Thordis Arrhenius

Thordis Arrhenius is an architect and architectural researcher with a strong engagement in contemporary architectural and urban practice and their theories. Her teaching and research is characterised by a dedication to contemporary critical issues in heritage and urbanism where the historical perspective informs actions and strategies. Arrhenius’ research interests concern the exhibition of architecture in mass culture, the relation between architecture and the museum, and the curatorial aspects of preservation. Recent research projects investigate the role of the architectural exhibition in the reception of modern architecture in Scandinavia, the historiography of conservation, and the strategy of alteration and its architectural and theoretical implications. She is since 2015 appointed as full time professor in Culture Heritage at the Department of Social Change and Culture (ISAK), Linköping University Sweden were she directs a new research platform in modern heritage. Under the working title Restoring the Welfare State she is at present developing a cross-disciplinary project on the welfare-state, its cultures, politics, materials and agents, that aims, through study the ‘making’ of the welfare state, to contribute to the understanding of how the material heritage from the post-war period today is valued.

Arrhenius has an international profile in teaching, publication, and research dissemination. She has been appointed professor in Architectural History and Conservation at the Institute of Form, Theory and History, Oslo School of Architecture (2007-2014) where she initiated in collaboration Oslo Centre for Critical Architectural Studies (OCCAS, and directed the international research project Place and Displacement: Exhibiting Architecture (2011-2014) funded by the Norwegian Research Council as well as the research project Mediated Architecture; the Exhibition as a Discursive Field with the Swedish Architecture Museum (Arkdes) funded by the Swedish Art Council (2012-2014). In spring 2015 she was a invited guest scholar at the Getty Institute of Conservation, Los Angeles. She has previously been visiting research fellow at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, GSAPP, Columbia University, the Centre for Advanced Studies in Architecture, University of Bath, the Architectural Association Graduate School in London, and the Swedish Institute in Rome.


Publications (since 2011)


2016 (Chapter in book) “Den Moderna Monumentkulten”, (The Modern Cult of Monuments) in Mellan minne och glömska: Studier i det kulturella minnets förvandlingar, (red.) Johan Redin & Hans Ruin, Daidalos, Göteborg, 2016, utg. september 2016.

2016 (Chapter in book) “Monumental and Non-Monumental Strategies”, in Experimental Preservation, eds. Arrhenius, Langdalen, Otero-Pailos, Lars Müller Publisher, Zurich, 2016.

2016 (Chapter in book) “Nine points towards an expanded notion of architectural work”, in Tabula Plena: Forms of Urban Preservation, Ed. Bryony Roberts, Lars Müller Publisher, Zurich, 2016.

2014 (Book) Place and Displacement, Exhibiting Architecture, Arrhenius et al., Müller Publisher, Zurich, 2014.

2013 (Article) ‘What if Alteration’, Harvard Design Magazine, nr 37.

2013 (Article) ‘Orginal’ (Originals), Arkitektur (Swedish Architectural Review) Nr 4, 2013.

2013 (Review) “Le Corbusier’s konst i fokus”, review of the exhibition Moment, Le Corbusier’s Laboratory Modern Museum Stockholm, Arkitekten 2:13.

2012 (Book chapter) Two texts: “Staden i retur / Recycling the City” and “Klara Färdiga / Ready Steady” in Om 50 år med Arkitekturmuseet/ The Swedish Museum of Architecture 
Fifty Year Perspective, ed Malin Zimm, Swedish Architectural museum 2012.

2012 (Monograph) The Fragile Monument: On Conservation and Modernity, Artifice books on architecture/ Black Dog Publishing 2012.

2011 (Peer-review article) Thordis Arrhenius, “Re-Store: Alteration as a Critical Device. Nine points towards an expanded notion of architectural work”, Nordic Journal of Architecture 1/2011.

2011 (Theme-issue editorial) Jorge Oteros–Pailos and Thordis Arrhenius, “The Scandinavian Welfare State and Preservation”, Future Anterior, Journal of Historic Preservation, History Theory and Criticism, Columbia University. (Vol. VII, 2/2010)

2011 (Peer-review article) Thordis Arrhenius “Preservation and Protest, Counterculture and Heritage in 1970’s Sweden”, in Future Anterior, Journal of Historic Preservation, History Theory and Criticism, Columbia University. (Vol. VII, 2/2010)

2011 (Review) “The Architectural Universe of Anders Abraham”, Nordic Journal of Architecture 1/2011.


2016 Panel: Participation in panel-discussion following the book launch of Experimental Preservation, eds. Arrhenius, Langdalen, Otero-Pailos, Lars Müller Publisher, Zurich, 2016 at the Oslo Architectural Triennnale (OAT) After Belonging, Oslo 10 September 2016.

2016 Panel: Participation in panel-discussion following the book launch of Tabula Plena: Forms of Urban Preservation (Ed. Bryony Roberts, Lars Müller publisher) at the Nordic Pavilion at the 15th Venice Architecture Biennale, Venice May 26, 2016. Arrhenius is contributing with an essay in the book.

2016 Lecture Architecture in the Museum, lecture for the master course Architectural Conservation, Area of Architecture, Royal Institute of Fine Art, (Restaureringskonst, Kungl. Konsthögskolan) 18 March 2016.
2015 Network meeting Scandinavian Research network for Welfare and Architecture (Skandinaviskt forskarnätverk för välfärd och arkitektur) The Oslo School of Architecture and Design, AHO Oslo, 1 December, 2015.

