Henriette Steiner

Henriette Steiner

Associate Professor

Henriette Steiner is Associate Professor in the Section for Landscape Architecture and Planning at the University of Copenhagen. She gained her PhD in Architecture in 2008 from the University of Cambridge, UK, and was Research Associate in the Department of Architecture at ETH Zurich in Switzerland for five years. She has been a visiting Associate Professor at the Department for Urban Studies and Planning at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and in 2021 she will be Visiting Professor at the Institute of Landscape Architecture at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU) in Vienna.

Through her research and teaching, Henriette strives to inspire more self-reflective, diverse, equitable, and compassionate spatial practices for designing cities and landscapes. Her work investigates how shifting historical structures – shifting morals, ethics, politics and cultural practices – have shaped and continue to shape the buildings, cities, landscapes and cultural imaginaries we have inherited from 19th and 20th century Western modern, industrial culture. Understanding this history and heritage will make us better equipped to respond to the big challenges of the 21st century – such as climate change, population growth, inequality, pandemics etc. – without repeating mistakes made by our predecessors. To do so, Henriette engages in collaborative and interdisciplinary research and contributes to building inclusive and excellent research environments that take into account the often-invisible economies of care and collaboration.

Henriette's work has been published widely in international books and journals; she has edited ten academic books and special journal issues, and she is the author of three books. Her first book is a re-interpretation of the foundational myths of the urbanization and modernization processes of Copenhagen in the early 19th century (Routledge, 2014), and her most recent book (co-written with Kristin Veel) critically reviews the West’s cultural ambition to construct gigantic buildings and digital infrastructures in light of today’s urban and societal sustainability challenges (MIT Press, 2020). Her forthcoming book is on the spatial and affective consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic (co-written with Kristin Veel, De Gruyter 2021).

Henriette is joint project leader (with Svava Riesto) on Women in Danish Architecture 1925–1975, a three-year research project that aims to provide a more just and complete understanding of architecture history by highlighting women’s contributions to the architectural disciplines in Denmark. The project is funded by Realdania, the Independent Research Fund Denmark, the National Building Foundation, the Danish Arts Foundation, Dreyers Fond, and Karin and Georg Boyes Fondwww.womenindanisharchitecture.dk

Henriette is PhD Coordinator at the Section for Landscape Architecture and Planning, and is an elected member of the PhD Committee of the Faculty of Science at the University of Copenhagen. In 2020 she was Head of Studies on the BSc/MSc of Landscape Architecture for six months, during the first coronavirus lockdown.


Free podcast: Historian Dorthe Chakravarty has interviewed Henriette and Svava about the Women in Danish Architecture project for her podcast series. Listen here (in Danish)

  • https://www.womenindanisharchitecture.dk/podcast-dorthe-chakravarty/

Please visit the website at www.womenindanisharchitecture.dk for further information and updates about the research project.

Henriette will co-convene the PhD Course Architecture, Landscape and Gender at the University of Copenhagen in October and November 2021 – enrol here:



New book with MIT Press on gigantism in architecture and digital culture                                      


About the book:

We are proud to present our new book Tower to Tower: Gigantism in Architecture and Digital Culture (MIT Press, 2020). The book offers a cultural history of gigantism in architecture and digital culture, from the Eiffel Tower to the World Trade Center. It charts changing manifestations and understandings of the West's cultural ambition to construct gigantic things: buildings, digital networks, academic theories, even our own self-perceptions. In doing so, it probes and problematises the bigness that is all around and within us – a bigness through which we think, act, and feel in the early 21st century.

Responses to the book: 

“Through selected modern constructions—the Eiffel tower, the Twin Towers, and One World Trade Center—Tower to Tower offers a fresh, deep, and illuminating probe into the ambition to build bigger buildings, networks, and theories. This book will benefit anyone looking critically into digital culture and the domination of big moves in contemporary design.” Anne Bordeleau, O'Donovan Director, Waterloo Architecture

“Through a skillful and beautiful analysis of seemingly iconic and familiar skyscrapers in Paris, New York, and Beijing, Tower to Tower is an atlas of new concepts and vocabularies to inspire more diverse, equitable, sustainable, and critical spatial practices for the future.” Orit Halpern, Associate Professor in Interactive Design and Theory at Concordia University

“Interrogating the industrial urban overgrowth in the shape of huge pointy sticks, the authors of this beautifully written book challenge our culture's desire for the proudly erect. In their interwoven reading of architecture and communication technology, they persuasively demonstrate that 'the digital' is not just a cloud but also a spike. In response, they offer a way of cutting down to size both our habits and habitats.” Joanna Zylinska, Professor of New Media and Communications at Goldsmiths, University of London; author of Nonhuman Photography


Current course responsibility on two BA courses Landskabsarkitekturens historie, nutid og fremtid and Skrive- og Projektværksted i landskabs- og bystudier.

Supervision of BA and MA theses.

Supervision of doctoral students:

Hongxia Pu (ongoing)

Kristen van Haeren (completed, 2020) and Natalie Koerner (completed, 2019)

Postdoctoral advisor:

Jannie Bendsen (ongoing)

Maria Finn (completed, 2020)


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