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PH.D. IN ARCHITECTURE
Dissertations

Modernity in Translation: Early Twentieth Century German-turkish Exchanges in Land Settlement and Residential Culture
Esra Akcan
This dissertation develops a theory of translation in architecture, and explores the history of cross-cultural exchanges that transformed the land settlement policies and residential culture in Germany and Turkey during the first half of the twentieth century. When a country opens itself to what is foreign, it generates processes of alteration in its political institutions and cultural forms, which transform the local norms through these encounters. By focusing on the work of immigrants, travelers, collaborating local architects and international students, I analyze how architectural movements, styles, information and technologies travel across geographical space, and how they get transformed in their new destinations. Translation is elaborated here as a field of study that develops a vocabulary to discuss various patterns of cultural encounters, and one that evaluates different experiences of the “other” in a given context. This research has led me to three intertwined legacies of translation in residential culture between Germany and Turkey, mobilized by architects and planners some of whose work received little scholarly attention: the pre-war garden city ideal, the Siedlung and the “new building” debate, and finally the discourses around national vernacular types (“German house,” “Turkish house”). It is also argued that translations are always ideologically charged and should therefore be theorized as contested contact zones that are shaped by the tensions and conflicts created by the perceived inequalities between places.
In explaining the Turkish experience, I put forward a theory of melancholy to refer to one of these tensions, and further elaborate on the concept to critically evaluate the popular prejudgment that translation is the medium where the “authenticity of the original gets lost.” This dissertation is intended as a contribution to our understanding of modernization of the world at large, as well as a contribution to our comprehension of the potentials and conflicts integral to globalization. The historical accounts of transfer and transformation recorded in this study challenge both the assertion about the “radical otherness” of the “nonwestern” countries, and their treatment as indifferent copies of the “west.” Translation studies invalidate global/local as well as western/nonwestern oppositions, emphasizing instead the intertwined histories of modernization. As such, this dissertation aspires to show how translation makes history.
The Modern Solar House: Architecture, Energy, and the Emergence of Environmentalism, 1938-1959
Daniel A. Barber

This dissertation describes the active discourse regarding solar house heating in American architectural, engineering, political, economic, and corporate contexts from the eve of World War II until the late 1950s. Interweaving these multiple narratives, the aim of the project is threefold: to document this vital discourse, to place it in the context of the history of architecture, and to trace through it the emergence of a techno-cultural environmentalism.

Experimentation in the solar house relied on the principles of modern architecture for both energy efficiency and claims to cultural relevance. A passive “solar house principle” was developed in the late 30s in the suburban houses of George Fred Keck that involved open plans and flexible roof lines, and emphasized volumetric design. Spurred by wartime concern over energy resource depletion, architectural interest in solar heating also engaged an engineering discourse; in particular, an experimental program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology led to four solar houses and a codification of its technological parameters. Attention to the MIT projects at the UN and in the Truman and Eisenhower administrations placed the solar house as a central node in an emergent network exploring the problems and possibilities of a renewable resource economy.

Further experimentation elaborated on connections between this architectural-engineering discourse and the technical assistance regimes of development assistance; here by MIT researcher Maria Telkes, who also collaborated, at different junctures, with the architects Eleanor Raymond and Aladar Olgyay. The solar house discourse was further developed as a cultural project in the 1958 competition to design a solar heated residence, “Living With the Sun,” which coalesced the diverse formal tendencies of mid-century modernism to promote the solar house as an innovation in both lifestyle and policy.

Though the examples described are not successful as either technological objects and cultural projects, the story of the modern solar house excavates a history of the present anxiety concerning the relationship between environmental and social conditions. Perhaps most cogently, the narrative reconfigures the role of architecture within such discussions, as a site for both technological innovation and for experimentation in the formation of an environmentalist culture.

Cesare Birignani

Since antiquity the term polis has captured both the idea of city as physical settlement and that of city as community/state. This thesis will explore this constituent ambivalence as it took form in the early-modern period, tracing a series of historical shifts in the way the city was envisioned in France from the reign of Louis XIV until the Revolution. I propose to study the urban imaginary of this period by comparing the figures of the city produced by architects and utopian writers to the ideas formulated under the rubric of “police science,” the theory of the government and administration of the city.

The thesis will examine two historical phenomena and their mutual relation: first, the emergence of a new “rationality” of the city, as it developed in the discourse and practices of the police, the institution that most controlled urban transformation; and second, a profound cultural change in the way the city, in both its material and political sense, was conceived. My hypothesis is that the new ideas and representations of the city that emerged in the eighteenth century involved a fundamental rearticulation of the relation between State and civil society–the police offers a critical means to understanding that rearticulation.

Shantel Blakely

My dissertation is a study of Marco Zanuso (Milan, Italy 1916-2001). The study will show how the methodology of this architect and industrial designer, formed during the second World War and the 1950s in Milan, emphasized the engagement of current capabilities in production; inventive reuse of physical and logistical structures; and attention to social need. These themes will be explored through case studies of individual objects, including factories, domestic buildings, schools, and industrial design objects such as furniture and televisions.

Analytical comparisons to projects by contemporaries in the reconstruction mood of1945-1960 will include Milanese architects who made similar use of “béton brut” and elementary construction systems, such as Vittoriano Viganò and Figini and Pollini; and designers who shared Zanuso’s proclivities for mass design and design with roots in preexisting cultural forms and productive capacities, notably Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni. The central chapters of the study seek, through these investigations, to understand Zanuso’s notion of “mass” design in architecture and design, and to compare this notion to the “machine age” idea described by Reyner Banham (1) entailing, on one hand, the application of technology to the enhancement of everyday life and invention of new forms of living; on the other hand, rejection of the formal tastes associated with “academicism” in traditional architecture. Further, the study probes the limits of this età della macchina, in particular the decline of the machine-age style in Zanuso’s work amid the twilight of the industrial development for which such projects were optimized, as industrial production and cultural structures were replaced with those of a “tertiary” economy and other post-industrial cultural manifestations in the early to mid 1970s.(1) Theory and Design in the First Machine Age (London: Architectural Press, 1960).

Marta Caldeira
This dissertation studies a critical turn in Southern European discourses on urban form, one that shaped new approaches to political engagement in architecture and urbanism in the 1970s. Beginning in the 1960s, a group of left-leaning architects and intellectuals in Italian academia, concerned with the effects of speculative development on urban populations, theorized a new political approach to the city based on critical histories of urban form. I argue that this discourse on urban form carried an “historical imperative”—a demand to analyze the history of a city prior to any plan or project. Essential to this imperative was the idea that the history of modernity, in its processes of development and social relations, was inscribed in urban form. Accessing this knowledge via urban analysis meant accessing tools to reposition the architectural profession and critically engage with the development of the city. This study examines the discourses on urban form in the context of the Spanish and Portuguese transition to democracy, and how Iberian architects translated and deployed the central concepts of typology and urban morphology toward democratic processes such as decentralization, social preservation, and urban rights. While the history of modern architecture and politics has been typically associated with visionary utopias and state technocracy, this dissertation challenges this perspective by concentrating on the translation of discourse into the reform of professional institutions. In a circular movement between Italian theories—of Carlo Aymonino, Aldo Rossi, and Manfredo Tafuri, among others—and their Iberian translations, this study traces four institutional fronts reshaped by this critical approach to urban form: the reform of urban pedagogy and planning led by Manuel Solà-Morales in Barcelona; the introduction of typology in the preservation of historical centers; the creation of a decentralized housing program in the Portuguese SAAL process; and the revision of modern architectural historiography by Ignasi Solà-Morales, Josep Quetglas, and Víctor Perez Escolano. Interweaving the histories of Italian and Iberian architectural discourse in an expanded intellectual map, this study offers a critical reflection on the intersection of conceptual and institutional frameworks of architecture, politics, and urban form, and repositions architecture in relation to democratic processes pertaining the city.
Irene Cheng
This dissertation explores the relationship between interest in ideal architectural geometries and radical reform movements in the United States during the first half of the nineteenth century. Focusing on the example of octagon buildings, I argue that numerous antebellum Americans, from Thomas Jefferson to Orson Fowler, saw geometrically distinct architecture as a tool to cultivate new kinds of private “selves”–stronger, healthier, more rational subjectivities capable of negotiating and transforming an emergent capitalist and democratic society. Octagon architecture was imagined as a kind of private utopia—the individualistic counterpart to the era’s myriad radical communes and colonies, as well as its prisons, hospitals, and other emerging typologies for reforming human subjects. Long dismissed by most architectural historians as follies, this dissertation investigates antebellum octagon buildings as a cipher through which to unravel relationships between ideas about individual subjectivity, architecture, and radical reform at a critical period in U.S. history.
Chris Cowell

