Photo of Michael Windover

Michael Windover

Associate Professor; Head of Art and Architectural History

Degrees:B.A. & M.A. (University of Western Ontario), Ph.D. (University of British Columbia)
Phone:613-520-2600 x 5038
Office:475 St. Patrick's Building

I am a historian of modern architecture, design, and material culture. I have particular interests in the intersections of architecture with other media, the role of the built environment in public cultures, and the effects and affective dimensions of everyday design. In addition to my position in SSAC, I am cross appointed to the Institute for Comparative Studies in Literature, Art and Culture and to the School of Industrial Design at Carleton, as well as being adjunct curator of Design at Ingenium: Canada’s Museums of Science and Innovation. I am on the board of the Society for the Study of Architecture in Canada and commissioning editor of Dalhousie Architectural Press’s series Canadian Modern.

My published work has explored the socio-political consequences and historiography of the cultural production known today under the label of Art Deco. My work has looked at sites in Canada, the United States, and India, ranging in scale from a radio in a living room to a skyscraper, NHL hockey arena to super-cinema, emphasizing the vast reach and cosmopolitan quality of this mode of design. I recently co-edited with Dr. Bridget Elliott (Western University) the Routledge Research Companion to Art Deco.

A second area explores the visual and material culture of radio in Canada. “Seeing, Selling, and Situating Radio in Canada, 1922-56,” a collaborative project with radio historian Dr. Anne MacLennan at York University, was supported by a SSHRC Insight Grant (2012-2015) and culminated in an exhibition and catalogue in 2017. MacLennan and I also curated “Radio at Home,” an online exhibition for the Musée des ondes Emile Berliner with the support of the Digital Museums Canada investment program.

Relatedly, I have also published on the spatial impact and design of radio architecture and infrastructure, with particular emphasis on the architecture of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

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Lately, I have been working with Dr. Dustin Valen on “Small Modernisms,” a SSHRC-funded project that aims to pluralize the discourse of Canada’s postwar architecture’s historiography by emphasizing the small-scale and intimate as a means of drawing attention to under-represented actors and sites. This grows out of my interest in interiors and the challenges they pose for historians. We spend much of our lives in them, yet they are among the most mutable of designed spaces. I’ve written about design and agency, with regards to radios and interior space, as well as the place of the piano in the Edwardian living room (with Prof. James Deaville in Music). My chief contribution to Casa Loma: Millionaires, Medievalism, and Modernity in Toronto’s Gilded Age (co-edited with Dr. Matthew Reeve) draws attention to the agency of the interiors and grounds in performances of imperialist-nationalism. I led an interdisciplinary SSHRC-funded, collaborative project between Carleton University, Algonquin College, and Ingenium that also emphasizes the importance of quotidian spatial practices and interiors. “Designing Domestic Dining” involved a series of interviews with members of the Anatolian community to examine the interrelationships of food, memory, the use of domestic technology, and interior space.

I’m excited to be working with Prof. Peter Coffman on the Virtual Museum of Architecture in Ottawa project, for which we were awarded a Teaching Achievement Award from the Office of the Provost and Vice-President (Academic) in 2019. Still in its early stages, the project mobilizes student research on the designed environment of the National Capital Region in the creation of a pedagogical and research tool.

Currently, I’m co-directing the SSHRC-funded “xDX project” with Dr. Jan Hadlaw at York University. This project seeks to reconstitute digitally the objects, archives, and data associated with the collection once housed at the Design Exchange (DX) in Toronto. Working with York University, the Archives of Ontario, the Canadian Museum of History, Linked Infrastructure for Networked Cultural Scholarship (LINCS), and the Canadian Heritage Information Network (CHIN), we are developing on a linked, open data education and research tool dedicated to the study of design history in Canada.

