French architect, historian, and academic Jean-Louis Cohen passes away at 74


Jean-Louis Cohen, 1949-2023. Image: Mandanarch via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Jean-Louis Cohen, 1949-2023. Image: Mandanarch via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Jean-Louis Cohen, a renowned architectural historian, critic, educator, and curator, has sadly passed away in the Ardennes after suffering an allergic reaction from a bee sting, according to reports published this week in France and the United States.

As the Sheldon H. Solow Chair of Architectural History at the New York University Institute of Fine Arts and former Penelope Visiting Professor in Architectural History at the University of Sydney, Cohen was a beloved figure remembered by many one of his publishers, like Artforum, as being a “knowledgeable interlocutor, author, and professor, and a warm and generous mentor.”

Cohen was born in France in 1949 and began a successful career in academia following the completion of his doctoral studies and a thirteen-year tenure as the director of architectural research for France’s Ministry of Housing. Beginning in 1998, he was influential in the development of the Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine museum in Paris, which opened to the public nine years later. Cohen also participated in curatorial activities at a very high level, organizing multiple exhibitions on Le Corbusier and other topics related to modernism that were staged at leading institutions in his native country and abroad.

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Select titles include 2020’s Building a New New World: Amerikanizm in Russian Architecture, an eight-volume anthology on Frank Gehry’s drawings and major projects, and 1995’s Scenes of the World to Come: European Architecture and the American Challenge, 1893–1960, among more than a dozen others.

An archive of his work can be accessed thanks to a late donation to the Canadian Center for Architecture. Jean-Louis Cohen was 74-years-old.

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