Military architecture and urbanism have played a significant yet overlooked role in the expansion and maintenance of British colonial rule within India, not least during its turbulent first century while under the private government of the East India Company (1757-1858). This dissertation traces the development over this period of the Company’s singular military formation—the cantonment—exploring how this permanent camp was conceived, developed, and spread in large numbers, especially across the subcontinent’s northern hinterlands or mufassil, those vast provincial, rural, and frontier areas of India.

I argue that there was a strategic reluctance within these spaces for these entities to appear fully crafted, fully completed. This not only enabled both their planning and function to adapt to countless situations, but also allowed for a degree of stealth in their deployment, producing a slow, psychic violence through an ambiguity of intent entirely consistent with the means and ideology of territorial extension by the British, and in the securing of this territory. Such “lack of completion” could be described as preserving the effect of a diagram or a plan in its realization, bypassing the normal requirements of translation into an architecture of open representation. This almost-aesthetic gave it a peculiar power; and this type sits distinct from the ideologies of “progress” subsequently embraced bythe Raj.
A key theoretical thrust of the research, therefore, is to explore the colonial cognitive dissonance between permanence and impermanence, and lived experience and abstraction, through the operation of the cantonment system across several phases in the ideological development of Indian colonialism. It is to determine if and what were the causal relations between the two (the system and the ideology), joining the varying scales of design and construction, internal social economy, border security, tax and revenue collection, logistics and infrastructure, and wider political and conflict strategies.

Patricio Del Real
My dissertation examines the idea of Latin America as a symbolic transnational territory constructed through Modern architecture in the 1950s. I start from a simple formulation: if there is a Latin-American Architecture, as manifested in countless uses of the term, there must be a “place” called Latin America. I search for this place by examining three architectural exhibitions that occurred in the 1950s: (1) the architecture section of the 1953 Bienal de São Paulo, Brazil; (2) Latin American Architecture since 1945, organized by the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1955, and (3) Arquitectura Panamericana, prepared by the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, Mexico City, Mexico, in 1957. My premise is that Latin America was assembled through iconographic images of Modern architectural projects in a dynamic exchange with actual buildings. As an institutional site for the production of cultural images the museum was central to the construction of Latin America during the early years of the Cold War. I aim to challenge the now-customary confrontation between Latin America and the United States by revealing the museum as a site that facilitated two-way exchanges and negotiations by creating a cosmopolitan citizen.
Meredith Gaglio

In the late-1960s, a handful of young, countercultural Americans, inspired by E. F. Schumacher’s concept of “intermediate technology,” founded the Appropriate Technology, or AT, movement in the United States. Although Schumacher’s project focused upon the ways in which technologically sustainable methods could gently and prudently support the modernization of underdeveloped nations, American proponents of AT recognized, in this approach, an opportunity to mitigate the overdevelopment of the Western world. By advocating, promoting, and effecting sustainable techniques from a grassroots to governmental level, practitioners of appropriate technology sought to prevent the further environmental, economic, and social degradation of American communities.

The mission of AT was synergistic: by implementing “appropriate” methods of energy production, building design, transportation, education, health care, and communications, appropriate technologists attempted to create comprehensive change. This disciplinary and conceptual inclusivity encouraged the organization of a diversity of AT proponents into cooperative, multifunctional groups, which acted both from within governmental bureaucracy, in the case of California’s Office of Appropriate Technology and the National Center for Appropriate Technology, and outside the Establishment, in the case of the New Alchemy Institute and RAIN collective. My dissertation centers upon these four groups – in particular, their realized projects, community outreach programs, and numerous publications – emphasizing the ways in which the initial philosophy, politics, and focus of AT evolved as the movement transitioned from a countercultural pipe dream to a widely supported solution for America’s energy problems in the wake of the 1973 Oil Crisis.

Addison Godel

This dissertation explores architectural building types as critical components of, and unique points of interface with, three infrastructural systems, built or re-built in New York City in the decades after World War II. While contemporary infrastructure is enmeshed in regional and global networks far beyond the administrative bounds of the five boroughs, an architectural focus reveals these systems as inescapably local, tied to political struggles surrounding the siting, design, and construction of buildings; to socio-technical imperatives of density; to material consequences like traffic and air pollution; and to aesthetic effects like beauty, monotony, and monumentality. Three case studies—in food distribution, telephone service, and sewage treatment—explore different spatial techniques involved in the management of commodities, information, and waste. Reading each through the social history of technology, as well as the disciplinary tools of architectural history, brings to light unique aspects of architecture’s participation in the political, social, and technological landscapes of the contemporary city.

This dissertation looks closely at the prewar roots and postwar creation of New York’s present-day systems: the adoption of the infrastructural buildings we see today, and the rejection of alternatives in design, values, and policies. It argues that the city’s vital systems, and their architectural manifestations, were largely designed according to the needs of various elite groups, in ways that supported the long-term deindustrialization and stratification of urban existence, though not according to a consistent or coherent plan. Well-studied postwar phenomena such as decentralization, automation, demographic change, and “urban crisis” take on different casts as familiar characters like politicians, property owners and architects are joined by monopoly corporations, technicians, and neighborhood organizers. Granular study of the processes that led to the adoption of particular plans, and the rejection of alternatives, reveals the city’s visual and functional landscape as one shaped by a wide—though far from democratic—range of actors.

Today, these same infrastructures, physically durable even as their social use has been redirected or transformed, continue to participate in an ostensibly postindustrial and rapidly gentrifying city. By reexamining the narratives of these systems’ design and construction, the study of infrastructural architecture illuminates this inequitable history, while revealing moments of resistance and supporting calls for the further democratization of urban life by those whose needs have been discounted.

Jennifer Gray

Chicago architect Dwight Perkins was a pivotal figure in the progressive social and political reforms that were especially strong in the Midwestern United States during the opening decades of the twentieth century. He held several municipal appointments, lobbied successfully for the passage of conservation legislation, and had personal and professional connections with prominent local reformers such as Jane Addams, the founder of Hull House settlement, John Dewey, a pragmatist philosopher and pedagogue, Charles Zueblin, a leader in the City Beautiful Movement, and Jens Jensen, a landscape architect. My contention is that this milieu shared a set of socio-political ideals that revolved around the goal of fostering a mutually responsible social democracy in place of laissez faire individualism and that the realization of this goal took on architectural form through Perkins’ designs for new social centers, namely: settlement houses, public schools, playgrounds, parks and recreation facilities.

Perkins and his compatriots envisioned these spaces as loci of democratic exchange, and when grouped together they operated as a town planning formula for creating self-governing democratic communities. This dissertation seeks to explore: 1) the substance of the social reforms desired by Perkins and his fellow progressives, which touched on issues such as assimilation, the role of public education in molding citizens, the importance of group recreation and nature study in promoting democratic behavior, as well as an emphasis on health, hygiene, safety, and efficiency; 2) the way in which Perkins’ social centers institutionalized certain middle-class values, especially with regards to gender roles and economic class; 3) the way Perkins’ realized and symbolized these agendas in his architectural designs, particularly through his use of materials, his development of new plan types, and his creation of hybrid architectural forms that often incorporated historical motifs.

