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Note from the ABE editorial team

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Johan Lagae, Ricardo Agarez et Tania Sengupta

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  • 1 The cost Action, entitled “IS0904 - European Architecture beyond Europe: Sharing Research and Know (...)

1ABE Journal, with ABE standing for Architecture Beyond Europe, was founded exactly 8 years ago, in 2012. It emerged out of an ongoing conversation among scholars from around 15 European and some extra-European countries, in the context of a EU-funded cost (Cooperation in Science and Technology) Action that sought “to create a broader understanding of the worldwide spread of European architecture across empires during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries by focusing on its vectors, connections, semantics and materiality in a large range of geographical and linguistic contexts engaging both Western and non-Western environments”.1 Those involved felt that this discussion could make an important enough contribution to the larger field of architectural history to warrant its continuation in the form of an open access, online journal. From the very beginning, and based on experiences of the cost Action, a deliberate choice was made to provide a scholarly platform offering authors from various contexts and academic backgrounds the possibility of publishing in a variety of languages, in order to complement the Anglophone scholarship on these topics, and to even counter its dominance in the field. A further development from the cost Action in the journal—as the latter’s title suggests—was also a recognition of the co-production of architecture through European and non-European as well as intra-European encounters, rather than it being reducible merely to a singular and/or dominant notion of “European architecture”. “Architecture beyond Europe” thus also meant opening up newer sites, agents, interactions and fundamental paradigms of viewing architectures beyond the frameworks of western modernity whether in global contexts or within Europe.

2The first issue appeared in February 2012 and contained two scholarly articles and the proceedings of a panel chaired at the 1st European Architectural History Network International Meeting by Joe Nasr & Mercedes Volait.2 Since then, ABE Journal has published 15 issues, gradually expanding its network of (guest) editors, contributors and readership. Due to a sustained effort by the members of its editorial and advisory boards, and especially of Mercedes Volait (cnrs/inha)—who from the very beginning acted as editor-in-chief and hosted the journal in her InVisu-research unit in Paris—, the journal was accepted for inclusion on the cnrs-supported online platform in 2015, a significant proof of the academic credibility it rapidly acquired. Currently, the ABE Journal is still included in this platform, which is now called OpenEdition Journals and home to 533 academic journals in the humanities and the social sciences.3 ABE journal is also presently included in the “Emerging Journal” category of the Web of Science index, a distinction that has substantially helped strengthening its academic exposure and attractiveness.

  • 4 Mark Crinson, “The Powers that be: Architectural potency and spatialized power,” ABE Journal, no.  (...)
  • 5 G. A. Bremner, “Does ABE Journal need a rethink? ‘Early modern’ and ‘modern’ in the study of imper (...)
  • 6 Murray Fraser, Sir Banister Fletcher's Global History of Architecture, London: Bloomsbury, 2019, 2 (...)
  • 7 For the current composition of the editorial and advisory board, see https://journals.openedition. (...)

3In June 2019, Mercedes Volait stepped down as editor-in-chief; consequently, the editorial board agreed that this role would be handed over to a trio: Johan Lagae (Ghent University, Belgium), Ricardo Agarez (University of Évora, Portugal) and Tania Sengupta (The Bartlett School of Architecture, ucl, United Kingdom). The current issue, #16, is the first to appear under this new constellation. As the new core editorial team, we want to express, on behalf of ourselves and all members of ABE Journal’s editorial and advisory boards, our sincere thanks and gratitude to Mercedes Volait for having initiated this journal and for having accomplished the major task of bringing it to its current level. This is also the time to express our gratitude to Juliette Hueber, core member of the InVisu-team, who has been acting as the editorial assistant throughout the journal’s existence and whose work, often behind the scenes, has been crucial. Another word of thanks to Mark Crinson, who already in 2013 initiated the “Debate” section of the journal, by publishing a thought-provoking piece in issue #4 under the title “The Powers that be: Architectural potency and spatialized power”.4 This has led to a continued publication of position pieces under his editorship of the section, which, when seen together, form a significant contribution of ABE Journal to the larger field of architectural history and which, at times, even challenged the scope of the journal: such was the case, for instance, of G. A. Bremner’s text in issue # 12.5 In the “Debate”-section of issue #16, the last one to appear under Mark Crinson’s curatorship, Kathleen James-Chakraborty responds to Murray Fraser’s piece published in the previous issue, voicing some of her expectations regarding the (re)writing of a global architectural history in light of the long-awaited re-edition, and fundamental revision, of Sir Banister Fletcher's Global History of Architecture 21 ed., which appeared in November 2019.6 In the coming months, further changes in ABE Journal’s editorial and advisory boards are scheduled, and we would like to take the opportunity here to thank all the people who have been involved in the project, both those who were there from the very beginning and those who joined en cours de route.7

  • 8 With the financial support of the French State, programme “Investissements d’avenir”, managed by t (...)

4The editorial handover, which has significantly benefitted from the presence of Johan Lagae in Paris from September 2019 till January 2020 in the context of his fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Studies,8 will not result in a significant change in approach nor format. Rather, as the new core editorial team, we aim to continue to build the journal, as was the case in the past issues, around, first, a “Theme” section curated by guest editors (with the oversight of the core editorial team), usually consisting of 3 to 5 articles, and, second, a series of other sections directly managed by the core editorial team in dialogue with the editorial board: a “Varia” section presenting articles which are not related to the theme file, complemented by contributions falling under the labels of “Debate,” “Source,” “PhD,” and “Book reviews”. All “articles”-contributions are double blind peer-reviewed.

