While books, journals, and lectures form the core of most architectural historians’ repertoire today, Test Sites: Experiments in the History of Space gathers leading scholars and critics to investigate what lies outside these dominant modes of architectural and urban history. On October 12, 2013 at the California College of the Arts, San Francisco campus, we will explore alternate practices of spatial history such as reconstructions, counterfactual histories, new media, critical conservation, and even destruction. Speakers will present specific projects as examples or “test sites” for experimental historical practice.

Beyond mere novelty, the symposium asks how such alternate practices might enable architectural historians to explore overlooked terrains and populations, address wider audiences, and play a more central role in urban life. The conference aims to reposition contemporary architectural and urban history as a critical, dynamic, and expanding field.

In conjunction with the symposium, the Masters of Advanced Architectural Design in Design Theory and Critical Practices is staging the exhibition “An Olfactory Archive: 1738-1969” in the Nave on CCA’s San Francisco campus.