Helen Gyger
On the cover of its August 1963 issue, Architectural Design presented a striking view of the city of Lima, with its “barriadas” or squatter settlements squarely dominating the foreground. By juxtaposing modernist mass-housing projects with barriadas and aided self-help housing schemes, the magazine positioned these heretofore marginal practices as equally viable solutions warranting serious consideration. This dissertation examines the emergence of such projects as a solution to the provision of low-cost housing in Peru,1955-1986 . The period opens with the arrival in Peru of John F. C. Turner, whose writings advocating self-determination through the provision of self-built shelter had a significant impact internationally, and ends with Hernando de Soto’s neoliberal manifesto El otro sendero: La revolución informal, promoting the dynamism of informal housing, trade, and transport as key drivers of economic growth. The dissertation focuses on three intersecting areas: the social and political conditions which made Peru a fertile site for innovation in low-cost housing; the influences within architectural culture leading to these alternative approaches; and the context in which international development agencies came to embrace these projects in furtherance of their larger goals. In the process the dissertation aims to undertake a critical reexamination of self-help housing strategies, reassessing their potential in contemporary practice.
James Graham

The opening decades of the twentieth century saw the marked rise of three interrelated fields—applied psychology, vocational education, and occupational therapy. This dissertation explores the effects of these emerging fields on architectural modernism, as it turned to perceptual science and vocational bureaucracy as a means to judge not just design but designers. This took shape especially in a field known as psychotechnics, a discipline that blended industrial management with applied psychology and was a central but understudied legacy of the First World War. This research explores the links between architectural design (in practice and pedagogy) and the emergent bureaucracies of vocational placement and occupational therapy in the Soviet Union, the United States, and Germany, showing the sympathies between psychophysiological research (particularly that of Hugo Münsterberg) and the designs and teaching methods of figures like Nikolai Ladovsky, Moisei Ginzburg, Hannes Meyer, and László Moholy-Nagy. In the search for a modernism beyond the formal precepts of the “modern movement,” the architectural laboratory became a central scene of action, grounding architectural production in new models of research that redefined architecture’s status as a discipline.

Each chapter traces a particular thread of this encounter between psychotechnics and architecture. Chapter One explores its implications for pedagogy, exploring the influence of applied psychology (explicit and latent) in two much-discussed sites of interwar European architectural education—the Bauhaus in Dessau (particularly under Meyer) and VKhUTEMAS in Moscow, where Ladovsky instituted a Psychotechnical Laboratory of Architecture. Chapter Two asks whether Münsterberg’s psychotechnical work on distinctly urban occupations, notably those having to do with operating vehicles, implies something of a theory of the city, tracing the influence of psychotechnics in projects of urban design, whether by the Soviet ARU or in the planning of the German Autobahn. Chapter Three focuses on an emerging understanding of disability in the years following the First World War, asserting that the new fields of rehabilitation and occupational therapy are unspoken but central participants in shaping the modernisms of figures like Moholy-Nagy. What these episodes illuminate is a vision of an architecture whose modernity is not defined on the visual or technological grounds of the building, but rather in the nature of architectural “work” itself, understood in the aftermath of the First World War on a newly vocational basis.

Leslie Herman 

In surveys of American architecture the so-called colonial period, from the founding of Jamestown in 1607 to the war for independence in the 1770s, has generally been viewed from an “Anglo-American” perspective. Focusing on the British colonies that would become the United States, the architecture of the period has been characterized as a direct transplantation from the “mother country” according to what architectural historian John Summerson describes as “English standards pure and simple.” So firmly has this historiographical paradigm been established that an essential “Englishness” continues to define the history of colonial America and its architecture. While recent efforts have been made to increase the diversity of those represented, one dimension still missing is the influence of Ireland in the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century. And yet, these Irish connections have long had a presence in the publicly available historical evidence. Therefore this dissertation will draw on that evidence for an alternative view of American colonial history, collecting the available Irish materials and tracing the threads that tie Ireland to America, either directly or as mediated by England. Through the assemblage of what has often been relegated to footnotes, asides, or ambiguous citations, it fashions a counter-narrative that spans the Atlantic from the Tudors to the early Hanoverians. In doing so, it explores a diverse constellation of elements including landscapes, plans, buildings, and monuments, while situating them within a larger context, thereby reframing some of the canonical events, individuals, and artifacts that appear in surveys of American architecture. With a shift in perspective comes a shift in the history, one that complicates, challenges, and at times upends, traditional or Anglo-centric readings of colonial America and the transformation of its physical environment. In fact, when seen from the perspective of Ireland a more complex story emerges, one that displaces old binaries while revealing a history that has been hiding in plain sight. Finally, the dissertation addresses both the historical and the historiographical conditions that have resulted in the gaps, ambiguities, and erasures that have contributed to keeping this history hidden.

Taking Summerson’s Architecture in Britain, 1530-1830 as a starting point and guide, the dissertation begins in the 1530s with the pre-conditions for colonization and their entanglement with architecture, then builds on historiographical foundations already laid linking the English plantations in Ireland and Virginia to trace the continuity and multiplicity of connections that run through the colonies, from New England and the “Middle Colonies” to the American south, before ending in the 1730s. In the process, well-known American works long associated with England are incorporated into a larger, intergenerational story that is intimately, and inextricably, tied to Ireland and to “Irish” networks in England and America. In addition, by examining both the historiographical as well as the historical dimensions, and placing the history and the historiography in dialogue, this dissertation hopes to offer some insights into the production of the history of the American colonial period, as well as its plans, spaces, and objects. In doing so it calls into question the essential “Englishness” of the field as it has been constructed from the late nineteenth-century onward.

Hollyamber Kennedy

This dissertation charts a spatial, architectural, and landscape history of German settlement colonialism (Siedlungskolonialismus) in the Prussian Polish Provinces and German South West Africa, between 1884 and 1918. It situates this study from the framework of Germany’s late nineteenth century project of internal colonization (innere Kolonisation), which forms an almost exact temporal parallel with Germany’s external colonial interventions and can be seen as an indispensable part of its broader apparatus, which points to new connections within its entangled fields of operation. Following several generations of German architects, planners, social scientists, and settlement practitioners (Ansiedlungspraktiker) working at the borders of empire, this dissertation asks how the colonial question of land shaped modern planning discourse at the turn of the century. Broadly speaking, I look at how state control over the freedom of movement, colonial land reclamation, and the resistance these interventions encountered contoured modernism’s politics of land. This study illustrates how the languages of German architectural and planning modernism were marked by asymmetric and discordant processes of colonial spatialization—a multivalent transfiguration of the landscape in which the local, indigenous, and pre-colonial populations played a central, if often unacknowledged, role. This project seeks in turn to read that resistance, as interlocutor, back into the history of German colonial intervention in the two regions under discussion in this study. Finally, I argue that placing these episodes together within the same discursive framework, tracing the spatiality and aesthetics of German imperial expansion from the analytic of settlement, opens up a new set of questions regarding the role of enclosure and its epistemologies in architectural modernism. This brings the often-sidelined issue of agrarian modernity and the disciplining of the landscape (in the Foucauldian sense), to bear on modern architectural histories.

Contact Hollyamber Kennedy.

Elsa Lam

Central to Canadian identity is a national consciousness of inhabiting a country of vast wilderness landscapes. This thesis explores the role of the Canadian Pacific Railway in constructing these wilderness ideals during a crucial period of national expansion, economic growth, and cultural development. In alignment with federal projects of cultural nationalism, the transcontinental railway promoted land-grant sales and tourism by representing Canadian landscapes as untouched wildernesses to be at turns tamed by agriculture, preserved as scenic locales, or assimilated to a folk heritage.

