Fabiola López-Durán

Adopting a transnational and interdisciplinary perspective, Fabiola López-Durán’s research and teaching focuses on the history and theory of modern and contemporary European and Latin American art and architecture. Her new book, Eugenics in the Garden: Architecture, Medicine and Landscape from France to Latin America in the Early Twentieth Century, investigates a particular strain of eugenics that, at the turn of the twentieth century, moved from the realms of medicine and law to design, architecture, and urban planning—becoming a critical instrument in the crafting of modernity. Her work analyzes the cross-pollination of ideas and mediums—science, politics and aesthetics—that informed the process of modernization on both sides of the Atlantic, with an emphasis on Latin America.

Originally trained as an architect, López-Durán earned her Ph.D in the History, Theory, and Criticism of Architecture and Art from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Prior to joining the Rice University faculty, she was the 2009-2011 Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities at the Department of History of Art at University of California-Berkeley. Her awards include fellowships from the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, Dedalus Foundation, CLIR, Harvard Center for European Studies, Camargo Foundation, Samuel H. Kress Foundation and the Fulbright Program. She has more recently been recognized by the Society of Architectural Historians with a SAH/Mellon Author Award for her 2018 book, Eugenics in the Garden. Her work has been published in Europe, Asia, South America and the United States.


Dutta, Arindam, Ateya Khorakiwala, Ayala Levin, Ijlal Muzaffar, and Fabiola López-Durán, eds. Architecture in Development: Systems and the Emergence of the Global South. London (UK): Routledge, forthcoming 2022

Eugenics in the Garden: Transatlantic Architecture and the Crafting of Modernity (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2018)

Felice Varini: Points of View, Contributor with author Felice Varini (Zurich: Lars Müller Publishers, 2004)

Selected Articles and Essays

“A Clinical Landscape: Crafting the Healthy (Re)Productive Body in Modern Argentina.” In Landscapes for Sport: Histories of Physical Exercise, Sport, and Health (Dumbarton Oaks / Harvard University Press), edited by Sonja Dümpelmann, forthcoming 2022.

“Architectural Modernism and Its Discontents: Brazil and Beyond.” In A Companion to Modern and Contemporary Latin American & Latino Art (Blackwell Companions to Art History Series), edited by Alejandro Anreus, Robin Greeley, Megan Sullivan. Oxford: Blackwell, 2021.

“Meat-Milieu: Medicalization, Aestheticization and Productivity in Buenos Aires and its Pampas, 1868-1950.” Urban History, vol. 45. (2018): 253-274. With Nikki Moore.

“Sobre o Fragmento” in Cárceres a duas vozes: Giovanni Battista Piranesi e Ana Maria Tavares. Edited by Jorge Schwartz. São Paulo: Museu Laser Segal, 2017, 50-67. With Philip Kelleher

“From France to Brazil and Back: Le Corbusier, Nature and the Ideal Human Type, 1925-1946.” In Across Time and Space: The Politics of Architecture and Modernity, edited by Patrick Haughey. New Brunswick/London: Transaction Publishers, 2016, 159-174. With Nikki Moore.

"Utopía en práctica: eugenesia y naturaleza en la construcción de ciudad moderna latinoamericana," in Utopías urbanas: geopolíticas del deseo en América Latina, ed. by Gisela Heffes (Madrid, Spain/Frankfurt, Germany: Vervuert Verlag, 2013). [Spanish Edition]

"Justification A Priori: Science and Aesthetics in the Work of Gustavo Diaz" (with Julie Knutson) in Justification A Priori: Science and Aesthetics in the Work of Gustavo Diaz. Exhibition Catalogue. Chicago: The Mission, 2012.

López-Durán, Fabiola. “La machine, le fossile et le jardin: identité et mimétisme dans l’architecture d’Hérault-Arnod.” In Nature, Corp, Peau: Architectures de Hérault-Arnod, edited by Isabel Hérault. Paris, France: Editions Norma, 2010, 216-233.

"Ut-opiates: Rethinking Nature" (with Nikki Moore), Architectural Design, vol. 80, no.6. (November-December 2010).

