My training is in architectural history and cultural studies, and I use interdisciplinary approaches to study buildings, urban sites, monuments, public spaces, and landscapes in relation to a broadly-defined social context.
In 1995, I completed a Master’s degree in the School of Architecture at the University of British Columbia, then worked five years as a lecturer, heritage researcher, and architecture librarian. In 2005, I completed my PhD in American Studies at the University of Minnesota, and my dissertation came out as a book in 2011 with the University of Minnesota Press.
Through an engagement with cultural and political history, I seek to specify the different techniques and processes by which space is produced through social relations. Critical architectural history seeks to research the built environment as a creative cultural phenomenon not limited to singular structures or famous architects. In contrast, understanding the role of the everyday spatial practice of subjects in producing the built environment is one of the most under-studied questions facing architectural and urban design history. A new research project on Canadian cultural landscapes seeks to address this question through research on spaces of immigration. This scholarship incorporates analytic categories such as race and gender, thereby adding relations of identity and power to its examination of the meanings and uses of spaces and places.
In my work, a specific focus has been the relationship between built environments, bureaucracies, and national identity. I have studied this in different ways, through the architectural programs of the Hudson’s Bay Company in the 1910s-20s, the United States civil defence establishment during the Cold War, and the Canadian government departments responsible for immigration in the century after Confederation.
For the Temporary Accommodation of Settlers: Architecture and Immigrant Reception in Canada, 1870-1930. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2021.
“Pier 21 and the Production of Canadian Immigration” in Carolyn Loeb and Andreas Luescher, eds., The Design of Frontier Spaces: Control and Ambiguity (Farnham, UK: Ashgate, 2015), 109-128.
Fallout Shelter: Designing for Civil Defense in the Cold War. University of Minnesota Press, 2011.
“Boston City Hall and a History of Reception,” Journal of Architectural Education 65:1 (October 2011), p. 45-62.
“Framing the American Dream,” Journal of Architectural Education 58:1 (September 2004), p. 24-33.
“Shelter From The Elements: Architecture and Civil Defense in the Early Cold War,” The Philosophical Forum XXXV:2 (Summer 2004), p. 179-199.
“‛From Canvas to Concrete in Fifty Years,’ The Construction of Vancouver City Hall, 1935-6." BC Studies 124 (Winter 1999/2000), p. 41-68.
“Constructing Buildings and Histories, Hudson’s Bay Company Department Stores, 1910-1930,” SSAC Bulletin SEAC 20:4 (December 1995), p. 97-103.
Book Reviews for 'Fallout Shelter'
“It is a wonderful demonstration of how historical inquiry can expose level upon level of social construction through the detailed examination of a contained topic. By the book’s end we have encountered a full assessment of the architectural profession’s relationship to the civil defense establishment, and we have also taken a journey through early Cold War American domestic history.”
Robert Jacobs, American Historical Review
“Fallout Shelter confirms that the quest for governmental control resides not only in legislation but also in the manipulation of the ordinary spaces that surround us every day.”
Sarah Lichtman, Journal of Design History
“A volume that...contributes to broader conversations about professional conduct, government surveillance, and social implications of technological change.”
Sharon Irish, Technology and Culture
“Monteyne’s fascinating look at this inglorious chapter in American history may be a cautionary tale.”
Anthony Paletta, Metropolis.
David Monteyne CV
<< Back to Faculty