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Albert Narath

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

Albert Narath’s research and teaching interests focus on the history of modern architecture and design from the 19th century to the present. His current work operates within the intersection of architectural history, environmental history, and anthropology. Projects on subjects such as the impact of ecological thinking on architectural practice, the history of “passive solar” design, and the adoption of environmentalist ideas in architectural education interrogate the complex relationships between the ideas of technology and nature in design discourse during the past half-century. His current book 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 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
Selected Publications: 

Book Chapters

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


"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)


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)


Book in Progress

Modernism in Mud


Selected Presentations: 

"Notes from Bioteknica: From Architecture to Cosmecology"

Lecture delivered at the "Constructing Architectural Ecologies" Symposium, California College of the Arts, San Francisco, 2018


"Raw Data"

UCLA School of Architecture and Urban Design Public Lecture Series, 2017


"Imagining Pueblo Architecture through the Energy Crisis"

College Art Association Annual Conference, New York, NY (session on The American Desert), 2017



Princeton University School of Architecture Public Lecture Series, 2017


"Modernism in Mud: Architecture and Anthropology"

Getty Research Institute, 2017


"Desert Technologies: Imagining Indigenous Design through the Energy Crisis”

The Fabricated American Desert: Modern and Anti-Modern, Huntington Library, San Marino, CA, 2016


"Desert Ecologies"

The Modernist Studies Association (Session on "The Great American Desert"), Pasadena, CA, 2016


“Barefoot in January: Room Temperature, Sensation, and the Visualization of Energy"

Annual Conference of the European Architectural History Network, Dublin, Ireland. (Panel on "Formalizations of Ambience”), 2016


“The Biotechnical House”

Design History Society Annual Conference (Panel on “Biopolitics and the American Utopian House”), San Francisco, CA, 2015


“Sundwellings: Energy, Biotechnics, and the History of Passive Solar Design”

American Society of Environmental Historians Annual Meeting (Panel on “Solar Architecture in the Expanded Field”), Washington, DC, 2015

“The Historiography of Mud: Vincent Scully, Ralph Knowles, and the Emergence of ‘Eco-Art History’”
College Art Association Annual Conference (Session on “Eco-Art History”), Chicago, IL, 2014
“The Architecture of Performance: Aesthetics and Biotechnics at the Pueblo.”
Earth USA 2013, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 2013
“The Oregon Conspiracy: Architecture and Environmentalism at the University of Oregon.”
Architecture Education Goes Outside Itself: Crossing Borders, Breaking Barriers, University of Pennsylvania School of Design, 2013
“The Architecture of Attention: Art History Rediscovers the Baroque.”
Annual Meeting of the Society of Architectural Historians, New Orleans, LA, 2011
“Baroque Expressionism, Expressionistic Baroque: Charting the Architecture of Effect.”
Annual Meeting of the Society of Architectural Historians, Chicago, IL, 2010
“Baroque Bodies.”
Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, Washington, DC, 2010
“The Baroque Effect.”
11th International Bauhaus Colloquium, Bauhaus University Weimar, Weimar, Germany, 2009
“‘Pioneering without Tears’: Rudolf Schindler, Taos Pueblo, and a Country Home in Adobe Construction”
Annual Meeting of the Society of Architectural Historians, Pittsburgh, PA, 2007
“Where the Great City Stands: Ludwig Hilberseimer’s Preparation for Architecture.”
Annual Meeting of the Society of Architectural Historians, Savannah, GA, 2006
 “Sigfried Giedion, The Eternal Present, and the Search for a Modern Monumentality.”
2nd International Alvar Aalto Conference on the Research of Modern Architecture, Jyväskylä, Finland, 2005
“A Feeling of Antiquity: Taos Pueblo and the Architectural Imagination.”
Annual Meeting of the Society of Architectural Historians, Denver, CO, 2003

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 Resdearch 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