GAHTC had its origins in informal conversations between Mark Jarzombek and Vikramaditya Prakash, while they were at work on the second edition of A Global History of Architecture (Ching, Jarzombek, Prakash; Wiley 2006, 2010). The purpose of that textbook, which was organized by time-cuts rather than, for example, nation-states or regions or styles, was to offer a framework for instructors in breaking free of the Eurocentric canonical categories that structure the current historiographical narrative. After the publication of the first edition, it became clear that the problem was not just which material to include, but also the deep-seated uncertainty of teachers in presenting this material. This was a problem particularly for junior faculty who are just starting their teaching careers, most of whom had limited exposure to the larger world of history outside of their Ph.D. preparation. And yet, these people were often tasked with preparing and presenting material that, however interesting, appeared strange and daunting to them, since it lay outside the zone of familiar 'research'. The solution for many teachers was to simply add in a lecture or two encompassing 'non-western' material. Another problem entailed the continuing dominance of modernism in histories of architecture; if one looks at the existing body of research in architectural history, one might think that all known history about architecture is confined to the last two hundred years.Cover for Global History of Architecture

What is needed, consequently, is not so much a discussion about how to teach the students, but how to teach the teachers.   To do that, we came up with the idea of a special forum where teachers could self-produce ready-to-teach, lecture materials, which they could then share with each other, and in the process, take the ghost out of the global perspective. That is how the idea of GAHTC was born--as a free, online resource of global architectural history teaching materials created and curated by a collaborative of teachers.

To revise and enrich the global survey, what is needed is not the slow march of traditional research but rather a rapid-response mechanism that could deal directly with the crisis of teaching within an expanded field. 

The ambition of the GAHTC is to address the needs of educators in diverse disciplinary contexts by providing practical lecture materials for teaching global architectural history at the survey level. This effort does not preclude more advanced level education, but the main purpose of the Collaborative is to transform the discipline 'from below'—that is, to help shape the discourse of architectural history by reshaping its teaching at the survey level. Teaching materials produced by the GAHTC will emphasize trans-national and trans-geographical perspectives, providing alternatives to architectural and art history courses organized by nation-based or style-based categories such as Italian', 'French', 'Chinese' and 'The Renaissance'.

Generously funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the GAHTC will dedicate its newest grant of a $1.5 million to promoting the development of survey course material in the history of architecture, thus strengthening its position within humanities teaching, while also sponsoring teacher-to-teacher conversations that support pedagogy with a global perspective.

To accomplish these goals, the GAHTC has created six new funding opportunities for research and teaching. You can find more information on the various grants here

GAHTC1 and GAHTC2: Content Creation

Phase 1 of the GAHTC supported the collaboration of a community of scholars from around the world committed to infusing a global perspective within the academic preparation of architectural historians.  It attracted 98 members from the USA, Europe, Canada, Peru, Australia, India, China, Turkey and South Africa and hosted two conferences, in Boston and Chicago, with 50 and 65 registered attendees each. A third members’ conference in Seattle united 90 participants. The rapid growth of the organization, not anticipated in the original planning of GAHTC, is a testament to the timeliness of the effort and the breadth of the interest in GAHTC’s resources.

With the success of the GAHTC1 (2013-2016), we realized not just the viability of the project, but even more importantly, the enormous scale of the problem. For that reason, GAHTC2 (2016-2019) was designed to be even more proactive in helping teachers develop curriculum.

The Global Architectural History Teaching Collaborative lecture library now has over 200 lectures on its free, teacher-to-teacher platform and continues to grow as scholars from all over the world join the GAHTC, and contribute their research, helping the collaborative to thrive.

As the GAHTC has developed, so too has the core impetus behind its inception.  The third edition of A Global History of Architecture (Ching, Jarzombek, Prakash; Wiley, 2017) has just been published.  It features full color and longer narratives telling better global stories.


The GAHTC is funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, with administrative connection to MIT's School of Architecture and Planning and its History Theory and Criticism Program.

Recently Added Modules

Upcoming GAHTC Events

WHA, Annual Conference Milwaukee, Syllabus Workshop, June 22 &23, 2018

AHA, Chicago, Panel and Exhibitor, January 3-6, 2019

Coming soon!

Submit your paper to the GAHTC session at SAH 2019!

