Man with glasses
Photo: 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 different forms including a significant study (in collaboration with 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 currently is 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 a wellspring of historical knowledge, critical reflection, and cultural belonging as well as a basis for uncovering changing if often contested notions on identity, memory, and power.


Riar has received grants and fellowships from various institutions including the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts and the Canadian Centre for Architecture.  Riar was a 2018-2019 Getty Postdoctoral Fellow at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles.  He served in 2018 as Curatorial Consultant on the new Find and Tell digitization initiative at the Canadian Centre for Architecture.  He was invited by The Japan Foundation as member of the 2013 Japan-U.S. Curator Exchange Program.  Riar served until 2022 on the Board of Directors at the Diefenbunker, Canada’s Cold War Museum in Carp, Ontario.


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


PhD, MPhil, M.Arch – Columbia University

B.A. (First-Class Honours), McGill University