Weitzman News

Posted April 12, 2022

Daniel Barber Awarded Guggenheim Fellowship for Pioneering Work on Architecture and Climate

Daniel Barber, associate professor of architecture and director of the PhD Program in Architecture, has been awarded a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship “on the basis of prior achievement and exceptional promise,” according to the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

Barber and three other Penn faculty members were among 180 chosen from nearly 2,500 applicants for awards in 51 scholarly disciplines in this 97th annual competition for funding to “further the development of scholars and artists by assisting them to engage in research in any field of knowledge and creation in any of the arts, under the freest possible conditions,” the Foundation said.

Barber is one of two fellows selected in the category of architecture, planning & design. He is a specialist in environmental histories of architecture. His most recent book, Modern Architecture and Climate: Design before Air Conditioning, published in 2020, explores how leading architects of the 20th century took daily and seasonal climate patterns into account. He argues that climate emerged as an interdisciplinary framework for the production of a new kind of socio-ecological knowledge.

Barber's Guggenheim project, “Thermal Practices,” is focused on how to live in buildings after fossil-fuel energy sources are no longer socially viable. The project sees the “thermal interior” as a space concerned both with the engineered precision of comfort and with how novel techniques and habits can reduce energy demand.

Barber's teaching at Penn encourages architects to approach the climate emergency as a core issue in their design and scholarship. Currently on leave from Penn, he is a senior research fellow at the Centre for Apocalyptic and Post-Apocalyptic Studies at Universität Heidelberg in Germany.

Along with Barber, Penn’s 2022 Guggenheim Fellows are: in the School of Arts & Sciences, Kimberly Bowes, professor and undergraduate chair of classical studies and the director of the Integrated Studies Program, the intensive freshman curriculum for Benjamin Franklin Scholars; Guthrie Ramsey, professor emeritus of music; and Paul Saint-Amour, the Walter H. and Leonore C. Annenberg Professor in the Humanities and English Department chair.