Part 1 examines the railway’s ready-made farm program of1884-1889 , which envisioned the redemption of sprawling Prairie wilderness areas through agriculture. Part 2 examines a tourism program initiated in 1887, in which luxury hotels were constructed in locations seen as exhibiting the scenic properties of sublime wilderness. Part 3 examines CPR festivals initiated from1925-1929 , in which Natives were assimilated to images of untouched wilderness settings belonging to a distant past. This thesis questions how both the railway infrastructure itself and its landscapes came to be constructing as aesthetic objects, relating to landscape traditions in Europe and North America, and contributing to the conceptualization of wilderness as an integral part of cultural nationalism.

Ayala Levin

This dissertation explores Israeli architectural and construction aid in the first decades of sub-Saharan African states independence. In the Cold War competition over development, Israel distinguished its aid by alleging a postcolonial status, similar geography, and a shared history of racial oppression to alleviate fears of neocolonial infiltration. I critically examine how Israel presented itself as a model for rapid development more applicable to African states than the West, and how the architects involved negotiated their professional practice in relation to the Israeli Foreign Ministry agendas, the African commissioners’ expectations, and the international disciplinary discourse on modern architecture. I argue that while architectural modernism was promoted in the West as the International Style, Israeli architects translated it to the African context by imbuing it with nation-building qualities such as national cohesion, labor mobilization, skill acquisition and population dispersal. Based on their labor-Zionism settler-colonial experience, as well as criticisms of the mass construction undertaken in Israel in its first decade, the architects diverged from authoritarian “high modernism” to accommodate the needs of weak governments.

Focusing on prestigious governmental and educational buildings such as the Sierra Leone parliament, Ife University in Nigeria, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ethiopia, this study brings to the fore the performative capacities of these buildings in relation to the national and international audiences they addressed as vehicles of governance and markers of a desired modernity. In other words, this study charts the international political and economic mechanisms that facilitated these projects, and the national infrastructure they were supposed to catalyze and sustain. Cutting across North-South and East-West dichotomies, the study of this modality of transnational exchange sheds new light on processes of modernization and globalization and exposes their diverse cultural and political underpinnings.

*This research is supported by the International Dissertation Research Fellowship of the Social Science Research Council, and the Institute for Religion, Culture and Public Life at Columbia University.

An Architecture for the New Britain : The Social Vision of Cedric Price’s Fun Place and Potteries Thinkbelt
Stanley J. Mathews

This dissertation is an account of two of the most forward-thinking and socially innovative architectural projects from Britain in the 1960s: Cedric Price’s Fun Palace and Potteries Thinkbelt. Price’s architecture was a response to the changing character of postwar British society, but it also served as a catalyst for transformation. In these projects, he developed an indeterminate and socially responsive architecture which encouraged individual freedom and political agency by emphasizing participation, initiative, and improvisation.

The Fun Palace was based on a constantly varying design for a new form of leisure center. Common citizens could entertain and educate themselves by assembling their own environments using cranes and prefabricated modules in an improvisational architecture. The project suggested some of the most constructive and creative uses of free time in postwar England.

In his 1966 Potteries Thinkbelt, Price further pursued new architectural ideas in the service of the failing industrial sector and its now jobless workers. In it, he proposed the conversion of a vast area of England’s once-thriving industrial heartland into an enormous High Tech think-tank, with mobile classrooms and laboratories mounted on the rail lines, moving from place to place, from housing to library to factory to computer center. Price hoped to break down the traditional wall between “pure” and “applied” science and technology, lure the scientists back to Britain, and put the nation at the forefront of advanced technologies.

Coinciding with England’s economic and industrial decline and the disastrous period of the “brain drain,” the Fun Palace and Potteries Thinkbelt integrated concepts of technological interchangeability with social participation and improvisation as innovative and egalitarian alternatives to traditional leisure and education. At the same time, these projects suggested new models of housing, building construction, and industrial production for post-industrial society. This dissertation posits the Fun Palace and Potteries Thinkbelt as integral to the social and architectural discourses of the time, and traces the reasons why these projects have been influential on the subsequent development of architecture.

Diana Jean Sandoval Martinez
This dissertation focuses on two different though interconnected uses of the word concrete, both of which were central to a largely overlooked chapter of American history—the American colonization of the Philippines (1898-1945). Originally a logician’s term meaning “actual and solid,” the word concrete only came to refer to the building material in the mid-nineteenth century, a popular usage emerging co-incident with the industrial production of Portland cement—a material that American producers and promoters argued would enable the construction of an era of durable American greatness. The dawn of an American “concrete age”—an era otherwise referred to as the Progressive Era was also a time that saw the emergence of a language of “concrete” values; of actual, specific and measurable results. This period in history saw the apparent focus of American governance shift from the abstract and foundational principles of liberty towards more tangible values of investments and returns, i.e. on ‘development.’ This dissertation examines Daniel Burnham’s City Beautiful plan for Manila in addition to the construction of the colonial institutional and infrastructural projects (government buildings, ports, forts, bridges, roads, housing and prisons) through the analysis of five of concrete’s (and sometimes Portland cement’s) qualities; portability, stability, salubrity, strength, and plasticity. Through these examples I aim to demonstrate that concrete was not only a material used widely across America’s new possession in the Far East, but was also played a role in shaping new forms of global governance.
Andrea J. Merrett

My project – an examination of the impact of feminism on American architecture from the late1960s through the 1990s – explores the ferment that shook architecture during these pivotal decades. Second-wave feminism emerged out of the turmoil of the late 1950s and early 1960s, and was well established as a movement by the time women in architecture began organizing associations and conferences in early 1970s. From early concerns about improving their numbers and status in the profession, feminist architects and architecture scholars expanded the knowledge of women’s involvement in the built environment, and challenged the boundaries of the discipline. The 1990s saw a proliferation of scholarship and academic conferences which, reflecting a broader shift towards theory in architecture and feminism, took up gender and discourse analysis. Through careful archival work, supported by extensive interviews, I seek to uncover the history of the feminist movement in architecture and assess its present-day legacies.

Andrea J. Merrett is a graduate of the professional program in architecture at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, and practiced in Montreal and Dublin. She is interested in women, gender, and feminism in architecture and is writing her dissertation on the history of feminism in American architecture. Part of her work is collecting oral histories and archival material from participants in the various feminist activities of the 1970s, 1908s, and 1990s. Andrea has received support for her work from the Buell Center, Schlesinger Library, and the International Archive of Women in Architecture. She is a founding member of architeXX.

