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Dr Valeriani is a historian of architecture and technology, with a background in building archaeology. Her expertise also extends to the history of knowledge.

After graduating in Architecture and attending the first year of the Scuola di Specializzazione in Restauro dei Monumenti at the University of Genoa (Italy), Simona was awarded a grant by the Deutsche Forschungsgesellschaft to pursue a PhD programme in History of Art, Building Archaeology and Theory of Conservation (TU Berlin-University of Bamberg). During this period, she developed further her expertise in the field of building archaeology and participated in collaborative, interdisciplinary projects.

She joined the V&A/RCA History of Design programme in 2012, having worked for several years in the Economic History Department at the London School of Economics. There she widened her intellectual horizons, both disciplinary and geographically, acquiring experience in the field of the history and philosophy of science as well as in global history and developing further her interest and expertise in the history of technology.

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Simona has undertaken research on German and British architecture from the fifteenth to nineteenth centuries, with an interest in urban history. One focus of her research is the role played by artefacts and physical spaces in the creation of knowledge in the early modern period in a global perspective.

At LSE she worked on two projects: ‘How Well Do Facts Travel?’ (Leverhulme Trust/ ESRC) and ‘Useful and reliable Knowledge in the East and the West’ (European Research Council).  

The specificity of knowledge embodied in artefacts and people has also been at the core of her research-led teaching comprising hands on experimental methods.

Her latest research, funded by a Leverhulme Trust fellowship, is an in-depth analysis of the history of the Royal Albert Hall and its construction, which led to an interest in the women involved in the early development of Albertopolis, from mosaicists to scientists. 

Simona has developed specific expertise in the history of 3D modelling. In 2017 she initiated the International Research Network 'Architectural Models in context: creativity, skill and spectacle' (AHRC).

Following that, she coordinated research and outreach projects on the history and current practice of architectural model making, including the highly successful exhibition ‘Shaping Space’.

Her current research develops along two strands: mosaic art and nineteenth-century architectural collections.

Simona has curated a number of exhibitions and displays, including:

(2021) Shaping Space: Architectural Models Revealed, Building Centre, 24 September 2021- 28 January 2022.

(2018) Building the Royal Albert Hall, Victoria and Albert Museum, May 2017–7 Jan 2018. 

(2013) Matters of Thoughts: Models and Knowledge-production in the Early Royal Society, The Royal Society, 13 September–13 November 2013.

(2021) Publication Grant, Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art

(2020) Publishing Grant, Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain

(2019) Shaping Space - Architectural Models in Context, Arts and Humanities Research Council.

(2018) Designing the Future: Innovation and the Construction of the Royal Albert Hall, Leverhulme Trust.

(2017) Architectural models in context: creativity, skill and spectacle, Arts and Humanities Research Council.

(2021–22) Research and outreach project Shaping Space – Architectural Models in Context, a collaboration between the V&A and the Building Centre.

(2018–20) Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship Designing the Future: Innovation and the Construction of the Royal Albert Hall.

(2017–19) International Research Network: Architectural Models in Context: creativity, skill and spectacle, Funded by the AHRC, simona was the Principal Investigator.


  • The Architectural Association
  • Architekturmuseum der Technische Universität München (TUM)
  • Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Modèles et simulations pour l’Architecture et le Patrimoine (MAP)’
  • École pratique des hautes études, Sorbonne/ Research Unit EA 7347 Histoire de l'art, des représentations et de l'administration dans l'Europe moderne et contemporaine (HISTARA)
  • Royal institute of British Architects
  • Sir John Soane’s Museum

(2016–18) Thinking and Experiencing Techne, collaboration with the Making and Knowing Project, Columbia University.


Valeriani, S. The Royal Albert Hall - Building the Arts and Sciences, Brepols Publishing, forthcoming 2024.

Minter, A.; Valeriani, S. (eds.) Micro- and other Mosaics, V&A Publishing, forthcoming 2024.

Horsfall Turner, O.; Valeriani, S.; Frankhänel, T. and Wells, M. (eds.) An Alphabet of Architectural Models, Merrell, 2021.

Valeriani, S. Kirchendächer in Rom - Capriate Ecclesiae, Berliner Beiträge zur Bauforschung und Denkmalpflege III, Imhof Verlag, 2006.

Special issues of journals (edited)

Valeriani, S. and Schaefer, D. (eds.) The History of Technology in Global Perspective, Special Issue: Technology and Culture, Vol. 6.2, 2021.

Valeriani, S., Davids, K. and Ian Inkster, I. (eds.) Conceptualising the Production and Diffusion of Useful and Reliable Knowledge in Early Modern Europe, Special Issue: History of Technology, 31, 2011.

Journal articles

Valeriani, S. (2021) 'Grasping the body: physicians, tailors and holy people' in The history of Technology in Global Perspective, special issue of Technology and Culture, vol. 6.2, pp. 467-493.

Valeriani, S. and Schaefer, D. (2021) ‘Technology Is Global: The Useful & Reliable Knowledge Debate’, introduction to Technology in Global Perspective, special issue of Technology and Culture, pp. 327-347.

