Lamprakos Honored by Society of Architectural Historians for her Recent Book



Building a World Heritage City praised for its contribution to urban history


Dr. Michele Lamprakos’ book, Building a World Heritage City: Sanaa Yemen, received the 2018 Spiro Kostof Award, Honorable Mention from the Society of Architectural Historians (SAH). She was honored at their 71st annual conference in St. Paul on April 20, along with other award winners and fellows.


The Spiro Kostof Book Award is one of the highest honors conferred by the Society. Established in 1993 in memory of Spiro Kostof, a leading architectural historian, it recognizes “interdisciplinary studies of urban history that make the greatest contribution to our understanding of the growth and development of cities.” Lamprakos’ book is one of only a handful on the Middle East, and the first on urban heritage, to receive this award. 


The Honorable Mention citation reads: “Michele Lamprakos proves that it is possible to write a book about conservation that is also an astute urban history. Her meticulous analysis of conservation efforts in Sanaa examines the period from around 1970 to the 2000s but does so from a perspective that takes into account the longer history of conservation itself, from the discussions of Alois Riegl at the turn of the twentieth century to more recent consideration of issues such as authenticity, cultural relativism, colonialism, and the meaning of the Islamic city. With evidence culled both from archival sources and a rich array of oral testimony, Lamprakos gives voice to local officials, architects, builders, and residents. Through her attention to their definitions of such contested terms of conservation as ‘tradition’ and ‘modernity’ she produces a subtly delineated account of the multifarious processes at work in shaping urban form. Her case studies enable us to reconsider and challenge assumptions about the relationships between development and conservation, representations of the past and contemporary practice, everyday life and professionalism.”


To learn more about the SAH Publication Awards, visit their website.

Posted on April 26, 2018 by Maggie Haslam