Dr Davide Deriu

As a Reader in Architectural History and Theory, I'm involved in a number of research, teaching, writing, and curating activities. I'm co-convenor of the Architectural Humanities Research Group, having previously served as Director of Architectural Research and School’s Assistant Research Director. I also sat on the editorial board of the University of Westminster Press. Before joining Westminster, I taught at architecture schools in the UK (Brighton, Canterbury, UCL) and Turkey (METU). My studies were at Politecnico di Torino and The Bartlett, UCL, where I took a Master in History of Modern Architecture (distinction) and a PhD in Architecture. I hold a PG Cert in Higher Education from the Westminster Business School (distinction) and am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

I’ve been awarded several research grants (AHRC; British Academy; Canadian Centre for Architecture; Yale University’s Paul Mellon Centre; Wellcome Trust) and my work is published in a number of books and journals in five languages. Previous external roles include PhD examiner at UCL and Kingston University, and MRes thesis assessor at the University of Brighton. I’ve also been a Visiting Professor at Iuav University of Venice and at the University of Cagliari. In addition, I sat on the Steering Group of the Architectural Humanities Research Association (AHRA) and was a Committee member of the European Architectural History Network (EAHN). As EAHN editorial assistant, I contributed to found the open access journal Architectural Histories.

My interests range from urban representations to the embodied experience of space, and I have a keen interest in interdisciplinary research. 

I welcome PhD applications from students who have interests in the architectural humanities. Doctoral proposals in the following areas are especially welcome: 20th-century architectural history/theory; modernity and modernism; perception, experience and representation of space; photography and visual culture.


Vertigo in the City

This cross-disciplinary project explores issues of balance in relation to the experience of architecture and urban environments. It involves collaborations with various partners including at the University of Applied Arts Vienna. Its exploratory phase, funded by a Wellcome Trust small grant in the Medical Humanities, culminated in a symposium that brought together scholars and practitioners from a range of sciences, arts and humanities (2015). Selected papers were published in a special issue of Emotion, Space and Society.

Currently I’m preparing a monograph on architecture and vertigo supported by a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship. As part of this project, I curated with Michael Mazière an exhibition of architectural film installations by the artist Catherine Yass, Falling Awaywhich took place in Ambika P3 (22 October – 20 November 2021).

Further information and materials on the project website.

Photography and Architecture

I’ve done extensive research on the relationship between photography and the built environment, focusing in particular on issues of scale, perception, and politics of representation. My first project examined the emergence of aerial photography and its impact on urban visions in the early 20th century. A Post-Doctoral Fellowship from the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art enabled me to carry out research that led to a themed issue of The London Journal on ‘Aerial Views of Metropolitan London’.

Subsequently, my focus shifted to the relationship between photography and the architectural model. After a Visiting Scholarship at the CCA Study Centre, I curated the model/photography exhibition Modernism in Miniature: Points of View (CCA, 2011). Later, I returned to the CCA as a Mellon Fellow on the multidisciplinary research programme Architecture and/for Photography (2016/17).

A further research strand concerns the socio-spatial aspects of urban landscape photography. In 2012 I co-organised a major cross-disciplinary conference that led to the book Emerging Landscapes: Between Production and Representation (Ashgate, 2014). This prompted me to explore the photographic work of Gabriele Basilico, whose influential practice was the subject of a seminar we held at Westminster in 2016.

At present, I’m co-editing a volume on the photo-book and the city.

Picturing Modern Ankara

My project, ‘Picturing Modern Ankara: “New Turkey” in Western Imagination’, explored the cross-cultural perceptions of modern Ankara during the early period of the Turkish Republic. Funded through an AHRC Early-Career Fellowship (2011/12), the project led to several publications and to an international symposium organised in collaboration with SOAS: The Making of Modern Ankara: Space, Politics, Representations

  • Architectural Humanities

In brief

Research areas

Modern and contemporary architecture , Visual culture/media and Urban experience and representation

Skills / expertise

Historical/critical analysis, Interdisciplinary research and Curating

Supervision interests

Architectural history and theory (C20/21), Visual representations of architecture / cities, Urban experience , Production of space and Travel cultures