Ife Vanable

Ife Vanable is an architect, historian, and theorist who directs i/van/able, a Bronx-based architectural workshop and think tank that produces theoretical, speculative, and physical interventions that defy prevailing notions of type, taste, and form. This work has been supported by the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), recognized by the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA), and exhibited at the 2021 Venice Architecture Biennale.

Vanable holds professional and post-professional degrees in architecture from Cornell and Princeton Universities and has studied at the Architectural Association in London and the University College of Lands and Architectural Studies (now Ardhi University) in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. She is the inaugural KPF Visiting Scholar (2021) and a Presidential Visiting Fellow (2022-2023) at Yale University's School of Architecture (YSoA) and a Ph.D. candidate in architectural history and theory at Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation (GSAPP). Her scholarly work asks questions of and seeks to unearth complex and seemingly banal relationships between the design of architecture, law, and public policy, the performance of domesticity and respectability, and the politics, aesthetics, and materiality of the making of home. She has received numerous awards, prizes, and fellowships, including a History and Theory Prize from Princeton University, a Columbia University Buell Center Fellowship, and an inaugural Black Reconstruction Collective (BRC) Prize.

Vanable's writing has been published in the Avery Review and she is co-editor of the forthcoming volume Black Production and the Space of the University. She has taught at The Cooper Union, Columbia University GSAPP, and Yale University's School of Architecture.

Academic Research/Specialty Areas

  • Architectural design
  • Architectural history
  • Architectural theory
  • Housing
  • Urbanism
  • Ideological state apparatuses
  • Public policy
  • Legal rhetoric
  • Black studies
  • Racial formation
  • History of interiors
  • Domesticities
  • Aesthetics
  • Criticism

Related Pages

Related News

Awards, Grants, and Fellowships (Selected)

  • Inaugural Black Reconstruction Collective (BRC) Prize (2022)
  • Yale University School of Architecture Presidential Visiting Fellow (2022–2023)
  • Columbia University Temple Hoyne Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture Fellowship (2021)
  • New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) Artist Fellowship (2016)
  • Princeton University School of Architecture History and Theory Prize (2014)

Exhibitions and Presentations (Selected)

  • "Up, Up, to the Sky! [Tall Tales: State Looks, Black Desire(s), Housing Schemes]" presented at "[Un]commoning Architectural Language," organized by the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) with California College of the Arts (CCA) (spring 2022)
  • "'Against the Wall,' In the Street, and On the Couch," presented at "June Jordan: Pleasures of Perspectives," Women in Design and Architecture Conference, Princeton University School of Architecture (spring 2022)
  • DEEP SEGREGATION shown at Biennale Architettura: "How will we live together?" part of Microcosms & Schisms with Nora Akawi, Lydia Kallipoliti, Lauren Kogod and Hayley Eber, The Cooper Union, Venice, Italy (2021)
  • "Dumb Dialectic" presented at the RISD Thesis + Directed Research Colloquium, Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) (fall 2021)
  • "Tall Tales: '...Up, Up to the Sky!'" Inaugural KPF Visiting Scholar Lecture. Yale University School of Architecture (fall 2021)
  • "Nothing Even Matters" part of the “Under Construction” Lecture Series organized by Lindsey May, University of Maryland (UMD) School of Architecture (fall 2020)

Publications (Selected)

  • "Working the Middle: Harlem River Park Towers and Waterside Plaza," Avery Review 30 (2018)
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