"La machine, le fossile et le jardin: identité et mimétisme dans l'architecture d'Hérault-Arnod" in Nature, Body, Skin; Architectures by Hérault-Arnod, ed. by Isabel Hérault (Paris, France: Editions Norma, 2010) [French and English Edition]

"The Machine, the Fossil, and the Garden: Identity and Mimicry in the Architecture of Hérault-Arnod" in Nature, Body, Skin; Architectures by Hérault-Arnod. ed. by Isabel Hérault (Dalian, China: A&J International Design Media Limited, 2009) [Chinese and English Edition].

FV. au 18 Rue Antoine Bourdelle (with Nikki Moore). Exhibition Catalogue. Paris, France: Editions Paris-Musées, 2006 [French Edition].

Felice Varini. Points of View. Baden, Switzerland: Lars Müller Publishers, 2004. (English Edition) Also published as López-Durán, Fabiola. Felice Varini. Points de Vue. Baden, Switzerland: Lars Müller Publishers, 2004. (French Edition)

"La Seducción de la Polaridad" in Lo Optico y lo Háptico. Obras y proyectos de Enrique Larrañaga y Vilma Obadía. Exhibition Catalogue (Caracas: Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Caracas Sofía Imber, 1998).

"Metropólis" (with Lorenzo Gonzalez Casas), Edificar, no. 4-5, Mérida: CEHAAV-Universidad de los Andes, 1999.

"Hábitos de Museos: El Palacio Federal Legislativo" (with Nydia Gutierrez), Edificar No.2, Mérida: CEHAAV-Universidad de los Andes, 1997.

Construir con Tierra: Manual de autogestión para la construcción de viviendas en el Estado Miranda (with Luis Alfonso López). Los Teques: Fundación para el Desarrollo Social / IVI, 1997.

"Un lugar, cuatro arquitectos," "Cuatro temas para cuatro maneras de hacer arquitectura" and seven catalogue entries in Fabiola López-Durán (ed.), Un Lugar, Cuatro Arquitectos (Caracas: Pro Helvetia-Arts Council of Switzerland - Fundación Museo de Bellas Artes, 1995).

Research Areas

Modern and contemporary Latin American art and architecture; Art and architectural networks between Latin Europe and Latin America; The Global South; Theories of architecture and urbanism; Ecology and race; Discourses and narratives of nature; Intersections of science, architecture and politics.


Ph.D. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

B.Arch. Universidad de Los Andes, Merida, Venezuela

Honors & Awards

2020 - Race and Anti-Racism Research Fund Award for “The Racial Geography Project.” Rice University’s Task Force on Slavery, Segregation and Racial Injustice [Lead Pl: Fabiola López-Durán], 2020-2022.

2019 - The Robert Motherwell Book Prize, Outstanding Book on Modernism in the Arts, by The Dedalus Foundation, for the book Eugenics in the Garden: Transatlantic Architecture and the Crafting of Modernity (University of Texas Press, 2018).

2018 - Faculty Teaching and Mentoring Award, given by the Graduate Students Association (Co-winner with Professor Ashutosh Sabharwal, School of Engineering)

2017 - SAH-Mellon Author Award, given by the Society of Architectural Historians and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for the book Eugenics in the Garden: Transatlantic Architecture and the Crafting of Modernity (University of Texas Press, 2018).

2015 - Sophia Meyer Farb - Phi Beta Kappa Distinguished Teaching Award (Winner)

2014 - Sophia Meyer Farb - Phi Beta Kappa Distinguished Teaching Award (Finalist)

2013 - Humanities Research Center Faculty Fellowship. Rice University.

2009-2011 - Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Humanities. University of California-Berkeley.

2009 - Mellon/ACLS Recent Doctoral Recipients Fellowship (Declined)

2008-2009 - Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship. The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation.

2008-2009 - Dedalus Foundation Dissertation Award (Modern Art and Modernism)

2008 - Samuel H. Kress Foundation Travel Fellowship in the History of Art

2007-2008 - CLIR Mellon Dissertation Fellowship for Research in Original Sources

2008 - The Camargo Foundation Fellowship. Cassis, France.

2008 - The MIT-France Fellowship, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

2007 - The Harvard Center for European Studies Graduate Grant, Harvard University.

2007 - The Schlossman Research Award 2007. Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

2006 - The MIT Royal Fund. Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

2005 - Hyzen Travel Grant. Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

2004 - CCA Canadian Center for Architecture Research Fellowship

2002-2004 - Fulbright Fellowship


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