Fares El-Dahdah

WEBSITE(S)| Personal Site | Spatial Studies Lab

Farès el-Dahdah received his undergraduate degrees in both fine arts and architecture from the Rhode Island School of Design and went on to pursue his graduate studies in urbanism and architectural theory at Harvard University's Graduate School of Design. Following a two decade long professorial track at Rice University's School of Architecture, he was appointed director of the Humanities Research Center (HRC) in 2012, Professor of the Humanities in 2014, and Professor of Art History in 2021. El-Dahdah has been a Visiting Fellow at the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies and the Canadian Center for Architecture. He has written extensively on Brazil's modern architecture and has been involved in several collaborative projects with Casa de Lucio Costa and Fundação Oscar Niemeyer, two Brazilian cultural foundations on the boards of which he serves. He is currently leading a Digital Art History Grant, titled Situated Views of Rio de Janeiro: 19th and Early 20th-Century Photography and the Diluvial Houston initiative, both supported by the Getty and Andrew W. Mellon Foundations, respectively. His current research interests explore and critique how digital platforms uphold the mission of disseminating knowledge and in the Spatial Studies Lab he runs, he is creating online geospatial platforms in the areas of cultural heritage, public health, social justice, disaster recovery, and climate change. At Rice, el-Dahdah's activities extend across the university in his capacity as co-chair of the University Committee on Information Technology, a Baker Institute Faculty Scholar, and a Faculty Advisory Committee member of the Ken Kennedy and Kinder Institutes.

Selected Research Projects:

imagineRio / imaginerio.org
A searchable digital atlas that illustrates the social and urban evolution of Rio de Janeiro, as it existed and as it was imagined. [w/ Alida Metcalf and Axis Maps]

pilotPlan / spatialstudieslab.rice.edu/spacetime/pilotPlan
A searchable digital atlas that illustrates the urban and architectural evolution of Brasilia, as it existed and as it was imagined. [w/ Axis Maps]

Highways Waterways / spatialstudieslab.rice.edu/houstonproject/highwayswaterways
A cartographic platform that charts the entire urban history of Houston as well as its susceptibility to flooding and other environmental events. [w/ Kathy Ensor, Melissa Kean, and Axis Maps]

instituteRice / instituterice.rice.edu
An online mapping platform that illustrates the evolution of the Rice University campus, as it existed as well as it has often been imagined. [w/ Melissa Kean and Axis Maps]

levantCarta / spatialstudieslab.rice.edu/levantcarta
An online community dedicated to the development of cartographic platforms that will bring together scholarly networks and enable the production of temporally accurate and illustrated maps of Levantine cities, over their entire history as well as across their social, cultural, and religious diversity. [w/ Axis Maps]

Selected Publications:

“Relocating Brazil’s Capital Inland. “In The Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Latin American History. Ed. Guillermo Palacios. New York: Oxford University Press, 2021. DOI: 10.1093/acrefore/9780199366439.013.847.

Guia da Arquitetura do Rio de Janeiro. Rio de Janeiro: Bazar do Tempo, 2016. [w/ Cláudia Brack, Carlos Eduardo Comas, Cláudia Carvalho, Gustavo Rocha Peixoto, Marcos Moraes de Sá, Maria Helena Salomão, Mozart Vitor Serra]

"Leisure and Pleasure: an interview with Farés el-Dahdah." Brownbook: Oscar Niemeyer in Abu Dhabi, no. 1 (2015): 66-69.

“Burlesque Beds.” Macguffin: The Bed, no. 1 (2015): 128-139.

“Teórico, preservacionista e arquiteto: Lucio Costa o ‘antropófago’. “ In Sobre a Obra de Lucio Costa, Textos Selecionados, edited by Anna Paula Canez and Samuel Brito, 71-114. Porto Alegre: Editora UniRitter, 2015.

“Paradoxical Infrastructures: Ruins, Retrofit, and Risk.” In Science, Technology & Human Values. Vol. 41, #3 (December 23, 2015): 547-565 [w/ C. Howe, J. Lockrem, H. Appel, E. Hackett, D. Boyer, R. Hall, M. Schneider-Mayerson, A. Pope, A. Gupta, E. Rodwell, A. Ballestero, T. Durbin, E. Long, and C. Mody]


Research Areas

Architecture and Urbanism in Brazil; Digital Art History


Doctor of Design Studies, Harvard University ('92)

Master of Architecture in Urban Design, Harvard University ('89)

Bachelor of Architecture, Rhode Island School of Design ('87)

Bachelor of Fine Arts, Rhode Island School of Design ('86)

Honors & Awards

Rice University: Race and Anti-Racism Research Fund: Black Life in Houston: An Atlas of Racial Inequity, Displacement, and Integration, 2020-22

Getty Foundation: Digital Art History Grant: Situated Views of Rio de Janeiro: 19th and Early 20th-Century Photography and Temporal Cartography, 2018-21 [Lead PI w/ Sergio Burgi, David Heyman, Alida Metcalf, and Lisa Spiro]

Andrew W. Mellon Foundation: Grant: Diluvial Houston: Rescued Histories, Engaged Humanities, and Imagined Futures, 2019-24 [Lead PI, w/ Melissa Bailar, Joe Campana, Kathleen Canning]

Andrew W. Mellon Foundation: Grant: Public Humanities/Post-Harvey, 2018-21 [Lead PI, w/ Melissa Bailar]

Andrew W. Mellon Foundation: Grant: Spatial Humanities Initiative, 2016-21[Lead PI, w/ Melissa Bailar]

Andrew W. Mellon Foundation: Grant: Public Humanities Initiative, 2014-18 [Lead PI, w/ Melissa Bailar]

Andrew W. Mellon Foundation: Grant: John E. Sawyer Seminar on the Comparative Study of Cultures: Platforms of Knowledge in a Wide Web of Worlds: Production, Participation, and Politics, 2014-15 [Lead PI, w/ Melissa Bailar and Lisa Spiro]

Harvard University: Fellowship: Cisneros Visiting Scholar at the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies: Portraits of Rio de Janeiro, 2011-12


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