Interstitial EP014

Building Character
by Charles Davis

In the nineteenth century, under the influence of scientific-rationalism, the concept of the body was transformed into a political tool for representing national identity. Architectural historian Charles Davis reveals the parallels between race and style in modern architecture.



Building Character: The Racial Politics of Modern Architectural Style

'Building Character: The Racial Politics of Modern Architectural Style' book cover

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Charles L. Davis II
University of Pittsburgh Press
December 2019

Charles L. Davis II is an assistant professor of architectural history and criticism at the University at Buffalo, SUNY. His research examines the integration of race and style theory in paradigms of “architectural organicism,” or design movements that emulated natural principles of development to produce a "living architecture." This research has been published in academic journals and magazines such as arq, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Harvard Design Magazine, Log, Aggregate, ASAP/J, and Append-x. His book, Building Character: The Racial Politics of Modern Architectural Style (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2019) was supported by grants from the Graham Foundation and the Canadian Center for Architecture. Charles is also coeditor of the cultural reader Diversity and Design: Understanding Hidden Consequences (Routledge, 2015) and Race and Modern Architecture (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2020), which collects 18 case studies on the racial discourses of modern architecture from the Enlightenment to the present.

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