I am the Morris Russell and Josephine Chidsey Williams Assistant Professor in Roman architecture in the Department of the History of Art at the University of Pennsylvania.
My research addresses the broader social, economic and cultural conditions underpinning the production of ancient art, architecture and urbanism. I focus on the art and architecture of the Hellenistic and Roman periods and undertake to understand the ways in which the cultural interaction between Greeks and Romans informed their artistic production as well as the shaping of their built environment. I have published widely on Roman luxury villas, as well as on the architecture, harbour infrastructure and urban development of late Hellenistic and Roman Delos.
In my first monograph, I examined the architecture of Roman luxury villas around the Bay of Naples to address the physical, social, and cultural factors that informed the architects’ design decisions (Designing for Luxury on the Bay of Naples (c. 100 BCE – 79 CE): Villas and Landscapes, Oxford UP 2014). I just finished my second book, entitled Shaping Roman Landscape: Ecocritical Approaches to Architecture and Wall Painting in Early Imperial Italy (Getty Publications 2023), which was awarded the 2021 David R. Coffin Publication Grant of the Foundation for Landscape Studies. This book takes up questions of the architectural analysis of luxury villas in the realm of art historical discourses to broaden and deepen rigid understandings of “nature” and “landscape representation” that have dominated the fields of art history and classical archaeology. I have also developed a VR digital model of the Villa of the Papyri that systematizes and visualizes data from past and ongoing archaeological fieldwork at the Villa and edited an interdisciplinary volume on the archaeology, reception and reconstruction of the Villa of the Papyri (The Villa of the Papyri at Herculaneum: Archaeology, Reception, and Digital Reconstruction, De Gruyter 2010).
My current research extends the field of Greek and Roman architecture and urbanism in new directions. I work on a book project on the urban growth of late Hellenistic and Roman Delos, addressing the relationship between economic and social change, urban growth and physical infrastructure. In the context of this project I co-direct an underwater fieldwork survey around Delos and Rheneia (2014-) to clarify the harbor infrastructure of the Delian emporium, locate shipwrecks and investigate the maritime routes around the island. I also collaborate with George Koutsouflakis on an underwater survey around islands Levitha, Kinaros and Maura in the central Aegean Sea (2019-) — the first to focus on the central Aegean to locate shipwrecks in the vicinity of these islands as a means of documenting the maritime connections of ancient Greece with Asia Minor. In summer 2022, I embarked on a new fieldwork project at Teos in Turkey in collaboration with Musa Kadıoğlu for the excavation and study of the bouleuterion and adjacent triporticus at Teos.
Furthermore, I co-lead with Simon Richards the Delos Network to investigate the history and legacy of the Delos symposia (1963-75), which were organized by architect and planner C. A. Doxiadis, in the context of 1960s and 1970s discussions about the future of urban planning. My article “Balancing Acts Between Ancient and Modern Cities” presents preliminary results of this research. The network brings together scholars, architects, and planners, who are currently looking into this period of intellectual history, with a view not only to better understand its significance but also to address how the Delos debates compare with and feed into contemporary concerns about demographic pressures and environmental sustainability and their relation to historical precedents by architects, planners, and others. In relation to this project, I am preparing an edited volume with Simon Richards, entitled Doxiadis and the Delos Symposia (1963-75): History and Legacy (under consideration for publication by Penn UP). I am also preparing an edited volume, entitled Gazes of the city, which tackles the methodological approaches of architects and archaeologists in the study of ancient cities. Finally, I recently collaborated with colleagues from the Universities of Kiel, Athens, Paris, Aarhus, and Bergen in an Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership project (2017-20) that created a digital learning environment and MOOC on Ancient Cities.
I have a multidisciplinary training in architectural design (Athens), history and theory of architecture (Harvard), and classical archaeology (Oxford). I have been a Fellow at Freie Universität in Berlin (TOPOI), New York University (ISAW), the University of Cologne (Humboldt Stipendium), the Getty Research Institute (Visiting Scholar), the Harvard Center for Hellenic Studies, the National Hellenic Research Foundation (Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship) and I am currently a member of the Princeton Institute for Advanced Study (Edwin C. and Elizabeth A. Whitehead Fellow).