Peter Minosh
This dissertation examines the architecture of the French, American, and Haitian revolutions as well as the French 1848 Revolution and the Paris Commune. The traditional historiography of neoclassical and Beaux-Arts architecture considers it as coextensive with the establishment of the nation-state, culminating in the institution building of the French Second Empire and postbellum United States under the banner of liberal nationalism. By examining moments of insurrection against the state and spaces outside of the conventional construal of the nation, I complicate this interpretation by highlighting its slippages and crises. My hypothesis is that democracy, as a form of social and political life, is intrinsically anarchic and paradigmatically revolutionary, and that architecture cultivates the aims and paradoxes of revolution. Revolutionary conditions, I argue, render this radical capacity of architecture salient, showing the ultimate incommensurability between architecture and the regimes that determine and delimit it.
Ginger Nolan
This project reexamines histories of modernist design by proposing to view them through a theory of “semiotic apartheids”, traces of which can first be detected in early strains of European liberal political philosophy and epistemology, eventually manifesting themselves through the putative binary of conscious versus unconscious processes of production. In the twentieth century, the categories of conscious and unconscious thought became pivotal to formulating new semiotic and aesthetic technologies, such that a peculiar association between technics and “savage thought” (the latter identified with unconscious creativity) came to underlie new methods of artistic production in Western Europe and the United States. Nolan argues that class inequalities under capitalism have been linked to the ongoing formulation of these two distinct—albeit tacit—constructs of epistemic subjectivity: one whose creative intellectual processes are believed to constitute personal property, and one whose creative intellectual processes—because these are deemed rote or unconscious—are not regarded as the property of those who wield them. This is despite the fact that the unconscious psyche or, the “Savage Mind,” was, at the same time, repeatedly invoked by modernist designers in their efforts to formulate creative technologies that tended towards digital modes of production.
CONSTRUCTED NATURES OF MODERN ARCHITECTURE IN JAPAN 1920-1940 YAMADA MAMORU, HORIGUCHI SUTEMI, AND ANTONIN RAYMOND
Ken Tadashi Oshima
This dissertation analyzes transformations in the Japanese architectural profession, focusing on both the home and the city during the pivotal interwar decades. In contrast to previous scholarship (primarily in Japanese), which isolates Japanese modern architecture from architecture in the Euro/American sphere of influence, this study traces the multi-lateral connections between Europe, the Americas and Asia. Rather than relying on a monograph, a dichotomy or an overall view, I have focused on the careers of three leading modernists in Japan: Yamada Mamoru (1894-1966), Horiguchi Sutemi (1895-1984), and Antonin Raymond (1888-1976). Their practices spanned an era of “international architecture” in which architecture became subject to rapid change world wide, not only through technological innovation but also through an exchange of information and an increase in global travel. In their distinctive ways, each architect sought to create a new architecture comprising modern forms, materials, and programs – at once responsive to the physical and social-cultural context of Japan, yet fully aware of an emerging “international” idiom. These separate careers provide a concrete means to explore several professional and personal experiences, thereby suggesting multiple ways in which modernism was configured within both local and global contexts. Although most of their works addressed in this study have been demolished and no longer exist today, this dissertation reconstructs the nature of design practice together with the materiality of structures through archival material and photographs. Seen collectively, this re-constitution affords insights into the lived and imagined experience of the interwar period, so as to provide a further foundation for our understanding of the international practices of Japanese architects today.
Empathetic Affinities, Alvar Aalto and His Milieus
Eeva-Liisa Pelkonen

Alvar Aalto’s relationships with architectural modernism can best be understood in terms of two intersecting trajectories: the large historical transformations caused by modernization (in this case, the birth of nation states on one hand and the increased internationalization of societies on the other) and the particularities of his own persona (certain restlessness and malleability). As a biography, this dissertation engages what sociologist Anthony Giddens has called the “extensionality” and “intentionality” of modernity. Aalto is examined as a subject whose actions were informed by the intellectual ideas and social situations around him as well as an agent motivated by personal preferences, calculated choices, even limitations.

The dissertation highlights that Aalto, well before he was exposed to architectural modernism, was aware that the ability to transcend national origins lies at the heart of becoming “modern.” As a consequence the relationship to his native Finland was ambivalent as increased exposure to other cultures through travel and media allowed Aalto to transform from a small-town-boy first to an aspiring cosmopolite and further to an active member in the international Modern Movement. I will acknowledge that this exposure to other cultures effected his relationship to his country of origin. The chapters, organized chronologically, will trace how Aalto addressed the relationship between national culture and international influence in his writings; how he came to represent these ideas in his buildings; how he saw his role within the international arena at different times (a cosmopolite, a mediator, an Anti-Finn, a patriot); how he was influenced by Finnish and foreign theories about the Finnish nation; and lastly, how he responded to his international reception, which often saw him in essentialist terms as a quintessentially Finnish architect. I will even argue that Aalto’s openness to other cultures was shaped and in turn shaped how Finland as a nation came to define its position within the international community.

María González Pendas

This dissertation examines the emergence of a distinct form of architectural culture in Spain during the Franquista regime (1939-1975), and draws connections between the modernization of architecture and the ideological and institutional evolution of the dictatorship. Throughout its thirty six year span, the fascist Sate led by Francisco Franco transitioned from a military autarky to a technocratic state of sorts, all the while retaining the ultraconservative, Catholic, and authoritarian values that were essential to its inception. Opus Dei cadres who came to control the governing and cultural apparatus of the regime led this particular process of reactionary modernization.

This dissertation reveals ways in wich buildings, architects and ideas about the built environment participated of this shifting scenario, arguing that the intersection of aesthetics and politics assumed the paradoxical discursive form of silence. If architects undermined the symbolic aspirations of their designs by means of abstraction and the formal and technical tropes proper to modernism, there was also a foreclosure of critical discourse and an emphasis on building as disciplinary domain. Through a series of analysis of buildings that remain silenced in the history of architecture—or emptied out of their ideological significance and that include the Tarragona Government Building and the National Pavilion for Expo'58—I make them speak of the politics of Franquismo, of the architecture culture they encompassed, and of the ways in which silence was instrumental to both. The apparent depoliticization of architecture by way of technological and formalist detours is hardly a local phenomenon. With Franquista Spain as case study, this dissertation adds to the lasting disciplinary debate on the role of, and ultimately the need for a critical ethos as a means of confronting the political agency of architecture.

Alexandra Quantrill

This dissertation explores the paradox of precision in postwar architecture, when dissonant aesthetic desires and concerns regarding environmental regulation forced a reconciliation of material techniques with theoretical accuracy. The modern ideal of exactitude was frequently at odds with the divergent processes of building research, engineering, manufacturing, and environmental management. Suspended within the strata of newly developed curtain walls was a suddenly critical technical and architectural problem: how to achieve the kind of modulated environment implied by the highly regulated lines and taut materiality of the glazed envelope. Unlike outwardly legible structural systems, typically celebrated as modernism’s heroic force, techniques of enclosure defined modern interior atmospheres. Precision was key to demarcating the interior environment, and architects relied upon the burgeoning building products industry for research on the most advanced techniques in glazing, component assembly, solar control, sealants, air-conditioning systems, and weathering.

The dissertation is structured as four case studies of enclosure details from buildings accommodating diplomacy, industrial production, risk management, and global financial operations: the United Nations Secretariat building (1952), two factory buildings for the Cummins Engine Company (1966 and 1975), the headquarters of insurance broker Willis, Faber & Dumas (1975), and the headquarters of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporations (1986). While the research centers on fragments of much larger building projects, the analysis of particular enclosures unfolds to address the spatial reverberations of progressive societal shifts over the period, from internationalized conceptions of architecture and statecraft following the Second World War, through western corporate growth and global expansion during the 1960s and 1970s, to the emergence of a neoliberal economic regime inflecting the formation of corporate space during the 1970s and 1980s. The details scrutinized here delineate interiors that operate as microcosms mirroring global social and economic circumstances.

Pollyanna Rhee

This dissertation focuses on a conservative, affluent, and white community—Santa Barbara, California to chart the rise a popular, aesthetic environmentalism in the twentieth-century United States. Acknowledged by environmentalists and historians as a principal site of the emergence of modern environmentalism after a 1969 offshore oil spill, the city’s reputation had long rested on the idea that the place epitomized California’s—and thus the nation’s—riches of natural beauty and climate. Beginning in the 1920s residents came together in a shared project of transforming the urban fabric under the belief that their city situated between the mountains and ocean could enjoy the benefits of modern, urban American life while avoiding its excesses and ills. Their work underscores how commitments and visions shared among individuals became a domesticated and inwardly-oriented and highly localized environmental politics that functioned as a lateral way to depoliticize ideas about the environment, urban life, and community belonging. Physical transformations structures conceptions of the environment over time, but were also constituted and provided visible evidence for them. Exploring granular details including specificities about place and local attachments put into relief the possibilities, but also the shortcomings, of lived experience as a catalyst for environmental action.

