History of Art and Architecture

Christopher Drew Armstrong

(On Research Leave, 2023-24) Director of Architectural Studies and Associate Professor

Area of Specialization

Architecture & Modernization


Past PhD(s): Saskia Beranek, Amy Cymbala, Jennifer Donnelly, Courtney Long, Kylie Seltzer, Don Simpson 

In the early modern era, architecture and landscape design offered rich fields for experimentation with new models of perception. Christopher Drew Armstrong’s work investigates approaches to observation and the experience of art and architecture in the 18th and 19th centuries. He is especially interested in the construction of the ‘self’ and how this concept shapes the relationship of the individual to temporal and spatial phenomena.

At Columbia, Armstrong worked with Robin Middleton and Barry Bergdoll on travel and the ‘discovery’ of Greek architecture in the18th century. As a master’s student at the University of Toronto, he worked with Douglas Richardson on the British Gothic revival and Hans-Karl Lücke on the mythological frescos of the Venetian artist Giambattista Tiepolo. Armstrong returned to Toronto as an SSHRC post-doctoral fellow where he worked with William McAllister Johnson and taught in the Department of Fine Art and the Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design.

Education Details

Ph.D. Columbia University

M.Phil. Columbia University

M.A. University of Toronto

B.Arch. University of Toronto

Selected Publications

Julien-David Leroy and the Making of Architectural History (in press with Routledge; forthcoming October 2011).

“Des ‘Hommes Illustres’ aux ‘Artistes célèbres’, La Grande Galerie du Louvre au XIXe siècle: une histoire parlante de l’Art.”  In Le culte des grands hommes 1750-1850, ed. Thomas W. Gaehtgens and Gregor Wedekind (Paris: Maison des sciences de l‘homme, 2009), 505-534.

Qui Transtulit Sustinet: William Burges, Francis Kimball and the Architecture of Hartford’s Trinity College,” Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 59 (June 2000): 194–215.

“Projets inédits pour une Ecole de Navigation à la Malmaison, an VIII,” Bulletin de la Société des amis de Malmaison 34 (2000): 108–125.

Review of Frank Salmon’s Building on Ruins. The Rediscovery of Rome and English Architecture (London: Ashgate, 2000) in: Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 61 (June 2002): 222–224.

Review of Douglas Ord’s The National Gallery of Canada. Ideas Art Architecture (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2003) in: University of Toronto Quarterly 74 (Winter 2004/05).

“Travel and Experience in the Mediterranean of Louis XV,” in: William V. Harris, ed., Rethinking the Mediterranean (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), 235–67.

“Espaces et la longue durée: Leroy et l’histoire de l’architecture,” Livraisons d’histoire de l’architecture 10 (June 2005).

“Myth and the New Science: Tiepolo, Vico, and the Language of the Optimates,” The Art Bulletin 87 (December 2005).

Il faut ruiner un palais.... Fragmentation and Human Nature in Leroy’s Les Ruines des plus beaux monuments de la Grèce,” in: Barry Bergdoll and Werner Oechslin, eds., Fragmentation. AFestschrift for Robin Middleton (London: Thames & Hudson, 2005).

Review of Edhem Eldem’s French Trade in Istanbul in the Eighteenth Century (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 1999), in: MIT Electronic Journal of Middle East Studies (April 2004)

“The Architect as Revolutionary Hero: A Monument to Julien-David Leroy.” Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 66 (September 2007), 316-339.

Selected Awards

Institut Nationale d'Histoire de l'Art [INHA], Paris: chercheur invité / research fellow (June-July 2012)

University of Pittsburgh: David and Tina Bellet Teaching Excellence Award for outstanding and innovative teaching in undergraduate studies in the School of Arts and Sciences (2011).

Canadian Center for Architecture, Montréal: Research Fellow (July-September 2009).

University of Pittsburgh, Center for Russian and Eastern European Studies: Travel Grant (2009).

Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians: Scott Opler Fellowship (2007).

University of Pittsburgh, European Union Center of Excellence: Faculty European Grant (2007).

University of Pittsburgh, School of Arts and Sciences: Type I Third Term Research Stipend for research project: Mediterranean Exploration in the Early Enlightenment: Antiquity, Cartography, Collecting and the French Ministry of Maritime Affairs (2006).