthetic Practices En Route 1750-2015 (Ashgate: 2011); and an essay on architecture and artifice: "Blurs, Blots, and Clouds: Architecture and the Dissolution of the Surface" (AA Files 54).

Two current book projects explore intersections between the history of science, ideas of nature, aesthetics, and garden design: Wasteland, a cultural history of desolate, abandoned landscapes that traces attitudes toward dereliction from the seventeenth century to the post-industrial present; and Fragmented Landscapes, a study of empiricism and aesthetics in eighteenth-century British landscape design.

Selected Publications

Intimate Metropolis: Urban Subjects in the Modern City, edited by Vittoria Di Palma, Diana Periton, and Marina Lathouri (Routledge: 2009)

"Zoom: Google Earth and Global Intimacy," Intimate Metropolis: Urban Subjects in the Modern City, edited by Vittoria Di Palma, Diana Periton, and Marina Lathouri (Routledge: 2009): 239-270

"Architecture and the Organic Metaphor," Journal of Architecture 11:4 (September 2006), guest edited by Vittoria Di Palma and Diana Periton

"Blurs, Blots, and Clouds: Architecture and the Dissolution of the Surface," AA Files 54 (Summer 2006): 34-45

"Fragmentation, Multiplication, Permutation: Natural Histories and Sylvan Aesthetics from Bacon to Evelyn", Fragments: Architecture and the Unfinished. Essays in Honor of Robin Middleton, edited by Barry Bergdoll and Werner Oechslin (London: Thames and Hudson, 2006): 233-244

"Drinking Cider in Paradise: Science, Improvement, and the Politics of Fruit Trees," A Pleasing Sinne: Drink and Conviviality in Early Modern England, edited by Adam Smyth (Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer: 2004): 161-177

"Architecture, Environment, and Emotion: Quatremère de Quincy and the Concept of Character", AA Files 47 (September 2002): 45-56