The first chapter, “‘Education Not Legislation’: Environmentalism Comes Home,” tracks the ways the domestic spaces and neighborhoods became a primary location of environmental action. Civic voluntary organizations run primarily by women championed uniform designs for single-family homes and across Santa Barbara in an effort to make community values and melioration visible. The seemingly nonpolitical heart of the domestic realm aligned with conceptions of the environment and nature as equally outside of politics and therefore a neutral arbiter for delineating community norms. The second chapter, “Controlling Environments: Nature, Civilization, and the Americanization of California,” interrogates how this advocacy expanded in the wake of an earthquake in 1925 that destroyed much of Santa Barbara’s downtown. The chapter presents a novel interpretation of the ways that responses to earthquakes through earthquake-resistant architecture both undermined and reinforced notions of American and Western European cultural and technical superiority. In Santa Barbara, the reconstruction privileged Spanish-Colonial revival style architecture as the form most compatible with the city’s climate, environment, and geology. This aesthetic uniformity came about through a combination of public and private means including police power to mandate architectural unity. Supporters of this urban self-fashioning argued that the style acted as a bulwark against the reigning tendencies in American urban development focused on efficiency and economic development above all else. In the context of national restrictions on immigration and the legal implementation of racial distinctions between Hispanic and non-Hispanic whites, the embrace of Spanish-Colonial revival architecture by affluent whites as a general and natural feature of California’s environment contributed to a modified narrative of California’s past that emphasized connections with the American northeast rather than indigenous, Spanish, or Mexican influences. More insidiously, the third chapter, “Nature and Nurture,” explores how social and environmental thought intertwined in discussions about California’s native plants and gardens. Prominent conservationists used plants as a means to advance human eugenics as well as environmental and conservationist concerns through the 1930s. While this has been noted by historians, these ideas permeated many facets of American life and culture.

If the first part of the dissertation focuses on ways the community attempted to better their environment, the second part centers on an attempt to maintain what they had by placing limits and boundaries on certain types of growth. The fourth chapter, “The Right to Beauty: Growth, Limits, and Maintenance,” presents the ways Santa Barbarans found themselves enmeshed in those debates and unwittingly touched upon a central implication of environmentalism—the idea that humans should limit growth and production for the sake of the earth. But this belief also had significant and sometimes unintended social implications. The desire to maintain an image of urban living aligned with an unchanging and ideal nature in the face of new population and infrastructural pressures renewed support for the idea of natural beauty as an objective and comprehensive, yet vague, means to establish boundaries for urban development. 

The final chapter, “Entitled to Environment: Oil, Expectations, and the Ends of Environmentalism,” ends with the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill which catalyzed national environmentalism while city residents stood against oil companies and the federal government. Images of Santa Barbara’s pollution and passionate rhetoric about the violation of this environment galvanized popular attention and precipitated proposals for federal environmental protections. But it also inspired a different stance. After the first Earth Day in 1970 largely inspired by the oil spill, geographer and Santa Barbara resident, Norman Sanders realized that “neither big business nor big government was solving environmental problems.” For Sanders and others, the best way to protect the environment was by tackling local problems through local citizen action. This belief provided credence to an anti-statist vision of environmental responsibility out of a personal sense of injury and loss. More broadly, the national resonance of the oil spill exposed environmentalism as a movement that raised questions regarding what citizens should expect out of a democracy and how they should live. Perhaps more significant is the ways Santa Barbarans’ experiences brushed against the idea that environmentalism, taken to its logical end, required limits on human affluence and freedom.

Quadrante and the Politicization of Architectural Discourse in Fascist Italy
David Rifkind
Through a detailed study of the journal Quadrante and its circle of architects, critics, artists and patrons, this Ph.D. dissertation investigates the relationship between modern architecture and fascist political practices in Italy during Benito Mussolini’s regime (1922-43). Rationalism, the Italian variant of the modern movement in architecture, was at once pluralistic and authoritarian, cosmopolitan and nationalistic, politically progressive and yet fully committed to the political program of Fascism. An exhaustive study of Quadrante in its social context begins to explain the relationships between the political content of an architecture that promoted itself as the appropriate expression of fascist policies, the cultural aspirations of an architecture that drew on contemporary developments in literature and the arts, and the international function of a journal that promoted Italian modernism to the rest of Europe while simultaneously exposing Italy to key developments across the Alps.
Jonah Rowen
By the early 19th Century, processes of industrialization were well underway in the British Empire. Architecture, though, began to orient and to participate in those processes through new forms of planning, production, and organization. This project focuses on the ways in which the practices of architecture and construction in the British territories of the Caribbean, Canada, and the British Isles took into account hypothetical and actual threats to buildings, particularly fire, in architectural production. If modernity may be characterized by attempts to control for an uncertain future, emerging capabilities of measurement and technologies for preempting or responding to threats to property damage suggest means of evaluating architecture that collapse quantification onto aesthetics, and which blur the line between technical knowledge and talent or skill in architectural design. Requisite to the processes of professionalization for architects, builders, and engineers were new forms of expertise aimed at hedging against unpredictability, in which architects chose materials and devices less for their representational or symbolic values than for their properties in resisting newly analyzable threats.
Historians have studied modern architecture using the notions of space and time as constitutive elements; this project seeks to redefine space in terms of atmosphere, and time in terms of material resistance (e.g., heat), thereby arriving at an alternative conception of architectural modernism. This project seeks to demonstrate architecture’s role in ushering in a modernity whose primary goal was an ability to control for hypothetical but fundamentally uncertain futures.
Manuel Shvartzberg Carrió

The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians Reservation was established in 1876, the same year as the transcontinental Southern Pacific Railroad completed a station in Palm Springs. These overlapping events would both enable and problematize the settler colonization of the Agua Caliente’s land, creating a checkerboard pattern of “fragmented jurisdiction” that was fundamental for its transformation into one of the wealthiest resorts in the United States. The territorial conflict between the Tribe and the U.S. would only begin to be legally resolved in 1977, when the Agua Caliente won the right to zone and plan their own lands. This dissertation examines how architecture, urbanism, and infrastructure mediated the technical, legal, and ideological struggles that took place in this period; sometimes enabling Imperial dispossession, other times structuring Tribal assimilation and decolonization. The dissertation historicizes and theorizes these processes by examining the modern architecture and urbanism of Palm Springs as a specific settler-colonial, “post-industrial” mode of development which was made possible by the particular territorial configuration that emerged out of nineteenth century Imperialism. It posits a correlation between settler colonialism and the settler imaginaries and material processes of technological progress, capitalist accumulation, natural resource extraction, and cultures of leisure that were uniquely developed in Palm Springs through modern architecture. Critically dismantling the connections between modern architecture, “post-industrial society,” and settler colonialism, this dissertation argues, is a necessary condition for the development of decolonial epistemologies and strategies of anti-colonial, anti-capitalist resistance.

Manuel Shvartzberg Carrió is a graduate of UCL’s the Bartlett (BArch and Diploma), and CalArts (MA in Aesthetics and Politics). He has published and exhibited his work internationally and has taught design, history, and theory at various institutions, including CalArts, University of Southern California, Woodbury University, and Columbia University. Previously, he was project architect for David Chipperfield Architects in London, where he led a number of international projects between 2006 and 2012. He has also worked at OMA in Rotterdam and with Barozzi/Veiga in Barcelona, among others.