Valeriani, S. (2016) ‘Lovers, Gentlemen and Farmers: Architecture, Estate Management and Knowledge in Sir Roger Pratt's unpublished Writings’ in Prospectus –The Varied Role of the Amateur in Early Modern Europe, special Issue of Nuncius (V. Keller and L. Skogh eds.), 31 (2016), pp.584–609.

Valeriani, S. and Ishizu, M. (2015) ‘The Diffusion of Useful and Reliable Knowledge over the centuries of the Great Divergence: Comparative Case Study of Urban Water Supply in Early Modern England and Tokugawa Japan, in Comparativ, Zeitschrift für Globalgeschichte und vergleichende Gesellschaftsforschung, 25 (2015), 1, pp.78–97.

Valeriani, S. (2012) ‘Three-dimensional Models as “in-between-objects” – the creation of in-between knowledge in early modern architectural practice’, History of Technology, 31, pp.5–25.

Valeriani, S. (2008) ‘“In the ancient forme”.  On the reception and ‘invention’ of ancient building techniques in Early Modern Times’, Special Issue: HephaistosNew approaches in Classical Archaeology and related Fields, 26, pp.169–88.

Valeriani, S. (2008) ‘Behind the Façade: Elias Holl and the Italian influence on building techniques in Augsburg’, architectura, 38: 2, pp.97–108.

Valeriani, S. (2005) ‘S.  Cecilia in Trastevere und die Geschichte der Kirchendächer in Rom’, architectura, 35: 1, pp.32–46.

Valeriani, S. (1999) ‘La Bauforschung a Lubecca: metodi di datazione’, Archeologia dell'architettura, 4, pp.83–92.

Valeriani, S. (1998) ‘Studio storico-archeologico sull'edilizia mercantile medievale delle città anseatiche’, Archeologia dell'Architettura, 3, pp.109–23.

Selected Book chapters

Valeriani, S. ‘Copying, building, sharing. Multiple approaches to the study of a historical model’, Are You a Model?, edited by A. Meister et alia, JOVIS Verlag, forthcoming 2024.

Valeriani, S. 'The Mosaic revival in Victorian Britain', Micro and other mosaics, edited by A. Minter and S. Valeriani, V&A publishing, forthcoming 2024.

Valeriani, S. ‘La Riscoperta Vittoriana del Rinascimento: Studiare, Collezionare e Costruire a South Kensington’, Nello specchio del passato. Riscoprire l'identità e la forma nell'antichità tra Rinascimento e Neo-Rinascimenti, edited by Roberta Martinis and Edoardo Rossetti, Scalpendi, forthcoming 2024.

Valeriani, S. ‘Life and Afterlife of a Design Process: Models and Drawings of the Royal Albert Hall’, The Routledge Companion to Architectural Drawings and Models: From Translating to Archiving, Collecting and Displaying edited by Federica Goffi, 2021, pp.157-71.

Valeriani, S. ‘Models and Knowledge Production: Mechanical Arts, Natural Philosophy, and the State in Early Modern Europe’, Encyclopaedia of Early Modern Philosophy and the Sciences, edited by Dana Jalobeanu and Charles T. Wolfe, 2020, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-20791-9_257-1.

Valeriani, S. 'Botanical Knowledge in Early Modern Japan and Europe: Parallel Developments and Transformations', in, Transformation of Knowledge in Dutch Expansion (Pluralisierung  & Autorität 44), edited by S. Friedrich, S. Ehrenpreis and A. Brendecke, De Gruyter, 2015, pp.43–68. 

Valeriani, S. ‘Floors and ceilings in early Christian Basilicas in Rome’, Architraves and pouters, edited by R. Gargiani, EPFL Press, 2012, pp.128-35.

Valeriani, S. ‘Facts and Building Artefacts: What Travels in Material Objects?’, How Well Do Facts Travel?, edited by P. Howlett and M. Morgan, Cambridge University Press, 2011, pp.43–71.

Selected Published conference proceedings

Valeriani, S. (2015) 'Christopher Wren et son milieu: le maquettes architecturales dans leur contexte’, in La maquette: un outil au service de project architectural, actes du colloque qui s'est tenu les 20–21 mai 2011 à la Cité de l'architecture & du patrimoine, Éditions des Cendres, pp.59-69.

Valeriani, S. (2014) 'Constructing St Paul’s Cathedral: Modelling, Drawing and Building', in Proceedings of the 47. Tagung für Ausgrabungswissenschaft und Bauforschung der Koldewey Gesellschaft, Trier, 16–20. Mai 2012, 2014, pp.213–220.

Valeriani, S. (2008) 'Learning about Architecture and Building in 17th Century England. The case of Sir Roger Pratt', in Akten der 45. Tagung für Ausgrabungswissenschaft und Bauforschung, Koldewey Gesellschaft, Dresden: Thelen Verlag, pp.127–35.

Working papers

Valeriani, S. and Ishizu, M. (2011) Diffusion of useful and reliable knowledge in global histories; a case study of intellectual intercourse between Holland and Japan in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century, URKEW Discussion Papers, nr 6, LSE. Available here.

(2021) Advisory Board Member, Centre for the Study of the Renaissance, University of Warwick.

(2020) Peer Review College Member, Arts and Humanities Research College.

(2018) Editorial Board Member, Techne Series, Brepols.

(2016) Scientific Board Member, Society for Models Research (Gesellschaft für Modellforschung), Berlin.