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Jean-Louis Cohen


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Jean-Louis Cohen is an architect and historian, with a long track record in research on modern architecture and city planning. He has studied in particular German and Soviet architectural cultures, colonial situations in Morocco and Algeria, architecture during World War II, and extensively interpreted Le Corbusier’s work and Paris planning history. The question of cultural transfer in architecture, urban design, and visual culture is central in his work, and has been discussed in reference to the relationships between Italy, Germany, and France and, with particular emphasis, in reference to the interaction between Russia and the West.

Jean-Louis Cohen has studied architecture at the École Spéciale d’Architecture and at the Unité Pédagogique n° 6 in Paris, graduating in 1973, and has received a Ph.D. in art history from the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in 1985. After having directed the Architectural Research Program at the French Ministry of Housing, he held from 1983 to 1996 a research professorship at the School of Architecture Paris-Villemin, and from 1996 to 2004, a chair in town-planning history at the Institut Français d’Urbanisme, University of Paris 8.

Since 1994, Jean-Louis Cohen has held the Sheldon H. Solow Chair for the History of Architecture at New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts, and since 2014 he is professor at the Collège de France, Paris. From 1997 to 2003, he was appointed the French Minister of Culture to create the Cité de l’architecture, which opened in 2007. During that period, he directed the two main components of the Cité: The Institut Français d’Architecture and the Musée des Monuments Français.

He has been a curator for numerous exhibitions including “Le Corbusier: An Atlas of Modern Landscapes” and “The Lost Vanguard” at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2013 and 2007); “Scenes of the World to Come” and “Architecture in Uniform” at the Canadian Center for Architecture, Montreal (1995 and 2011); “Paris-Moscou” (1979) and the centennial show “L’Aventure Le Corbusier” (1987), both at the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris. In 2014 he has been curator of the French Pavilion at the 14 Mostra internazionale di architettura – la Biennale di Venezia.

Jean Louis Cohen is an elected member of the Akademie der Künste, in Berlin, the Russian Academy of Architecture, in Moscow, and the Accademia di San Luca, in Rome. He has been a research fellow at the National Gallery of Art’s Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts (1987), and a Getty scholar at the Getty Research institute (1992-93). He has received numerous awards, including the Great Prize of the architecture book from the Académie d’Architecture in Paris (1996 and 2012), and the Medal for architectural analysis of the same institution (2003). He has been awarded the Schelling Architekturtheorie Preis (2010) and the French government appointed him in the order of Arts and Letters.

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