Inderbir Singh Riar
This dissertation explores the visionary architecture of Expo 67. In particular, the thesis studies the how the official theme of the Universal and International Exhibition - “Man and His World” - was deliberately conceived as an urbanistic ensemble, notably through its parsing into massive pavilions dedicated to fields such as “Man the Producer”, “Man the Explorer”, and “Man the Provider”. Like the nineteenth-century precedents of Paxton’s Crystal Palace or Dutert’s Galerie des Machines, the theme pavilions continued the modernizing project of world’s fairs to situate spatially the relations between “man” and his objects. Yet, taken together, the pavilions were seen as ways to thoroughly re-draw or, better, re-map the “world”; their architecture would be the ultimate medium to convey what the Expo 67 organising committee had envisioned as the first fair “opposed to both corporations and nations”. The technics of long-span construction, especially the use of space frames, was instrumental to realising this extra-national project. These structures, which included Moshe Safdie’s celebrated Habitat 67 housing complex, gave contour to a growing belief among architects in notions of “flexibility” and “indeterminacy” - concepts central to three intertwined conditions impacting the programming and realisation of Expo 67: first, a Canadian architecture culture favourably disposed to discourses of systems building and systems theory; second, an international discussion on the “megastructure”, whose viability was given proof by the architecture of the fair; and third, an emergent social context popularised as “the open society”,“post-industrial society”, or “the knowledge society”.
Eunice Seng

The dissertation is a historical and theoretical analysis of modern mass housing in Singapore and Hong Kong after the Second World War prior to the establishment of a full-fledged public housing program. The comparative study examines the aesthetic and technological extension of the colonial apparatus in which the intersection of architects, housing design, media and politics transformed the postwar landscapes of the Asian colonial city-state. The immediate years following World War II was a period of political, economic and urban restructuring in Singapore and Hong Kong. New housing types and urban configurations were built in Singapore in response to the immediate crisis of post-war population boom and post-fire housing shortage. Designed by British architects and British-trained Straits Chinese in the Colonial Office, the new housing types paralleled the public housing experiments in the west. During this transitional period, housing provision revealed developments in the notion of the public, the public sector and public space in the two crown colonies, despite adopting different philosophies, approaches and planning practices in their public housing programs from the 1960s. From the onset, the modern housing estate was imbued with British social ideals - propagated by figures like Ebenezer Howard and Patrick Abercrombie - such as an undifferentiated mass population with a collective public life who would enjoy the public provision of green open spaces and amenities. The modern flat embodied imported notions of civility and public behavior. Never before were the predominantly Chinese population so visibly housed and the divisions between their public and private lives so clearly delineated. Heralded in governmental annual reports and professional publications like the RIBA journal and Far East Builder as testimonials to the continuing dominion of the Empire, modern mass housing bore economic, technological as well as political import for the colonial governments and the succeeding local governments. Educating the populace on the spaces and objects in the modern home and the appropriate conduct of modern living became a parallel project to resettlement and town planning. Apropos, this dissertation will also offer a cross-cultural perspective on the development and deployment of modern mass housing from the machine aesthetic of the first freestanding block to the first housing estates in these cities and how developments in the sphere of public housing provision realigned social relations and the collective identity of a largely immigrant population.

From the onset, the modern housing estate was imbued with British social ideals - propagated by figures like Ebenezer Howard and Patrick Abercrombie - such as an undifferentiated mass population with a collective public life who would enjoy the public provision of green open spaces and amenities. The modern flat embodied imported notions of civility and public behavior. Never before were the predominantly Chinese population so visibly housed and the divisions between their public and private lives so clearly delineated. Heralded in governmental annual reports and professional publications like the RIBA journal and Far East Builder as testimonials to the continuing dominion of the Empire, modern mass housing bore economic, technological as well as political import for the colonial governments and the succeeding local governments. Educating the populace on the spaces and objects in the modern home and the appropriate conduct of modern living became a parallel project to resettlement and town planning. Apropos, this dissertation will also offer a cross-cultural perspective on the development and deployment of modern mass housing from the machine aesthetic of the first freestanding block to the first housing estates in these cities and how developments in the sphere of public housing provision realigned social relations and the collective identity of a largely immigrant population.

Hyun Tae Jung

How did a large-scale architectural practice begin and become successful in the United States in the mid-twentieth century? By investigating, at once historically and iconographically, the firm of SOM (Skidmore, Owings & Merrill), the dissertation explores the trajectory of ‘corporate architecture.’ It focuses on the firm’s early history from 1936 to 1956, during which SOM grew from a small design firm to a large architecture-engineering firm.

SOM went through drastic transformations in organization and design in its early years. In the late 1930s, the small architecture office was highly influenced by industrial design. During World War II at the town of Oak Ridge, TN, for the Manhattan Project, the firm fully employed modern design idioms and developed a new organizational structure drawn from collaboration with the ‘military-industrial complex.’ After the war, the firm became known as both the dominant producer of corporate architecture and an efficient organizer of large-scale projects.

Over the years, SOM has had a critical impact on the prosperity and the dominance of modern architecture in America. However, a critical analysis of its history has not been done. The dissertation illustrates how by combining flexible organizational structures with an efficient design production, SOM was able to produce post-war office spaces that were repetitive yet organic.

Daniel Talesnik
This dissertation, The Itinerant Red Bauhaus, or the Third Emigration, addresses a movement of architects from Europe to the Soviet Union during the interwar period. These architects (who include Hannes Meyer and Ernst May and their respective brigades) mostly relocated before the war, and many returned to Europe after the war. This larger frame helps to situate the specific group of architecture students from the German Bauhaus who followed Meyer to the Soviet Union in 1930 after he was expelled from the directorship of the Bauhaus: the Red Bauhaus Brigade. Driven by collectivist ideology, Meyer and his short-lived brigade staged an itinerant extension of the interrupted ‘second’ Bauhaus. Part of the research focuses on Meyer’s pedagogical project in order to unfold the education received by the students and understand the evolution of their architectural ideas after they moved to the Soviet Union. The dissertation concludes in the postwar period in the countries where the Brigade members Tibor Weiner, Konrad Püschel, Philipp Tolziner, and René Mensch were independently active as designers, city planners, teachers, polemicists, and political activists. Their distinct professional approaches can be read against their Bauhaus origins and Soviet experience, but are not reducible to them. Shifting the focus from Meyer to his students allows the foregrounding of the point of view of these secondary characters, activating a new reading of the period studied and an in-depth evaluation of an overlooked Bauhaus legacy.
Urbanization and the Emergence of the Polykatoikìa. Habitat and Identity, Athens 1830-1974
Ioanna Theocharopoulou
Athenians are very proud of their city’s long heritage. At the same time they feel enormously negative about the urban development of the first half of the twentieth century, characterized by the polykatoikìa (poly = multi, katoikia= dwelling), the most ubiquitous local building type, and a blind spot in Greek architectural history. The proliferation of this housing type in the twentieth century, a direct result of the influx of internal migrants and the urgent need of shelter, has been endlessly criticized for being haphazard, unsightly and the cause of urban chaos. This dissertation situates the success of polykatoikìa urbanism within architectural history and explores it as an expression of a wider set of cultural, social, and political events that marked Greek history from the inception of the modern state to the late twentieth century. As the polykatoikìa was produced without much involvement by architects or planners, this dissertation had to construct a methodology or an approach towards marginally legal or informal development. This approach included bringing together insights from architecture, anthropology, cultural and gender studies, literature and cinema, and thinking about the ambiguities and cross-overs between Architecture-as-Art, craft processes and the local reception and appropriation of Modern Architecture against older patterns of building. The study of Athenian informal development raises the question of how to study non-architect-designed buildings and artifacts, a question that architectural history needs to open up more broadly.
Norihiko Tsuneishi

Dating back to the Edo Period (1603-1868) in Japan wherein Mitsui was a powerful merchant, their devotion to the agricultural-commercial deity—Inari and its emissary, the fox—continued after their transformation into the business conglomerate, Mitsui Zaibatsu, that established a bank, trading company and mining company in the late nineteenth century. I am investigating how architecture of the conglomerate mediated their folk-religiosity and valorized its respective sites, while also internalizing other forms of folk-religiosity, often in conflicting ways. Those sites include Mitsui’s tutelage shrine, business headquarters in Tokyo and, in particular, coal mines in Fukuoka. The dissertation intends to demonstrate that fox-related folk practices, such as Inari worship, of coal miners and corresponding structures, rooted in their previous social relations, were synchronized into capitalist processes. While Mitsui received a “gift” from the processes in the form of coal, the miners did not earn the blessing, experiencing instead a shortage of rice—the metonym of their life force. As Inari was originated in an agricultural deity, it remains profoundly ironic that Mitsui’s Inari worship did not provide enough rice for its workforce. My research deciphers this vulpine exchange at work in the making of the capitalist landscape in Japan. 

