Albena Yaneva is Professor of Architectural Theory at the University of Manchester and director of the Manchester Architecture Research Group (MARG) at the Urban Institute. She has been Visiting Professor at Princeton School of Architecture and Parsons School of Design. In 2017 she was awarded the Lise Meitner Visiting Chair in Architecture at Lund University, Sweden.
After a PhD in Sociology and Anthropology from Ecole Nationale Supérieure des mines de Paris (2001) with Professor Bruno Latour, Yaneva has worked at Harvard University, the Max-Planck Institite for the History of Science in Berlin and the Austrian Academy of Science in Vienna. Her research is intrinsically transdisciplinary and spans the boundaries of science studies, cognitive anthropology, architectural theory and political philosophy. Her work has been translated in German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Thai, Polish, Turkish and Japanese.
Her book The Making of a Building: A Pragmatist Approach to Architecture (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2009) provides a unique anthropological account of architecture in the making, whereas Made by the OMA: An Ethnography of Design (Rotterdam: 010 Publishers, 2009) draws on an original approach of ethnography of design and was defined by the critics as “revolutionary in analyzing the day-to-day practice of designers.” For her innovative use of ethnography in the architectural discourses Yaneva was awarded the RIBA President's Award for Outstanding University-located Research (2010).
Yaneva's book Mapping Controversies in Architecture (Routledge, 2012) brought the newest developments in social sciences into architectural theory. It introduced Mapping Controversies as a research and teaching methodology for following design debates. A recent volume in collaboration with Alejandro Zaera-Polo What is Cosmopolitical Design? (Routledge, 2015) questioned the role of architectural design at the time of the Anthropocene and provided many examples of cosmopolitically correct design.
Her monograph Five Ways to Make Architecture Political. An Introduction to the Politics of Design Practice (Bloomsbury, 2017) takes inspiration from object-oriented political thought and engages in an informed enquiry into the different ways architectural design can be political. The study contributes to a better understanding of the political outreach of the engagement of designers with their publics.
Professor Yaneva's monograph Crafting History: Archiving and the Quest for Architectural Legacy (Cornell University Press, 2020) explores the daily practices of archiving in its mundane and practical course and is based on ethnographic observation of the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) in Montreal, a leading archival institution, and interviews with a range of practitioners around the world, including Álvaro Siza and Peter Eisenman. Unravelling the multiple epistemic dimensions of archiving, the book tells a powerful story about how collections form the basis of Architectural History.
The most recent book The New Architecture of Science: Learning from Graphene (Singapore and NYC: World Scientific Publishing, 2020) with Sir Kostya S. Novoselov (Nobel Laureate in Physics) offers an original interpretation of the mutual shaping of architecture and science at the intersection of architectural theory, science studies and cognitive anthropology. https://www.worldscientific.com/worldscibooks/10.1142/11840#t=aboutBook
Yaneva is the recipient of academic grants of the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts in Chicago (2003), the British Academy (2008) and the EU (2008-2010). She has presented more than 120 international invited lectures and keynotes, including in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Indonesia, Irland, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the USA. She is a member of the Peer Review College of the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Economy and Society Research Council in the UK and serves as a reviewer for the National Science Foundations of USA, Switzerland, Austria, Irland and the Netherlands. She is a judge for the 2017 RIBA President's Medals in the Silver Medal category, RIBA London.