Urban Design Historian Eric Mumford Presents Lecture, Participates in New Forum Series

The Gruen Plan for 'A Greater Fort Worth Tomorrow' was designed by the architecture firm Victor Gruen and Associates in 1956 to revitalize the business district, and alleviate traffic congestion in downtown Fort Worth.
Image courtesy of Eric Mumford

The Gruen Plan for 'A Greater Fort Worth Tomorrow' was designed by the architecture firm Victor Gruen and Associates in 1956 to revitalize the business district, and alleviate traffic congestion in downtown Fort Worth.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Eric Mumford will present a lecture at 4:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 18, in Ken and Linda Sue Shollmier Hall, Room 250 of Vol Walker Hall, on the University of Arkansas campus in Fayetteville, as part of the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design lecture series.

In addition, Mumford will participate in the inaugural session of "Conversations in Design History and Theory," a series of moderated forums presented by the Fay Jones School and featuring guest experts in architectural and design history and allied disciplines. Departments from across campus are invited to these advanced discussions on contemporary issues and research through historical and theoretical perspectives. This discussion with Mumford will take place from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 19, in the Sky Terrace Conference Room, in Vol Walker Hall. Seating is limited. Email professor Kim Sexton at ksexton@uark.edu to reserve a spot.

Mumford is an architectural and urban design historian and a licensed architect. He is the Rebecca and John Voyles Professor of Architecture in the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis, where he has taught since 1994. He also holds courtesy appointments in the departments of History and Art History and is a Faculty Scholar at the Institute for Public Health. He teaches history and theory courses, publishes peer-reviewed books and scholarly articles, participates on design studio reviews and gives invited lectures widely outside of the Sam Fox School.

In his lecture on Sept. 18, titled "CIAM and American Urbanism," Mumford will discuss how CIAM (International Congress of Modern Architecture) was an influential group of European modern architects who had a major impact on the design professions, reorienting them away from the Beaux-Arts classical tradition toward a sustained engagement with social housing, building technology, and issues of transportation and public open space.

Mainstream American urbanism, while sharing some related values in the early to mid-20th century, developed instead a preference for low-density, single-family suburban housing, usually traditional in style, and organized along state and federally maintained highway routes near widely dispersed, automobile accessible commercial and institutional uses.

For North Americans architects and educators, the predominance of the latter pattern has tended to obscure the important impacts of CIAM urbanism on the fields of architecture, landscape architecture and urban design.

This lecture examines the two directions in parallel with each other, and focuses particularly on the post-World War II era when CIAM President Josep Lluis Sert successfully developed the professional field of "urban design," an attempt to directly engage these issues in North American cities. 

Mumford is the author of The CIAM Discourse on Urbanism, 1928-1960 (MIT Press, 2000), the only book-length history of the International Congress of Modern Architecture; Modern Architecture in St. Louis (Washington University School of Architecture, 2004); Defining Urban Design: CIAM Architects and the formation of a discipline, 1937-69 (Yale University Press, 2009); and a forthcoming new textbook, Designing the Modern City: urbanism since 1850 (Yale University Press, 2018) — as well as many other academic books and scholarly articles.

He has also taught at Harvard University (in 2004 and 1996) and Columbia University (1990-93), and he received his Ph.D. in Architecture at Princeton University in 1996. He holds an M.Arch. from the MIT School of Architecture and Planning (1983), where he also studied for one semester at the Architectural Association in London (fall 1981), and an A.B. from Harvard College (1980). He also served as chair of the Harvard GSD Visiting Committee from 2011-14 and was a member of the Journal of Architectural Education (JAE) Editorial Board from 2014-17.

This is the Martha Dellinger Memorial Lecture, sponsored by Jim and Sharon Parker.

The school is pursuing continuing education credits for this lecture through the American Institute of Architects.

The public is invited to attend. Admission is free, with limited seating.

For more information, contact 479-575-4704 or fayjones.uark.edu


Haley Ruiz, communications intern
Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design
479-575-4704, heruiz@uark.edu

Michelle Parks, director of communications
Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design
479-575-4704, mparks17@uark.edu


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