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Albert Narath

Professor Albert Narath Portrait
Associate Professor
Director of Graduate Studies
Modern and Contemporary architecture and design; environmental history; theories of technology; historiography of modernism; architecture and photography
Office: 831-459-1434
Research Interests: 

Albert Narath’s research and teaching interests focus on the history of the built environment from the 19th century to the present. His current work operates within the intersection of architectural and environmental history.

His first book is Solar Adobe: Energy, Ecology, and Earthen Architecture (University of Minnesota Press, 2024). The project focuses on the emergence of a "solar adobe" design scene in the American Southwest following World War II, when debates about ecology and technology were central to the social and political context of design developments in a range of settings, including design offices, architecture schools, government-funded energy laboratories, networks of owner-builder experimentors, and Indigenous communities.

He is currently at work on a second book project, Designing California, which is an environmental history of California design from the mid-19th century to the present.

He maintains a second research focus in the historiography of modern architecture. In tracing German art historical conceptions of the Baroque at the end of the nineteenth century, for example, he has explored the interplay between history, theory, and practice in a period when architects reexamined their discipline in the face of profound urban and political transformations.

Porter D 214
Office Hours: 

Winter 2024 Office Hours are Wednesdays, 10:00-12:00pst

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Selected Publications: 


Solar Adobe: Energy, Ecology, and Earthen Architecture (University of Minnesota Press, 2024)

Book Chapters

"The Oregon Conspiracy: John Reynolds and the Politics of Environmental Control," in Histories of Architecture Education in the United States, ed. Peter L. Laurence (London and New York: Routledge, 2024)

"Talkative Timbers: A. E. Douglass, the Beam Expeditions, and the Construction of Architectural Evidence," in Aggregate Architectal History Collaborative, eds., Writing Architectural History: Evidence and Narrative in the Twenty-First Century (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2021)

"Notes from Bioteknica, in Lyle Massey and James Nisbet, eds., The Invention of the American Desert (University of California Press, 2021)

Größstadt as Barockstadt: Art History, Advertising, and the Surface of the Neo-Baroque,” in Andrew Leach, John Macarthur and Maarten Dalbecke (eds.), The Baroque in Architectural Culture, 1880-1980 (London: Ashgate, 2015)

Essays and Articles 

"The Historiography of Mud: Vincent Scully, Ralph Knowles, and the Image of Ecology," Journal of Architecture, 2016 (Special issue on "Architectural History in the Anthropocene")

“Head Trips,” Cabinet, Spring, 2009 (co-authored with Jordan Bear)

“R. M. Schindler, Taos Pueblo, and a Country Home in Adobe Construction,” Journal of Architecture, October, 2008

Essays and Articles 

"Peter van Dresser," commentary in Lydia Kallipoliti, Closed Worlds, Or, What is the Power of Shit (Lars Muller/Storefront Editions, 2018)

“Kresge College” and “Stanford Linear Accelerator Center," entries for SAH Archipedia (Society of Architectural Historians and University of Virginia Press, 2017)


Teaching Interests: 

History of Architecture and Design, 19th Century-Present; Environmental History; History of Technology; Photography and the Built Environment

Honors and Awards: 

Selected Research Awards and Grants

Postdoctoral Fellowship

Getty Research Institute, Fall 2016-Spring 2017


Arts Dean's Fund for Excellence Grant

University of California, Santa Cruz, 2015


Committee on Research Faculty Research Grant

University of California, Santa Cruz, 2015


Paul Mellon Pre-Doctoral Fellowship

Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, National Gallery of Art, Fall 2007-Spring 2010


Selected Teaching Awards

Excellence in Teaching Award

University of California, Santa Cruz, 2018

Education and Training: 
Ph.D., History of Modern Architecture, Columbia University
M.A. with Distinction, Histories and Theories of Architecture, Architectural Association, London, UK
B.A., Anthropology, Bowdoin College