Photo credit: Mark Lyon, Paris

Inderbir Singh Riar

Associate Professor

Inderbir Singh Riar is an architectural historian. He explores the ways in which postwar architects imagined the spaces of ideal citizenries. Resulting research on the architecture and urbanism of welfare states has taken several forms including a significant study (in collaboration with the Paris-based photographer Mark Lyon) on Toulouse-Le Mirail, the consequential French ville nouvelle built in the 1960s. Other work looks at West German ideologies of “reconstruction” and how cities became perceived as sites of democratic sentiment in the aftermath of war, occupation, and fascism. Parallel interests in mid-century intellectual culture inform approaches to Canadian modernism. Riar is currently preparing the book Expo 67: The Architecture of Late Modernity to be published by McGill-Queen’s University Press. These and related efforts emerge from the belief that sustained archival investigation is the wellspring of historical knowledge, critical reflection, and cultural belonging as well as contested notions on identity, memory, and power.

Riar has received grants and fellowships from various institutions such as the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts and the Canadian Centre for Architecture. In 2018-2019 he was a Getty Postdoctoral Fellow at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles. In 2018 he served as Curatorial Consultant on Find and Tell, a new digitisation initiative at the Canadian Centre for Architecture. In 2013 he was invited by The Japan Foundation as member of the Japan-U.S. Curator Exchange Program. Riar currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Diefenbunker, Canada’s Cold War Museum in Carp, Ontario.

Riar teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in the history and theory of modern architecture along with design studios.


PhD, MPhil, MArch – Columbia University

BA – McGill University