Alexandra Lange will be coming to speak at the Modern Design History Seminar on Wednesday, April 17, 2013. Her talk is entitled “Founding Mothers: Architecture Criticism from Mariana Van Rensselaer to Esther McCoy, Ada Louise Huxtable, and Jane Jacobs.”

Alexandra Lange is a faculty member in the Department of Design Criticism at the School of Visual Arts and Contributing Writer and Editor at Design Observer. She received her B.A. in Architecture and Literature from Yale University, and her M.A and Ph.D. from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University. For over fifteen years, Lange has contributed to publications such as The New York Times, The Architect’s Newspaper, and Metropolis Magazine. She has authored several articles and books on domestic architecture and modern design, including Design Research: The Store That Brought Modern Living to American Homes (with Jane Thompson, Chronicle Books, 2010) and most recently Writing about Architecture: Mastering the Language of Buildings and Cities (Princeton Architectural Press, 2012). Additionally, Lange has curated “+ Housing: 2008 AIA New York Designs for Living Exhibition,” at the Center for Architecture in New York (2008–2009) and lectured at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC, and the Museum of the City of New York.

From the emergence of the architectural profession in the 1880s, there have been female critics, starting with Mariana Griswold Van Rensselaer, the first biographer of Henry Hobson Richardson and a keen observer of domestic architecture. Her work, like that of later critics, including Esther McCoy, Ada Louise Huxtable and Jane Jacobs, has sometimes been seen as a parallel or alternative narrative. Lange argues that these women are not outliers but an integral part of the development of both the critical and the architectural professions. Her talk will focus on the exemplary and enduring qualities in the writing of these four authors and attempt an answer to the question, “Why are women born critics?”

Light refreshments will be served at 5:45 pm. The presentation will begin at 6:00 pm.

RSVP is required.

PLEASE NOTE that our Lecture Hall can only accommodate a limited number of people, so please come early if you would like to have a seat in the main room. We also have overflow seating available; all registrants who arrive late will be seated in the overflow area.