Jia Yi Gu
is a curator, scholar, and exhibition-maker working at the intersections of art and architecture. Her work focuses on histories of knowledge production and display practices across disciplines, with an emphasis on objects, exhibitions, and representational histories. Over the past decade, she has developed a pedagogical and curatorial practice centering on research-based exhibitions and the production of situations and environments, alongside the critique and transformation of institutional practices. She is director of MAK Center for Art and Architecture and co-director of Spinagu. (+)


Reorientations, co-curated with Rosario Talevi, MAK Center for Art and Architecture, Fall 2022.  Reorientations invites dialogue between artists, architects, and cultural experts to address institutional labor, beyond the public presentation of projects and work, to cultivate porosity and permeability within administrative and care-taking practices of the institution and its publics.

Nature Near: Material Experiments in Design and Architecture, Craft Contemporary as part of Getty Pacific Standard Time, Fall 2024. Nature Near is 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.


2021 Eugene MacDorman Visiting Professor,  Graduate Program in Architecture, UT Austin.

2019-2021 Visiting Artist, Graduate Program in Architecture / History Theory Experiments, California College of Arts.

2019 D. Kenneth Sargent Visiting Critic, School of Architecture, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY.

2020 Teaching Fellow, University of California, Los Angeles, Cluster Program History of Modern Thought.
2015-2017 Associate Director, Summer Institute, Department of Architecture and Urban Design, University of California Los Angeles.


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.

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

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.


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.
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.

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.

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

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.


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.

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. 

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

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).

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.