Contact Norihiko Tsuneishi

FACTS AND ARTIFACTS : OTTO NEURATH AND THE SOCIAL SCIENCE OF SOCIALIZATION
Nader Vossoughian

This dissertation traces the career of Otto Neurath (1882–1945), a Viennese intellectual who played a central role in establishing two key movements in European philosophy, the Vienna Circle and the United of Science movement, both of which rejected metaphysics and embraced empirical science. Neurath himself abhorred speculative thinking in all its cultural and social guises and spent his life trying to put his philosophy into practice. Although he is typically regarded as a philosopher of knowledge and innovator in graphic design, he pursued a range of careers that gave expression to his theoretical concerns. Between 1917 and 1940, he helped organize countless museums and exhibitions in over a dozen countries, and between 1921 and 1925 he was a leading housing officer in socialist Vienna. He brought to bear on these appointments his Austro-Marxian brand of empiricism, which was heavily utilitarian and anti-Idealist in outlook.

As a housing director, Neurath had nothing but disdain for priceless artifacts and rare artistic collections. He thought that they absorbed the subject’s attention without stimulating his or her intellect; they fetishized the “spectacle value” of objects at the expense of being socially informative. As a housing advocate and city planner, meanwhile, Neurath was an ardent critic of picturesque and Baroque planning schemes and a foe of both laissez-faire urbanism and anti-city utopianism. He believed that overly concentrated urban development bred disease and inequality, while its inverse harmed worker productivity. Most of all, he detested Beaux-Arts and Sittesque urban planning on account of the priority they gave to aesthetics, beauty, and “good taste.

Neurath’s approach to solving urban and museological issues, I argue, consisted in organizing his thoughts around facts rather than artifacts. Facts, he contended, are interconnected—they’re governed by rules rather than exceptions. Artifacts, on the other hand, project the illusion of autonomy; like the "curiosity cabinets” of the 17th century, they are defined by their relative uniqueness or singularity. They pique the imagination, he contended, but they also breed irrationalism—an escape into disorder.

For Neurath, extinguishing this “auratic” urge was central to the project of installing a truly rational culture. In the area of museum administration, I explore in my thesis how Neurath pioneered the use of mechanically reproducible media—photographs, lantern slides, graphic diagrams, and the like. Most famously, he invented a language of pictoral communication known as the International System of Typographic Picture Education (“Isotype”), whose hieroglyphic signs are all but ubiquitous in today’s airports, restrooms, and city streets. In the realm of city planning, Neurath was one of the earliest advocates of standardized mass housing. He developed innovative schemes for rationalizing the production of agrarian settlements and organizing and educating building cooperatives. He was instrumental to the careers of countless Neue Sachlichkeit modernists, including Margarete Schutte-Lihotzky, Le Corbusier, Josef Frank, and Cornelis van Eesteren, and carried on an extensive correspondence with the sociologist Ferdinand Tonnies.

In the dissertation, I conclude by critically considering the contradictions and tensions implicit to Neurath’s cultural and urbanistic philosophy. I suggest that his example does not simply reflect the musings of an isolated historical figure, but are emblematic of the holistic aspirations of Enlightenment reason.

Modernization, National Image and Ideology: Architectural History in China from the Turn of the Twentieth Century to 1953
Min-Ying Wang

The Confucian metaphysical philosophy devalued material artifacts, as a result, architecture was not traditionally seen as a scholarly field. Architectural study as an academic discipline only began as a formal discipline in the last decades of the Qing dynasty (1644-1911) when it was introduced by westerners. Since then, Chinese scholars have produced a significant body of architectural history which has helped to shape the way that Chinese people think of architecture. Given the influence and importance of these texts, a thorough account of the historiography of these works is necessary, but has yet to be done-either in English or in Chinese. The objective of this analytical study is therefore to cover the writings of the most important architectural historians that worked during the first stage of the discipline’s development in China from both within China and beyond.

Noting that the asynchronous modernization was an unspoken factor acting on all of these architectural histories, this dissertation examines the texts with a specific interest in the nationalistic ideology under-pinning their interpretation of architectural images both traditional and modern. Five types of architectural historians who were involved in the formation of this discipline are examined. They are: western sinologists including John Calvin Ferguson (1866-1945), Walter Perceval Yetts (1878- 1957), Osvald Sirén (1879-1966), Carroll Brown Malone (1886-1973), Paul Demiéville (1894-1979), Gustav Ecke (1896-1971), etc.; progressive Chinese intellectuals Yue Jiazao (1868-1944), Zhu Qiqian (1872-1964) and their fellows of the Society for Research in Chinese Architecture (1930-1945); culturally conservative architectural professionals trained abroad, represented by Liang Sicheng (1901-1972) and Lin Huiyin (1904-1955); architectural modernists, among them the most insightful was probably Tong Jun (1900-1983); and socialist writers Hu Man (1904-1986) and Feng Zikai (1898-1975).

It is found that the historians stated above actually interweaved native learning skills and architectural history, a discipline originated from the West, to fulfill the need for a national identity caused by the asynchronous modernization. This is particularly embodied in the methodologies and historical styles that they remodeled. Contrary to most prevailing post-colonial theories, their methodologies and historical styles exemplify a positive and confident local response to foreign input. By scrutinizing these historical texts, this dissertation provides a new perspective on the early history of global architecture.

Alexander Wood
This dissertation traces the changing role, status, and definition of architects, the transformation of design, drawing, and practice, and the emergence of the modern architecture firm in the United States from the end of the Civil War to the 1930s. I show how a small elite shaped the profession in their image, elevated the art of design, the culture of drafting, and the ethos of expertise into the centerpiece of their practice, and developed large, specialized, and hierarchical firms that were aligned with the most advanced sectors of the modern building industry. Through a study of the firms of Richard M. Hunt, George B. Post, McKim, Mead, and White, Cass Gilbert, and Ely Jacques Kahn, I trace the development of a stratified, hierarchical, and collaborative culture of work. I argue that such firms represented a new vision of the profession, created by architects to take advantage of a rapidly expanding market for their services, to meet the challenges of a new scale, complexity, and sophistication of buildings, and to assert their authority over the process of construction in the complex commercial environment of the modern American metropolis. 
Manufacturing a Socialist Modernity: The Architecture of Industrialized Housing in Czechoslovakia, 1945-56
Kimberly Elman Zarecor
Although it is difficult to see the crumbling, gray facades of the former Eastern Bloc as great testaments to the potentials of modern architecture, these buildings did reflect a dedication to innovation, social equality, and formal clarity unrivaled in the twentieth century. Built in an era that the West has portrayed as one of rupture, isolation, and deprivation, socialist architecture in Eastern Europe was in fact connected to contemporary experiments in the West and to the specific legacies of the interwar years. Focusing on the intersection of architects, housing design, and the state apparatus between 1945 and 1956, this study seeks to understand the development and deployment of mass-housing types in Czechoslovakia from the avant-garde-inspired projects of the immediate postwar era to the industrialized panel buildings of the 1950s. Through analyses of housing types, production methods, and professional practice, this dissertation expands our understanding of communism in Czechoslovakia by emphasizing the fluid and negotiated relationships between architects and the political structure. The project questions the image of the oppressive Communist Party imposing itself on unwilling architects by showing that in the early years of communism there was genuine support for the new system and its promise of a better future.