Elizabeth Riorden, University of Cincinnati, The Rebuilding of Notre Dame Cathedral

Presented By

“The rebuilding of Notre-Dame Cathedral; observations of an international ICOMOS member”

Elizabeth Riorden, Associate Professor of Architecture, 
University of Cincinnati

Elizabeth Riorden studied architecture in New York City, receiving her Master of Architecture degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Historic Preservation in 1981. After working in New York City as an architectural designer, and after 1988 as a registered architect, in 1990 she returned to an earlier career interest: archaeology. With an undergraduate degree from Brown University in Ancient and Medieval Culture (graduating magna cum laude in 1978), Riorden had always sustained an deep interest in the built environment of past civilizations; in 1989 she was invited to participate in the newly resumed excavations at Troy, in Northwest Turkey, as a collaborator to the late Prof. Manfred Korfmann of the Universität Tübingen, and to Prof. C. Brian Rose, then of the University of Cincinnati. At Troy she pursued field documentation, architectural studies, and site conservation, this last under the mentoring of an older generation of international Bauforscher and conservators consulting for the Troy project. Her Troy drawings and articles are published in numerous volumes of Studia Troica. In the mid-1990s, IBM Deutschland sponsored Riorden and her team in a project to use CATIA software to build 3D models of some of the layers of Troy most difficult to visualize. This work was expanded in the new millennium, in collaboration with Dr. Peter Jablonka of the Tübingen Troy Project, to include detailed models of six major periods of the Bronze Age and classical city. In 2002 Riorden adjusted her career path once more and became a full-time academic, teaching architectural design, history and preservation at the University of Cincinnati’s School of Architecture and Interior Design. Using the resource of CERHAS (Center for the Electronic Reconstruction of Historic and Archaeological Sites), located in her department’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning, and a generous grant from the US National Endowment for the Humanities, Riorden’s team produced the educational website “Troy” (cerhas.uc.edu/troy), which featured animations of the six computer models and other original material. In 2006, the Troy Project invited Riorden to consider authoring a “Site Management Master Plan” for Troy. With funding from INSTAP (Institute for Aegean Prehistory) and the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, Riorden and a team of two University of Cincinnati graduate architecture students spent the 2008 season at Troy preparing material and conducting observational and other studies for the Master Plan, which Riorden completed in 2009.

Riorden is a Fellow of the American Academy of Rome (Samuel H. Kress Fellowship in Historic Preservation 2002) where her Fellowship project involved a study of roof interventions in sensitive archaeological sites. She has pursued field work at the medieval site of Psalmodi in the Rhône delta of France, bringing her students to the ruined monastic site for training in advanced architectural documentation and analysis. She has given numerous public lectures on her work in Turkey and France, and is currently working on several manuscripts, on architectural and urban topics ranging from the Early Bronze Age cities of the Aegean, to diachronic analyses of Mediterranean cities. She has also served on the Board of advisors of a Cincinnati area advocacy group, the Friends of Whitewater Shaker Village, and directed her students in a successful HABS documentation of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Boulter House, which won an Honorable Mention in the 2009 Charles E. Peterson Prize.

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