Professor Anoma Pieris

Professor in Architecture


Anoma Pieris is a professor at the Faculty of Architecture Building and Planning. She holds a BSc from the University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka, an MArch and SMArchS from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a PhD from UC Berkeley and an MPhil in geography from the University of Melbourne. She was named a Fellow of the Society of Architectural Historians - USA- in 2023.

Anoma’s training is in architectural history and in geography with a specialist focus in postcolonial and subaltern studies methods as applied to the architecture of South and Southeast Asia; more specifically to Sri Lanka and Singapore. She has published widely on issues of nationalism, citizenship and sovereignty as viewed through the lens of architecture with a specialist interest in penal architecture from the colonial period to the Pacific War. Her publications related to these topics include Architecture and Nationalism in Sri Lanka: The trouser under the cloth (Routledge 2012), Hidden Hands and Divided Landscapes: a penal history of Singapore's plural society (University of Hawaii Press 2009), Sovereignty, Space and Civil War in Sri Lanka (2018) and Architecture on the Borderline: boundary politics and built space (Routledge - Architext series 2019). Anoma was a recipient of an ARC Future Fellowship for the project Temporal Cities, Provisional Citizens: Architectures of Internment (2015-2018) which examines prisoner of war and internment architecture across the Pacific Basin during World War II. The publication from this fellowship co-authored with Lynne Horiuchi is titled The Architecture of Confinement: incarceration camps of the Pacific War (Cambridge University Press 2022). She is lead CI on an ARC Discovery Project, Architecture and Industry: The migrant contribution to nation-building (2019-22).

Anoma has published previously on the design profession in Asia and Australia with particular attention to the design of museums and cultural centres for or by Indigenous communities globally. She was co-author with Janet McGaw of Assembling the Centre: Architecture for Indigenous Cultures. Australia and Beyond (Routledge 2015) and lead author of the co-authored publication Indigenous Place: Contemporary buildings, landmarks and places of significance in southeast Australia and beyond, with F. Johnson, N. Tootell, J. McGaw and R. Berg (Melbourne School of Design 2014). Her most recent publication in this area, Indigenous Museums and Cultural Centers: An illustrated international survey (Rowman and Littlefield 2016), surveys 48 examples of Indigenous cultural facilities in Australia and overseas.

Anoma was co-editor of Fabrications the journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand (2016 - 2019) and was on the Melbourne editorial team of Post Colonial Studies (2010-2018). She is co-founder with Duanfang Lu of the Society of Architectural and Urban Historians of Asia, a transnational network aimed at fostering high quality research on Asian built environments. She was the Southeast Asia Councillor for the Asian Studies Association of Australia (2019-2020). Anoma is  on the editorial board of  Fabrications and the Hong Kong University Press book series Critical Architectural and Urban Histories of Asia. She is editor with Farhan Karim and Lee Kah Wee of the National University of Singapore Press book series,  Across the Global South:  Built Environments in Critical Perspective.  Anoma was guest curator with Martino Stierli, Sean Anderson and Evangelos Kotsioris of the 2022 MoMA exhibition, The Project of Independence: Architectures of Decolonization in South Asia, 1947-1985 and co-editor of the exhibition catalogue.  She is  exhibiting  on migrant labour on the Snowy Hydro Scheme as part of the collaborative exhibition, Immigrant Networks,  at Museo Italiano, Melbourne from 16 November 2022 - 10 February 2023.

Anoma teaches architectural history and design in the faculty across both the postgraduate and undergraduate programmes.

Featured projects



Research Hub, Centre or Institute

Research directions

Architectural and Urban Past Design and Creative Research Indigenous Place

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