Research News

Stratigakos’ book receives award from Society of Architectural Historians

By DAVID J. HILL

Published May 4, 2022

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Despina Stratigakos, vice provost for inclusive excellence.

Despina Stratigakos

“Providing a captivating investigation of wartime environments and urban lives, Stratigakos offers new insights into the ways the Nazi regime deployed architecture as a vital tool in their larger geo-political project. ”
Spiro Kostof Book Award citation, Society of Architectural Historians

A UB architectural historian’s acclaimed book on Nazi efforts to build a model “Aryan” society in Norway during World War II has been recognized by the Society of Architectural Historians.

Zoom image: Despina Stratigakos' book, "Hitler's Northern Utopia, Building the New Order in Occupied Norway." Despina Stratigakos' book, "Hitler's Northern Utopia, Building the New Order in Occupied Norway.".

The book, “Hitler’s Northern Utopia: Building the New Order in Occupied Norway,” by Despina Stratigakos, vice provost for inclusive excellence and a professor of architecture, School of Architecture and Planning, received the Spiro Kostof Book Award from the Society of Architectural Historians.

The organization announced the recipients of its 2022 Publication Awards at its conference in Pittsburgh on April 28, recognizing the most distinguished publications in architectural history, urban history, landscape history, preservation and architectural exhibition catalogues.

The Spiro Kostof Book Award was introduced in 1993 in recognition of the career of its namesake, a professor of architectural history at the University of California at Berkeley and host of the public television series “America by Design.”

In the spirit of Kostof’s writings, the international award, one of the most prestigious offered by the Society of Architectural Historians, recognizes interdisciplinary studies of urban history that make the greatest contribution to our understanding of the growth and development of cities.

“Drawing on underexplored archival sources, Stratigakos’ book provides an outstanding textual and visual history of Nazi New Order through both infrastructural and architectural projects in Nazi-occupied Norway,” reads the SAH citation.

“This original research eloquently expands the historical and architectural knowledge on Nazi expansionism and the ‘Nazification’ of towns in Norway, and their vision for a postwar Germanic empire, a topic neglected in recent literature. Providing a captivating investigation of wartime environments and urban lives, Stratigakos offers new insights into the ways the Nazi regime deployed architecture as a vital tool in their larger geo-political project.”

Published in 2020 by Princeton University Press, “Hitler’s Northern Utopia” tells the fascinating untold story of how Nazi architects and planners began to construct a model “Aryan” society in occupied Norway, revealing a haunting vision of what might have been — a world colonized under the swastika.

Stratigakos’ book draws on unpublished diaries, photographs, maps and newspapers from the period to tell the story of a broad range of completed and unrealized architectural and infrastructure projects.

“Hitler’s Northern Utopia” has also been recognized in Azure magazine’s “Gift Guide: Seven Books for Distanced Design Lovers,” and was shortlisted for the Wallace K. Ferguson Prize from the Canadian Historical Association.