Jia Yi Gu

is a Los Angeles-based architectural researcher, curator and designer with a special interest in critical and alternative practices in architecture. She is Assistant Professor at Harvey Mudd College and co-director of Spinagu. She develops exhibitions, texts, public programs and experimental projects. (+)

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Recent Activities 

Jia Yi Gu is a Los Angeles-based architectural curator, scholar, and educator with a special interest in critical and alternative practices in architecture. She is director and curator at the MAK Center for Art and Architecture and co-director of Spinagu. She develops exhibitions, texts, public programs and experimental projects.

Recent Activities 

Website Under Construction

Recent Activities (2015—2021)

Presented her research 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. 

Co-organized SAH/GAHTC Teacher-to-Teacher Worksho “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. 

Conversation with 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. 

Received the Gunnar Birkert Research Fellowship from UoM Bentley Library. 

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

Curated and developed the curatorial topic Staging Construction at Materials & Applications, 2019. 

Invited participant to Curator’s Forum, organized by EXPO Chicago and ICI with Chicago Architecture Biennale, 2019

Appointed D. Kenneth Sargent Visiting Critic (with Maxi Spina), School of Architecture, Syracuse University, Fall 2019 

Gave the lecture “Rooms That Miss The Point,” Fall Lecture Series, Syracuse University, Oct. 1, 2019. 

Appointed Visiting Artist/Faculty, School of Architecture, California College of Arts, Fall 2019.

Lectured “The Institution Is a Proposition,”  Architecture Lecture Series, California College of the Arts, Oct. 7, 2019.

Research Residency at the Canadian Center for Architecture, Doctoral Students Program.

Invited Panelist to Formats of Care: Reclaiming Feminist Social Practice Working Symposia, Universität der Künste, Berlin, June 14, 2019.

Invited Speaker to Bogosian Fellowship Exhibition Talk with Michael Speaks and James Leng, Syracuse University, School of Architecture, May 3, 2019.

Thesis Critic, Super Jury, Undergraduate Thesis Projects, Syracuse University, School of Architecture.

Graduate Student Advisory Committee, Society of Architectural Historians, 2017-Present

Lecturer/Presenter, “The Work of a Small Architecture Institution” Midday Talks, University of Toronto, Daniels School of Architecture, February 13, 2019

Lecturer/Presenter, “Instituting Architecture,” Exploring Design Practice, University of Toronto, Daniels School of Architecture, February 13, 2019

Undergraduate seminar course “Architecture On Display,” History/Theory Seminar, Cal Poly SLO LA Metro Program, Winter 2019

Co-curated Privacies Infrastructure, Materials & Applications, Los Angeles, July 21-September 2018 with Aurora Tang)

Bergfried: Activating the Ground Floor,” Guest Speaker with Atelier Fanelsa, MakeCity Festival of Architecture & Urban Alternatives, Berlin, June 24, 2018 (Thanks to Rosario Talevi)

Making a Living in the New Culture Industries,” Moderator and Presenter, Berlinische Gallerie with MakeCity, Berlin, June 22 2018

“The Real and the Rendered,” Lecture, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Lecture Series, Helms Bakery, May 2018 (with Spinagu)

Guest Critic, Undergrad/Graduate Thesis Reviews,  California College of the Arts, April 2018

“The Institution is a Proposition” Curatorial Talk, Media Design Practices, Art Center, March 22 2018 (Thanks to Mimi Zeiger

“Architecture On Display,” History/Theory Seminar, Cal Poly SLO LA Metro Program, Spring 2018

“History of Architectural Ideas I,” History/Theory Seminar, SCI-Arc, Spring 2017, 2018

Project Grant Award for Privacies Infrastructure, Pasadena Arts Alliance, January 2018

Collective Correctives #1: On/Off,” Co-organizer, M&A / 2426 SET, October 2017

New Forensics: Scenarios and Simulated Environments,” Co-organizer with Laida Aguirre, M&A / 2426 SET, August 19, 2017

Exhibition/Production Grant Award, Graham Foundation for Advanced Study, 2017

Common Field Convening, Los Angeles, November 2–5, 2017 (Organizing Partner)

“Design Cultures,” Liberal Arts Seminar, SCI-Arc, Fall 2017

Institutions, Installations, Instruments,” Lecture, TU Berlin Architecture, June 16 2017

Associate Director, UCLA Architecture & Urban Design Summer Institute, 2014-2017

Graduate Student Lighting Talks, Co-Chair, SAH Annual Conference, Glasgow, June 2017

Guest Critic, Graduate Thesis Reviews,  Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, University of Michigan, June 2017 

“Room With A View,” Installation, One Night Stand: Last Call, Curated by Jennifer Bonner, Kyle Miller, and Volkan Alkanoglu, Vikings Motel, Los Angeles, May 20 2017 (with Spinagu)

Can A Building Own Itself? A Blockchian Workshop” Co-organizer, M&A / Navel, May 11, 2017

In and Out of Pictures”, Panelist, Symposium, UCLA A.UD, Los Angeles, April 2017

“Zoning & Its Applications”, M&A / Los Angeles Poverty Department and Rosten Woo, March 2017 (Co-organizer)

“Collaboratory: A Column is a System,” Exhibition Review, ArtPapers, January 2017

Critical Studies MA/PhD Colloquium, Co-Organizer with Maura Lucking, UCLA A.UD, Los Angeles, 2015-2016

Curatorial Assistant, “The New Creativity: Man and Machine” Sylvia Lavin, 2015