Jerzy Elżanowski

MArch Professional (McGill),

PhD (Bauhaus Weimar / UBC)


Assistant Professor

Carleton University

School of Canadian Studies

(613) 520 2600 ext. 4036


In my work, I challenge institutional and individual perceptions of the post-catastrophic city.  I ask difficult questions that must be left partially unanswered in order to remain intellectually productive and ethically relevant:


Are human remains a physical part of recovered post-war building materials?  Do ruins act as mediation devices fostering a sense of continuity in a temporally disturbed post-catastrophic environment?   Should we restore or commemorate technical infrastructures of oppression?


As an academic and practitioner I negotiate design and scholarly criticism.  I’ve designed for spaces that by my own reckoning should remain empty because the post-catastrophic city is a living organism that demands uneasy compromises.  Respect for memory means preservation, but to preserve destruction is to staticize trauma – code and store it outside changing, lived experience.


My work on post-war ruins in Warsaw reflects a deep concern for the post-war city.  Recent projects explore the concept of the contemporary artificial ruin, places of commemoration in Warsaw, as well as the reuse of rubble during the city's reconstruction process.  I have taught about the politics of heritage and reconstruction in Warsaw and Weimar. I am the Associate Editor for UBC’s new online interdisciplinary journal Cutting Edge.



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