Jia Yi Gu is an architectural historian, curator, and designer. Her work focuses on histories of representation and display practices in architecture, with an emphasis on objects, exhibitions, and document history. She is director of MAK Center for Art and Architecture, co-director of the architecture research and design studio Spinagu with Maxi Spina, and Visiting Faculty in Architecture at the University of Texas, Austin. 

She is currently: 

+ co-curating Ecologies of Care with Rosario Talevi. Building upon an expansive definition of care as an interspecies and planetary process, Ecologies of Care brings together an interdisciplinary group of participants in art, architecture, media and technology studies to co-produce a spatial and situational environment in Fall 2022.

+ organizing Nature Near, a curatorial research initiative exploring the intersections of architecture, craft, and science through material experimentation in historic and contemporary design practices. The project will result in an exhibition at Craft Contemporary as part of Getty Pacific Standard Time 2024, a regional initiative of programming in the arts and sciences. The research project is initiated by Craft Contemporary and co-organized with co-curator Kate Yeh Chiu and curatorial research-assistant Stratton Coffman.

+ mentoring SOM Foundation 2021-22 Fellows Viridiana Hernandez Sevilla, Corey Norman, Temi Osanyintolu, Daniella Slowik, and Kenya Steward through the Robert L. Wesley Mentorship Program.

She has recently:

+ contributed an essay on the politics, poetics and pragmatics of exhibition budgets for e-flux architecture’s Solicited: Proposals, edited by Nick Axel and James Taylor-Foster.

+ taught the undergraduate and graduate seminar Practicing Care: Ethics, Labor, and Representation, a survey of contemporary conversations on the ethics of care in art, architecture, culture, and environments, at the California College of Art, Spring 2021.

+ co-organized with Dark Matter University, a democratic network of architecture and design educators dedicated to anti-racist pedagogies. 

+ participated as an emerging scholar in American Council of Learned Society Intention Foundry, an incubator fostering new partnerships, encouraging creative speculation, and supporting collaborative problem-solving to pilot and implement initiatives to achieve a more equitable, inclusive, and just academy. 

+ presented recent research on architectural theories of mind, including problem-solving and intuition, and architectural models at SAH Montreal in March 2021 “Cardboard Knowledge: Problem Solving and Perception in Saarinen's TWA Simulations” in the panel Utopias of the Self. Session chairs: Victoria Bugge Øye, Princeton University, and Larry Busbea, University of Arizona, April 14, 2021. A version of the paper was also presented at the Doctoral Colloquium organized by gta Institute for the History and Theory of Architecture at ETH Zürich in September 28, 2021. 

+ co-organized SAH/GAHTC Teacher-to-Teacher Workshop “Backstage of the Global Histories Survey: Slow Looking, Translating, Listening, Activating” with Esra Akcan, Associate Professor, Cornell University, and Rafico Ruiz, Director of Research, Canadian Center for Architecture, March 20, 2021.

+lectured on the minor institutional practices through its data-rich details, including spreadsheets, exhibition budgets and systems of accounting in CARE-WORK: Space, Bodies, and the Politics of Care,
organized by Brittany Utting, Assistant Professor, Rice Architecture, March 2, 2021.

+co-organized Method Acts with Jonah Rowan and Jessica Varner, a series of virtual workshops by Society of Architectural Historians focused on scholarly techniques for graduate students and emerging scholars in architectural history and adjacent fields, January - February 2021.

+lectured at University of Toronto, “Surfacing Work” on recent projects by Spinagu, Nov. 25, 2020.

+co-organized “Can We Teach an Anti-racist Architectural History?” GAHTC Workshop and Roundtable. Co-organized with Irene Cheng, Charles L. Davis II, Ana María León, and Mabel O. Wilson.

+join Ana Miljacki in “Conversations on Care,” MIT Critical Broadcasting Lab + WAWD? Radio, May 5, 2020.

+presented “Analogue Models and Cardboard Cutters in Eero Saarinen & Associates, 1956-1959,” Doctoral Talks, ETH Zürich, Institute for the History and Theory of Architecture (July 23, 2020).

+ was invited participant in the research workshop and working group “Understanding the Architectural Model,” organized by Maristella Casciato, Gary Fox, Emily Pugh at the Getty Research Institute, March 10-11, 2020.

+ received the Gunnar Birkert Research Fellowship from UoM Bentley Library.

+ received the Checkpoint Charlie Fund for the project “Architecture as Cultural Exchange” with Gilly Karjevsky, Rosario Talevi, and Mimi Zeiger.

+ contributed a short essay on haptic instruments in Ivan Sutherland’s Sketchpad to the exhibition catalogue of The Architecture Machine, curated by Teresa Fankhänel, Munich Architecture Museum.

+ contributed the essay “Formats of Care” in Log 48: Expanding Modes of Practice, edited by Bryony Roberts, Winter 2020.


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