School of Architecture College of Design


Daniela Sandler, Associate Professor

Daniela Sandler


Associate Professor



Daniela Sandler is an Associate Professor of architectural and urban history in the School of Architecture. Her teaching and research interests include modern and contemporary architecture and urbanism in Latin America and Europe, particularly Brazil and Germany; visual and cultural studies; critical theory; social inequality in space; history and theories of architectural and urban preservation; food and design; and history and memory in the built environment.


She has a Ph.D. in Visual and Cultural Studies from the University of Rochester, and a professional degree in Architecture and Urbanism from the University of São Paulo. Prior to joining the University of Minnesota, she taught at the Rhode Island School of Design; the University of California, Santa Cruz; and the Maryland Institute College of Art.


Her publications examine how social inequality plays out in space, be it in buildings, cities, or in the ways that architectural history is told. She has published on public space and urban cultural projects in São Paulo; squatting, alternative cultural centers, and gentrification in Berlin; and the conceptualization of modernism and modernity in Brazilian architecture. Her articles and reviews have appeared in Third Text, Social Identities, and the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, among others.

Her first book, Counterpreservation: Architectural Decay in Berlin since 1989 (Cornell University Press, 2016), focuses on the intentional appropriation of decay in connection to memory, public space, and gentrification. Her book received the 2019 Antoinette Forrester Downing Book Award of the Society of Architectural Historians.

She is currently working on a new book project tentatively titled "Empty Space: Urban Activism in Contemporary São Paulo," which deals with informal urbanism and grassroots architectural initiatives in São Paulo, Brazil, in the last decade. In addition to the book, this project involves a digital interactive map of initiatives with relation to socioeconomic, spatial, and cultural indicators.


Courses Offered

  • Architecture: A Global and Cultural History
  • Latin American Modern Architecture
  • Architecture, Cities, and Food Culture
  • Berlin: History and the Built Environment
  • Contemporary Architecture


Current Research

  • Architectural decay, memory, and gentrification in Berlin
  • Grassroots urbanism and social justice in São Paulo
  • Representations of the city in early Brazilian modernism


Selected Publications

(Forthcoming) "Modernism and Classicism in Brazil: Foundational Myths and Other Stories", in The Routledge Handbook on the Reception of Classical Architecture, ed. Nicholas Temple, Andrzej Piotrowski, Juan Manual Heredia (Routledge, 2019)

Counterpreservation: Architectural Decay in Berlin since 1989 (Cornell University Press, 2016)

“Counterpreservation: Decrepitude and Memory in the Architecture of Berlin since 1989,” Third Text, issue 113 (2011)

“The Other Way Around: The Modernist Movement in Brazil,” in Third World Modernism: Architecture, Development, and Identity, ed. Duanfang Lu (Routledge, 2010)

“A Memorial Laissez-Passer? Church Exhibitions and National Victimhood in Germany,” in Memorialisation in Germany since 1945, eds. Bill Niven and Chloe Paver (Palgrave Macmillan, 2010)

“Counterpreservation: Between Grimy Buildings and Renovation Rage,” in IntAR: Interventions / Adaptive Reuse, vol. 1 (Autumn 2009)

“Place and Process: Culture, Urban Planning, and Social Exclusion in São Paulo,” Social Identities, vol. 13, no. 4 (2007)

“Incarnate Politics: The Rhetorics of Reunification in Urban Projects in Berlin,” Invisible Culture: An Electronic Journal for Visual Culture, no. 5 (Winter 2003)

 “Daniel Libeskind: Presence and Participation,” Caramelo 9 (School of Architecture, University of São Paulo, 1997)

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