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The Five Orders of Architecture, Model by Robert Arnould Drais (France, ca 1780), supposedly ‘designed and made for Marie Antoinette, in order to teach her something of the science’. Lapis lazuli columns, mounted in gold; on a base of red porphyry mounted in ormolu, Museum Number 853-1882. Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

The Five Orders of Architecture, Model by Robert Arnould Drais (France, ca 1780), supposedly ‘designed and made for Marie Antoinette, in order to teach her something of the science’. Lapis lazuli columns, mounted in gold; on a base of red porphyry mounted in ormolu, Museum Number 853-1882. Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Name: Dr. Simona Valeriani
Role: Course tutor
Research Interests

I trained as an architect and earned a PhD in the field of building archaeology in an interdisciplinary programme concerned also with art history and heritage conservation, where I developed an interest in public understanding of cultural heritage, in particular the built environment.

I then worked for eight years at the London School of Economics, Economic History Department where my interest in construction history has evolved to include more generally the history of technology, with a focus on the mechanisms of knowledge formation and circulation in the early modern period. Despite having worked mainly on Italy, Germany, England and France I have gained experience in global history through my participation in the URKEW project and enjoy considering Europe in a global context both in my research and teaching.

An area of investigation I have been developing recently is the interface between the ‘learned’ and the world of practitioners in the Early modern period, and I am working on a book entitled In-between Knowledge. Artefacts and Places in the production of Useful and reliable knowledge in Europe 15th-18th century. Amongst the topics I have been focusing on in this context is the use of 3D models in Early modern times, which was the subject of a recent conference and exhibition I organised at the Royal Society.

Selected Research Outputs


Matters of Thoughts: Models and Knowledge-production in the Early Royal Society, Royal Society, September13th – November 13th 2013.


‘Kirchendächer in Rom - Capriate Ecclesiae, Berliner Beiträge zur Bauforschung und Denkmalpflege III’ (Petersberg: Imhof Verlag, 2006).

Edited with Reinhard Wendler, ‘Models Beyond Representation: Knowledge, Creativity, Disobedience, in the series: Berlin Studies in Knowledge Research’, general editors Günter Abel und James Conant (De Gruyter, forthcoming 2015)

‘In-between Knowledge. Artifacts and Places in the production of Useful and reliable knowledge in Europe 15th-18th century’. [monograph in preparation; interest has been expressed by Cambridge University Press]

Special issues of journals (edited)

[Edited with Karel Davids and Ian Inkster,] “Conceptualising the Production and Diffusion of Useful and Reliable Knowledge in Early Modern Europe”, Special Issue: History of Technology, vol.  31,  2011.

[Edited with Dagmar Schaefer,] ‘The History of Technology in Global Perspective’, Special Issue: Technology and Culture [in preparation].

Journal articles

[With Mina Ishizu,] “The Diffusion of Useful and Reliable Knowledge over the centuries of the Great Divergence: Comparative Case Study of Urban Water Supply in Early Modern England and Tokugawa Japan”, Comparativ. Zeitschrift für Globalgeschichte und vergleichende Gesellschaftsforschung [forthcoming]

“‘Lovers, Gentlemen and learned men’. Architecture and knowledge in 16th-and 17th-century England, in Prospectus— The Varied Role of the Amateur in Early Modern Europe”, Special Issue: Nuncius, ed. by  V. Keller und L. Skogh [forthcoming 2015]

“Three-dimensional Models as ‘in-between-objects’ – the creation of in-between knowledge in early modern architectural practice”, History of Technology, vol. 31, 2012, pp.5–25.

“‘In the ancient forme’.  On the reception and ‘invention’ of ancient building techniques in Early Modern Times”, Special Issue: Hephaistos. New approaches in Classical Archaeology and related Fields, 26, 2008, pp. 169–88.

“Behind the Façade: Elias Holl and the Italian influence on building techniques in Augsburg”, architectura, vol. 38, no. 2/2008, pp. 97–108.