2015 Plenary Speaker Historizing the Welfare State, the Swedish Museum for Architecture 1962-2012, paper presented (with Christina Pech) at ‘Research on Display’, The Architecture Exhibition as a Model for Knowledge Production, Second Annual Conference of the Jaap Bakema Study Centre, Organized by the Jaap Bakema Study Centre with Het Nieuwe Instituut, Rotterdam and TU Delft November 30, 2015.

2015 Keynote, Restoring the Welfare State, public lecture given at the Wohnungsfrage Academy
The Housing System, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, October 25, 2015.

2015 Seminar Donald Judd Spring Street Studio, The artist home as museum. Research seminar Kreativa platser, Stiftelsen Övralid, Övralidsbibliotek 17 October 2015.
2015 Lecture The Fragile Monument, Nordic Master in Architectural Heritage (NORDMAK) Aahus School of Architecture, 9 September 2015.

2015 Lecture Riegl och den moderna monument, (Riegl and the modern monument) Architectural Conservation, Area of Architecture, Royal Institute of Fine Art, (Restaureringskonst, Kungl. Konsthögskolan 24 May 2015.
2015 Network meeting Scandinavian Research Network for Welfare and Architecture (Interskandinaviske netværk for Velfærd og Arkitektur). Arrangment and hosts were the research projects Restoring the Welfare State and Architecture in Effect through Thordis Arrhenius (LiU), Erik Sigge (KTH) och Helena Mattsson (KTH) 4-5 May 2015. 

2015 Talk show Display on Display, part of the Wild Side Workshop, Panel: Thordis Arrhenius, Donatella Bernardi, Maria Lind, Sven Olov Wallenstein and Axel Wieder. Moderatorer: Celine Condorelli och Peter Lang. Scenbild: Celine Condorelli, Frederick Kiesler: Visions at Work, Tenstakonsthall, 15 April 2015.

2014 Panel and Organizer book launch of Place and Displacement, Exhibiting Architecture, (Arrhenius et al., Müller Publisher, Zurich, 2014) at the Nordic Pavilion at the 14th Venice Architecture Biennale,Venice June 6, 2014.

2014 Panel and Organizer Experimental Preservation Symposium, a series of three events discussion the state of art in preservation with international actors in the field, Venice, June 2014;Columbia University, October 2014 and Oslo, March 2014.

2013 Keynote, The Authentic Preservation Design session, Berlin Documentary 3., Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, May 31, 2014.

2013 Keynote, Asplund 1917/1972 keynote given at the symposium Documentary Remains Columbia University, NYC NOV 14, 2013.

2013 Plenary Speaker Arrhenius presented the paper, Restoring the Welfare State at the conference Filling the Gap:  World Heritage & 20th Century, a five-day conference and workshop on the preservation of 20 century architecture arranged by Chitkara University, in collaboration with ICOMOS International Scientific Committee on 20th Century Heritage (ISC20C) and Foundation Le Corbusier. The conference was hosted by Chitkara University, Punjab, India.

2013 Plenary Speaker, Arrhenius presented the paper: Mediating Architecture at the Swedish Architectural History Network (SAHN) III Symposium on Swedish Architectural Historiography. The symposium was hosted by the Art History Department, Uppsala University on behalf of SAHN. October 11-12th.

2013 Symposium Place and Displacement: Exhibiting Architecture at Oslo School of Architecture, Oslo Centre for Critical Studies and Norwegian National Museum Department of Architecture, Oslo. Organized by Thordis Arrhenius, Mari Lending, Wallis Miller (AHO) in collaboration with Jérémie McGowen (National Museum department of Architecture).

2013 Lecture and Panel, Mottagandet av Le Corbusier i Sverige (The reception of Le Corbusier in Sweden) Lecture at the Architectural Museum in conjunction with the exhibition Moment; Le Corbusier’s Secret Laboratory, Modern Museum, Stockholm, 23 March 2013.

2013 Lecture Modernity and Conservation (Modernitet och bevarande) lecture at the Royal Institute of Art, 18 March 2013.

2012 Symposium Heritage Values in Growing Cities, at AHO. Organized by Thordis Arrhenius and Lothar Diem in collaboration with Oslo municipality’s heritage management office, the event was conceived as part of officially celebrating the centenary for Norway’s Directorate for Cultural Heritage. Oslo 2 October 2012.

2012 Lecture Displaying 1:1, Open Air Museums at the School of Architecture, The Royal Academy of Technology, KTH, Stockholm.

2012 Lecture The Fragile Monument, Department of Architecture, The National Museum, Oslo 29 November 2012.
2012 Panel Architectural Biennale Venice, launch of the book The Fragile Monument followed by a panel discussion with prof. Thordis Arrhenius, prof. Joseph Rykwert (University of Pennsylvania) and Prof. Jorge Otero–Pailos (Columbia University) 28th August 2012.

2012 Plenary Speaker Proximity and Distance paper at Re/theorisation of Heritage Studies, Association of Critical Heritage Studies Inaugural Conference at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

2012 Keynote Speaker Regulatory Practices, lecture and panel given at the Urban Design and Projection Conference at GSD, Harvard University 3-4 February 2012.