Since its founding in 1964, scholarship in Penn’s Ph.D. Program in Architecture has operated under a double motive: the development of knowledge that is both descriptive and productive. Although dedication to productive knowledge may not be common in other fields, it is entirely relevant to architecture. It is a form of engagement par excellence, aimless if not oriented toward given conditions, intent on their transformation. The particularity of architecture’s productive sort of knowledge, that it gets its hands dirty in the actual transformation of the environment in which we live, has been and remains a central concern of Penn’s architectural scholarship.
Dedication to both descriptive and productive knowledge may be apparent in the titles of some of the books published by Ph.D. graduates. These books clarify developments in a number of periods and investigate a range of subjects related to architecture, landscape architecture, building technology, and urbanism. Concepts are examined—space, style, or surface color, for example—but also particular figures: Gottfried Semper, Le Corbusier, Gio Ponti, A.J. Downing, and Lawrence Halprin. This range indicates the possibility of striking a balance between architecture’s disciplinary identity, ultimately based in practice, and its engagements with several subjects and dimensions of scholarship in the university at large. Yet more than balance is at issue here, for we have learned that neither scholarship nor practice in architecture can be realized fully without reference to the other, that neither drawing nor writing can realize its potential when pursued in isolation. In reciprocity, though, they can help us know the world by productively engaging in its transformation.
On the occasion of the program’s 50th birthday we have compiled an online display of books published by its graduates, demonstrating the diversity of approaches to architecture history and theory practiced over the years, and celebrating our community’s achievements. We’ve done our best to include all titles and information as provided by the authors and available online. If we’ve forgotten your book, or if any information is inaccurate, please contact the Office of Communications at email@example.com.