Session Title: The Untold Histories of Peripheral Architecture and Cities


The study of Architectural history established in the late 19th century was based on the distinction between East and West, with analysis rooted in the West­–namely, England–and its gaze falling upon the rest. This form of paradigmatic analysis placed the West at the core, setting the rest, by default, as the periphery. As the field developed, intellectual attitudes began to recognize the built object as capable of conveying the story of the culture and people of a place. While the architecture of the West, or core, was identified as classic and nationalistic, the architecture of the periphery, placed in direct comparison, was labeled as native and primitive.

Recognizing the limitations of such a categorical analysis, the Global Architectural History Teaching Collaborative (GAHTC) set out to gather and curate a library of the architectural histories of the periphery to re-center those peripheries and tell those stories. The goal of the GAHTC–and, by extension, this session–is to explore the untold architectural histories of the periphery to counter all those histories that were projected onto various sites, skewed by the cultural aim and intellectual attitudes of their critics. These projected histories eschew the complex flows of people and ideas in the production of architectural objects and cities.

This session invites papers that tell the stories and histories of the periphery rather than the canonical center, thus expanding the discussion of non-canonical architecture and places beyond the labels of everyday, vernacular, indigenous. By decentralizing the critique this session de-sensationalizes non-western architecture, freeing it from a tautological identity as non-classical, primitive, and exotic. In particular, papers that explore the porous connections between people, places, and the global fluidity of ideas in the production of architecture and cities are welcome. Papers that explore methodological strategies for marginalized histories are also, strongly encouraged.

Submission Guidelines:

  1. Abstracts must be under 300 words.
  2. The title cannot exceed 65 characters, including spaces and punctuation.
  3. Abstracts and titles must follow the Chicago Manual of Style.
  4. Only one abstract per conference by author or co-author may be submitted. 
  5. A maximum of two (2) authors per abstract will be accepted. 

Abstracts are to be submitted online using the link below.


Map Builder Tool 

This tool will be embedded into our website and will allow any member to create a map, save that map to their profile, and share their map in a map gallery on GAHTC.org. Working with a designer and cartographer, we are developing the map builder to have a number of basic base maps to choose from (political boundaries, satellite imagery, terrain, etc.) with a toolbar to allow for members to draw, lines, points, circles, rectangles, irregular shapes and text. 

Syllabus Maker & Advanced Search 

The syllabus maker will allow members to construct a course syllabus entirely of GAHTC content. To this end, our web developer will build an advanced search function that allows users to narrow their search by geography, with the search results shown on a 3D globe. Search result relevance will be designated through a heat map. Members can pick items from their results to add to their syllabus or have the system generate a syllabus based on the number of lectures they have selected.  

Current Modules in the Works

Targeted Acquisition Grants

  1. Between Constantinople and Karakorum: The Architecture of Pre-Modern Russia
  2. Global Conservation: Preservation, Reuse and Sustainability
  3. Architectural Links Between the Islamic World and Latin America
  4. Sites and Systems of Indigenous North America (Pre-Columbian Cites and Settlements): The Olmec, Zaptotecs and Mixtecs of Oaxaca, the Mayan of the Yucatan, and the Puebloans of the San Juan and Colorado River Basins
  5. Iranian Domesticity in a Global Context
  6. Southern African Formations of Spatial Culture
  7. Japanese Architecture: History Through Production Systems 
  8. Soviet Constructivism: ‘Design and Politics’ and ‘Utopia in Tatters’
  9. The African City: A Global Architectural History
  10. Church architecture in the Principality of Moldova, 1457-­‐1600
  11. West African Modernism
  12. Indigenous Architectures and the Living Landscape of North America
  13. Oceania’s Pathways: Voyaging and Vernacular Architecture
  14. Gothicness
  15. Continuity and Change in the Architecture of Sub-Saharan Africa

  16. Shaping Place in Mesoamerica

  17. Asian Architecture on the Cultural Borders   

  18. The Quintessence of Pre-Columbian Cities

Research-to-Teaching Grants

  1. The Architecture of Public Housing in the Cold War Middle East: The Example of Iran (1948-68)
  2. Patron Kings of Hindu Temples

Emerging Scholars Grants

  1. Globalizing the Video Architectural History Timeline Project

Untargeted Field Initiated Grants

  1. Technologies of Movement (Part III)
  2. Port Cities Between Global Networks and Local Transformations
  3. Wood Architecture in Eastern Europe, Russia, and Scandinavia
  4. Mobile Architectures
  5. Spanish Translation of "A Global History of Islamic Architecture"
  6. History by Timecuts
  7. What is Art Deco?

Global Connections Fellowship
  1. Globalizing Asian Histories

Teacher-to-Teacher Workshop

  1. Globalizing the Theory Survey Workshop