5The “Theme” section of issue #16, entitled “On Margins: Feminist Architectural Histories of Migration,” is curated by guest editors Anooradha Siddiqi (Barnard College, Columbia University) and Rachel Lee (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München). Two upcoming issues of the ABE Journal, to appear in June and December 2020 respectively, will both include substantial “Theme” sections, guest edited by Jiat-Hwee Chang (University of Singapore) and Daniel Ryan (University of Sydney) and entitled “Entanglements of Architecture and Comfort beyond the Temperate World”. A call will shortly be launched for contributions to a “Theme” section which will deal with the architecture produced by/in response to Public Work Departments in former colonized territories, curated by Peter Scriver (University of Adelaide), Ana Vaz Milheiro (University of Lisbon) and Johan Lagae (Ghent University). This is scheduled to appear in June 2021. By bringing to the fore such themes, yet dealing with them from a historical perspective, ABE Journal wants to engage with current debates and concerns like the role of marginalised agents of architecture, the recent declarations of climate emergency, and the emerging field of “Science and Technology Studies” (sts).

6As was done in the past, we also maintain the deliberate choice of ABE Journal to allow for contributions in five different languages (English, French, German, Italian and Spanish) and to publish abstracts and keywords for all peer-reviewed contributions in these languages, so as to continue to capture work that might otherwise fail to reach a larger audience. In line with ABE Journal’s origin, as well as with current requirements regarding the publication of scientific results of publicly funded research projects, we remain committed to and will be continuing the open access format of the journal, which is now also part of the Directory of Open Access Journals.9

7In order to create still more visibility, and because we all remain aficionados of the printed object, much effort has been made by the InVisu-team over the last year to develop print-on-demand editions of all previous issues, which will be accessible through our website in the near future. In this way, we hope that ABE Journal will also begin to have a presence in a physical form in the major scholarly libraries in our field around the world.

  • 10 We share such interest with other scholars, both in the field of architectural history as in that (...)

8In an academic climate that is becoming more and more competitive, and at a moment in time when work done in the humanities and social sciences is facing growing pressure to provide proof of its “societal impact,” we strongly believe it remains important to invest time and energy in an online, open access publication such as ABE Journal. The need for a platform where scholarly work on “Architecture beyond Europe” that draws attention to the materiality of the built environment can find a voice, and which engages with the specificity and the complexity of nineteenth-and twentieth-century architecture and urban spaces “in a global condition”, is as timely today as it was when ABE Journal first started in 2012.10

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1 The cost Action, entitled “IS0904 - European Architecture beyond Europe: Sharing Research and Knowledge on Dissemination Processes, Historical Data and Material Legacy (19th-20th centuries),” was chaired by Mercedes Volait (cnrs/inha) and Johan Lagae (Ghent University) and ran from 2010 till 2014. For an overview of its members and activities, see the static digital archive available on Accessed 2 March 2020. For a more in-depth discussion of its agenda and some results of the reflections developed during the action, see G. A. Bremner, Johan Lagae and Mercedes Volait, “Intersecting Interests: Developments in Networks and Flows of Information and Expertise in Architectural History,” Fabrications, vol. 26, no. 2, 2016, p. 227-245.

2 For the table of contents of the issue, see Online since 02 February 2012. Accessed 27 January 2020.

3 About OpenEdition Journals, see

4 Mark Crinson, “The Powers that be: Architectural potency and spatialized power,” ABE Journal, no. 4, 2013. URL :; DOI : 10.4000/abe.3389. Accessed 27 January 2020.

5 G. A. Bremner, “Does ABE Journal need a rethink? ‘Early modern’ and ‘modern’ in the study of imperial / colonial architecture,” ABE Journal, no. 12, 2017. URL :; DOI: 10.4000/abe.3929. Accessed 27 January 2020.

6 Murray Fraser, Sir Banister Fletcher's Global History of Architecture, London: Bloomsbury, 2019, 2 vols. For his position piece in the “Debate”-section of ABE Journal, see Murray Fraser, “A global history of architecture for an age of globalisation,” ABE Journal, nos. 14-15, 2019. URL :; DOI: 10.4000/abe.5702. Accessed 28 January 2020.

7 For the current composition of the editorial and advisory board, see In the coming months, a number of changes will be made to the editorial and advisory boards, as some members have indicated that they want to step down because of other engagements.

8 With the financial support of the French State, programme “Investissements d’avenir”, managed by the Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR-11-LABX-0027-01 Labex RFIEA+), Johan Lagae spent five months in Paris, from September 1st 2019 to January 31st 2020, at the Institute of Advanced Studies. This enabled him, a part from conducting his own personal research project, also to work closely with Mercedes Volait and Juliette Hueber at InVisu in order to manage, in dialogue with Ricardo Agarez and Tania Sengupta, the hand-over and to re-shape the workflow of the journal.

9 See Accessed 28 January 2020.

10 We share such interest with other scholars, both in the field of architectural history as in that of history proper. See, for instance, the international conference A World of Architectural History, held at the Bartlett School of Architecture, Bartlett Faculty of the Built Environment, University College London, UK, 2nd-4th November 2018, and organized by Murray Fraser; Steffi Marung and Matthias Middell (eds.), Spatial Formats under the Global Condition, Berlin: De Gruyter, 2019 (Dialectics of the Global).

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Johan Lagae, Ricardo Agarez et Tania Sengupta, « Note from the ABE editorial team »ABE Journal [En ligne], 16 | 2019, mis en ligne le 20 mars 2020, consulté le 28 juillet 2021. URL : ; DOI :

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Johan Lagae

Full Professor, Department of Architecture and urban planning, Ghent University, Belgium

Articles du même auteur

Ricardo Agarez

Assistant Professor, Universidade de Évora, Portugal

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Tania Sengupta

Lecturer, The Bartlett Development Planning, University College London, United Kingdom

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