Symposium: The Whiteness of American Architecture. Buffalo, 3 April 2019

University at Buffalo, SUNY; 403 Hayes Hall, Buffalo, NY 14222, April 3, 2019

“The Whiteness of American Architecture” is a one-day symposium in architectural history organized by the School of Architecture and Planning at the University at Buffalo, SUNY. This symposium is an outgrowth of the Race + Modern Architecture Project, an interdisciplinary workshop on the racial discourses of western architectural history from the Enlightenment to the present.

The symposium will outline a critical history of the white cultural nationalisms that have proliferated under the rubric of “American Architecture” during the long nineteenth century. This theme will be explored chronologically from the late-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century and regionally from representative avant-garde movements on the East Coast to the regionalist architectural styles of the Midwest and West Coast. Such movements included the neoclassical revivals of the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, the Chicago School of Architecture and the Prairie Style, the East Bay Style on the West Coast, the Arts & Crafts movement across the continent, and various interwar movements that claimed to find unique historical origins for an autochthonous American style of building.

The five architectural historians in attendance have been charged with providing some preliminary answers to the central question of these proceedings:

What definitions of American identity have historically influenced the most celebrated national architectural movements of the long nineteenth century, and how has this influence been manifested in the labor relations, ideological commitments and material dimensions of innovative architectural forms?

For the full description of the themes of the symposium and for more information, please visit the symposium website.

PROGRAM

11:00pm – 12:00pm – Registration and Sign-in

12:00pm – Symposium Introduction

12:15 pm – Opening Keynote:
Building Race and Nation: Slavery and Antebellum American Civic Architecture Mabel O. Wilson – Professor of Architecture, Columbia University, GSAPP

1:30 – 4:00pm – Paper Presentations

“Envy of the Rich”: Labor, Race, and Architecture in Leopold Eidlitz’s New York Kathryn Holliday – Associate Professor of Art History, University of Texas at Arlington

Frank Lloyd Wright, White Labor and the Arts and Craft of the Machine Joanna Merwood-Salisbury – Associate Dean and Professor of Architecture, Victoria University of Wellington

An Aesthetic Imperialism: Race, Politics and the Visual Economy of Bernard Maybeck’s East Bay Style Charles Davis – Assistant Professor of Architectural History, University at Buffalo, SUNY

4:00 – 5:00pm – Closed Workshop for Presenters

6:00pm – Closing Keynote
Eleanor and Wilson Greatbatch Pavilion
Darwin D. Martin House Complex

Where Was Jim Crow? Living in Wright’s America Dianne Harris – Senior Program Officer, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

 

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