Lidia Klein

Lidia Klein

Graduate Assistant


I am a Ph.D. candidate in the department of Art, Art History, and Visual Studies at Duke University. My dissertation is entitled "Political Postmodernisms: Architecture in Chile and Poland, 1970–1990."

In 2013 I earned a Ph.D. from the Art History department, University of Warsaw, defending my dissertation, "Living Architectures: Biological Analogies in Architecture at the End of the Twentieth Century" (director: Waldemar Baraniewski).

My previous book projects include:

Living Architectures: Biological Analogies in Architecture of the End of the 20th Century. Warsaw: Fundacja Kultury Miejsca, 2014 (in Polish).

Dissertation-turned-book, which investigates a branch of contemporary architects, including Denis Dollens, Alberto T. Estévez, Greg Lynn, and Zbigniew Oksiuta who drew from biological principles of living organisms in architectural design. Living Architectures elucidates the underlying aims and methods of these architects while also developing a critique of some of their practical implications—namely, how their practices partook in neoliberal modes of production and consumption in ways that ultimately instrumentalized and threatened actual human and non-human lives.

Polish Postmodernism: Architecture and Urbanism, Warsaw: 40000 Malarzy, 2013, edited by Lidia Klein (in Polish).

The aim of Polish Postmodernism is to delineate fundamental research problems related to Polish postmodern architecture, from the 1970s to 2000. The book includes nine essays of invited contributors preceded by a critical introduction to the field. It centers on political aspects of postmodern architecture in Poland within two political and economic contexts: 1. during the late socialist period (investigating questions such as postmodernism's role in government propaganda and, on the other hand, in projects oppositional towards the government), and 2. after the transition from communism to capitalism. Polish Postmodernism explores how theories and formal solutions proposed by Western European and Northern American architects were adapted to their local contexts and to state-imposed building technologies (industrialized prefabricated concrete) with an array of DIY strategies and ingenious, creative solutions in response to material shortages and limitations. Besides situating Polish postmodern architecture in a global context, Polish Postmodernism shows the lasting impact this period had on current architecture and urbanism in Poland.

The book argues that Polish postmodern architecture has the potential to question established truths about this period in architectural history. It shows that postmodernism cannot be reduced to an “architectural expression of late capitalism,” following Fredric Jameson’s famous claim, but that it can be an equally powerful expression of late socialism. Polish Postmodernism unfolds an alternative narration on architectural postmodernism, absent in mainstream architectural scholarship based on Western European and Northern American examples.

The book is supplemented by a collection of interviews with Polish postmodern architects (Czeslaw Bielecki, Marek Budzynski, Jerzy Gurawski, Wojciech Jarzabek, Romuald Loegler and Jakub Wujek) co-edited with Alicja Gzowska.

Making the walls quake as if they were dilating with the secret knowledge of great powers. Warsaw: Zacheta, 2012, co-edited with Michal Libera.

An anthology of texts accompanying the exhibition in the Polish Pavilion at the 13th Architecture. This collection of essays examined the ways that sound can be conceptualized as a building material in and of itself. 

My most recent essays include:

“One Size Fits All: Appropriating Postmodernism in the Architecture of Late Socialist Poland” (with Alicja Gzowska) in Second World Postmodernisms: Architecture and Society under Late Socialism, ed. Vladimir Kulić, Bloomsbury Press (forthcoming).

“Europe on Świdnicka Street,” Bauwelt no. 38 (2016) [written in English, translated into German as “Europa an der Świdnicka”] : 58-61.

 “From Post-Political to Agonistic: Warsaw Urban Space since 1989” in Architecture Against The Post-Political Essays in Re-Claiming the Critical Project, ed. Nadir Lahiji, New York: Routledge (2014): 198–210.

 “Tasting Space: Architecture Beyond the Visual,” InVisible Culture: An Electronic Journal for Visual Culture, Rochester, NY (2013).