“S.  Cecilia  in  Trastevere  und  die  Geschichte  der  Kirchendächer  in  Rom”, architectura, vol. 35, no.1, 2005, pp. 32–46.

“La Bauforschung a Lubecca: metodi di datazione”, Archeologia dell'architettura, vol. 4, 1999, pp. 83–92.

“Studio storico-archeologico sull'edilizia mercantile medievale delle città anseatiche”, Archeologia dell'Architettura, vol. 3, 1998, pp. 109-123.

Book chapters

“The making of useful knowledge in Europe 1400-1800”, in: P. O’Brien (ed.), ‘Useful and reliable Knowledge in the East and the West’, series: Studies in Comparative Word History (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2016)

[With Mina Ishizu,] “Useful  and  Reliable  Knowledge  in  Early  Modern  Japan  and  Europe:  Parallel Developments  and Transformations in the Accumulation of Botanical Knowledge”, in: Susanne Friedrich, Stefan Ehrenpreis and Arndt Brendecke (eds), ‘Transformation  of  Knowledge  in   Dutch  Expansion’ (Berlin and New York: De Gruyter, forthcoming 2015).

“Floors and ceilings in early Christian basilicas in Rome”, in: R. Gargiani (ed.), ‘Architraves et pouters’ (EPFL Press, 2012), pp. 128–35.

“Facts and Building Artefacts: What Travels in Material Objects?”, in: P. Howlett and M. Morgan (eds), ‘How Well Do Facts Travel?’ (Cambridge University Press, 2011), pp. 43–71.

“I Metodi dell'archeologia dell'architettura applicati allo studio delle coperture lignee di alcune basiliche a Roma”, in: N. Cucuzza and M. Medri (eds), ‘Archeologie. Scritti in onore di Tiziano Mannoni’ (Bari: Edipuglia, 2006), pp. 519–22.

[With S. Fechter, B. Rogaci-Tiemann, T. Schöfbeck, M. Zajonz,] “Die Kulturlandschaft des Klosters Schulpforta”, in: A. Hubel and J. Cramer (eds), ‘Forschungen zum Kloster Schulpforta - Ergebnisse  eines Arbeitsprojektes im Rahmen des Graduiertenkollegs Kunstwissenschaft,  Bauforschung,  Denkmalpflege’ (Halle  an  der  Saale: Stekovics, 2003) vol. 1, pp. 11-26.

Conference Proceedings

“Sir Christopher Wren’s Architectural Endeavors: Models as ‘in-between-knowledge’”, in: ‘Proceedings of the 47. Tagung für Ausgrabungswissenschaft und Bauforschung der Koldewey Gesellschaft, Trier , 16. -20. Mai 2012’ [forthcoming, 2015].

“Modeling architecture in 17th-century England: a discourse and a practice”, in: ‘Proceedings for the conference: The Model, a Tool in the Architectural Project’ (Ecole de Chaillot, Cité de l'architecture et du patrimoine, forthcoming 2015).

[With Mina Ishizu,] “Knowledge Diffusion and the Learning of Practical Science: case studies of early modern Europe and Japan”, ‘Proceedings of the 4th Conference of the European Society for the History of Science, Barcelona, 18-20 November 2010’ (Societat Catalana d‘Història de la Ciència i de la Tècnica (SCHCT), 2011). Digital publication here.

“‘Ingenious gentlemen abroad’: Roger Pratt and the influence of the educational traveller in Britain”, in:  ‘Akten  der  45.  Tagung  für  Ausgrabungswissenschaft und Bauforschung’ (2008) (Dresden: Koldewey Gesellschaft, Thelen Verlag, 2010), pp. 127–35.

“La trasmissione delle conoscenze nell’Europa del XVII e XVIII sec.: il caso delle strutture di  copertura”,  in:  ‘Proceedings of  the  international seminar  Theory  and practice  about   construction:   knowledge,  instruments,  models,  Ravenna,  27–29. October 2005’, vol. II, pp. 895-903.