Areas of Supervision

I have supervised undergraduate and graduate theses and directed readings courses on topics related to architectural history, design history, material culture, and heritage.

book cover image Book cover for Casa Loma: Millionaires, Medievalism and Modernity in Toronto's Gilded Age

Selected publications

Books and Exhibition Catalogues:

Windover, Michael and Anne MacLennan. Seeing, Selling, and Situating Radio in Canada, 1922-1956. Foreword by Michelangelo Sabatino. Introduction by Christine Macy. Canadian Modern series. Halifax: Dalhousie Architectural Press, 2017. 136 pages. (Winner of Independent Publisher Book Awards Bronze Medal in Popular Culture category)

Windover, Michael. Art Deco: A Mode of Mobility. Foreword by Rhodri Windsor Liscombe. Collection Patrimoine Urbain. Québec: Presses de l’Université du Québec, 2012. xxvii, 289 pages.

Books Edited:

Reeve, Matthew M. and Michael Windover, eds. Casa Loma: Millionaires, Medievalism, and Modernity in Toronto’s Gilded Age. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2023.

Elliott, Bridget and Michael Windover, eds. The Routledge Companion to Art Deco. New York: Routledge, 2019. 432 pages.

Journal Issues Guest Edited

Southcott, Tanya and Michael Windover, eds. Special issue “Women and Architecture.” The Journal of the Society for the Study of Architecture in Canada 44, no.1 (2019). 84 pages.

Chapters in Edited Books:

Windover, Michael and James Deaville. “Site-Reading: Placing the Piano in Middle-Class Homes, 1890-1930.” In The Senses and Interior Design, edited by John Potvin, Marie-Ève Marchand, and Benoit Beaulieu, 117-135. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2023.

Windover, Michael. “Performing Place: Ornamentalism at Casa Loma.” In Casa Loma: Millionaires, Medievalism, and Modernity in Toronto’s Gilded Age, edited by Matthew M. Reeve and Michael Windover, 134-168. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2023.

Windover, Michael and James Deaville. “Setting the Tone in early Twentieth-century Living Rooms: The Parlor Piano.” In The Sound of Architecture: Acoustic Atmospheres in Place, edited by Angeliki Sioli and Elisavet Kiourtsoglou, 45-58. Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2022.

Windover, Michael. “Listening for Design: Agency and History in a Philips Aachen-Super D 52.” In Design and Agency: Critical Perspective on Identities, Histories and Practices, edited by John Potvin and Marie-Ève Marchand, 97-110. London: Bloomsbury Visual Arts, 2020.

Elliott, Bridget and Michael Windover. “Introduction: What’s the use of style? The case of Art Deco.” In The Routledge Companion to Art Deco, edited by Bridget Elliott and Michael Windover, 1-10. New York: Routledge, 2019.

Windover, Michael. “Art Deco and the Fashioning of Radio Spaces.” In The Routledge Companion to Art Deco, edited by Bridget Elliott and Michael Windover, 139-159. New York: Routledge, 2019.

Windover, Michael and Hilary Grant. “Tuning In to Radio Heritage in Newfoundland.” In Politics of Scale. New Directions in Critical Heritage Studies, edited by Tuuli Lähdesmäki, Suzie Thomas and Yujie Zhu, 140-155. New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2019.

Windover, Michael.  “Digging in the Gardens: Unearthing the Experience of Modernity in Interwar Toronto.” In Architecture and the Canadian Fabric, edited by Rhodri Windsor-Liscombe, 217-245.  Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2011.


Windover, Michael. “Building Radio Publics in Post-war Canada.” Journal of Architecture 23, no. 6 (2018): 1046-1074.

Windover, Michael. “Placing Radio in Sackville, New Brunswick.” Buildings & Landscapes 24, no. 1 (Spring 2017): 46-66.

Windover, Michael. “Designing Public Radio in Canada.” RACAR 40, no. 2 (2015): 42-56.

Windover, Michael. “Transmitting Nation: ‘Bordering’ and the Architecture of the CBC in the 1930s.” Journal of the Society for the Study of Architecture in Canada 36, no. 2 (2011): 5-12.

Windover, Michael.  “Exchanging Looks: ‘Art Dekho’ Movie Theatres in Bombay.” Architectural History 52 (2009): 201-232.

Windover, Michael.  “Picturing Modernity: Exploring the Architecture of Pleasure in 1930s North Toronto.”  Journal of the Society for the Study of Architecture in Canada 32, no. 2 (2007): 55-68. (Martin Eli Weil Prize essay)