“Le strutture di copertura nei trattati e nei manoscritti rinascimentali”, in: S. Huerta (ed.), ‘Actas del  Cuarto Congreso Nacional de Historia de la Construcción, Cadiz, January 2005’ (Madrid: Istituto Juan de Herrera, 2005), vol. 2, pp. 1039–49.

“Historic Carpentry in Rome”,  in:  S.  Huerta  (ed.), ‘Proceedings of the First International Congress on Construction History, Madrid, 20-24 January 2003’ (Madrid: Instituto Juan de Herrera, Escuela Técnica superior de Arquitectura, 2003), vol. 3, pp. 2023–34.

[With D. Pittaluga,] “Chronologie der Backsteinmaße: Eine Möglichkeit zur Datierung von Bauten in spezifischen geografischen Bereichen”, in: ‘Greifswalder Backsteinkolloquium – Neue   Forschungen  zur   Backsteinarchitektur  in   mittleren Europa, 16–18  April  1998’, Greifswald, Studien zur  Backsteinarchitektur, vol. 3 (Berlin, 2003), pp. 370–87.

[With H. Brandenburg and J. Cramer,] “Indagini architettoniche e dendrocronologiche sui tetti delle  chiese paleocristiane di Roma: Il metodo e i primi risultati del progetto congiunto della  Technische Universität di Berlino e della Westfälische Wilhelms - Universität di Münster, Germania, con la partecipazione dell'Università della Tuscia, Viterbo. Ricerche novembre 1999 -  dicembre 2000”, in: F. Guidobaldi and A. Guiglia Guidobaldi (eds), ‘Ecclaesiae Urbis, Atti del congresso internazionale di studi sulle chiese di Roma IV-X sec., Roma, Pontificio Istituto di  Archeologia Cristiana, 4-10.9.2000.’ (Vatican City: Pontificio Istituto di Archeologia cristiana, 2002), pp. 183–212.

[With  F.  Bandini,] “La  carta  del  patrimonio  architettonico,  archeologico  e  storico ambientale della Regione Liguria”, in: M. Guermandi (ed.), ‘Rischio archeologico: se lo conosci lo eviti, Atti del Convegno di studi su Cartografia archeologica e tutela del territorio, Ferrara, 24.-25. März 2000’ (Florence: All'insegna del giglio, 2001), pp. 40–5.

[With  T.  Mannoni and  F.  Bandini,] “Dall'archeologia  globale  del  territorio  alla  carta archeologica  numerica”, in: R. Francovich, A. Pellicanò and M. Pasquinucci (eds), ‘La carta archeologica fra ricerca e pianificazione territoriale. Atti del Seminario di studi organizzato dalla Regione Toscana, Dipartimento delle politiche formative e dei beni culturali, Firenze 6-7 Maggio, 1999’ (Florence: All'insegna del giglio, 2001), pp.43–8.

[With T. Mannoni and F. Bandini,] “La carta del patrimonio architettonico, archeologico e storico ambientale: uno strumento di conoscenza del pregio culturale dei siti”, in: ‘Atti del Workshop  "Compatibilità ambientale e opportunità di sviluppo: il ruolo della conoscenza  ambientale.  Il   progetto  Ecozero",  Genova,  14-15.12.2000’ Genova: Regione Liguria, 2000), pp.119–25.

Working papers

[With Mina Ishizu,] “Diffusion of  useful  and  reliable  knowledge in  global histories; a  case  study of intellectual  intercourse  between Holland and Japan in  late  seventeenth and early eighteenth century”, URKEW Discussion Papers, nr 6, LSE, 2011. Available here.

“The Roofs of Wren and Jones: A Seventeenth-century Migration of Technical Knowledge from Italy to England”, Working papers on The Nature of Evidence: How Well Do ‘Facts’    Travel?, 14/06, LSE, Department of Economic History. Available here.

Related Links Simona Valeriani

Royal College of Art

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