The doctoral program prepares candidates for careers in university teaching, cultural advocacy and administration, museum curatorship, and publishing. It aims chiefly, however, to educate teachers capable of effectively instructing future architects in the history of their own field and its manifold connections with the culture at large. The program forges a unique combination of professional knowledge with a historical and analytical grasp of key phases in the history of architecture, especially those that have a demonstrable share in the field’s current state and the critical issues it faces.
The program secures sound training in historical study and historiography, imparting technical knowledge and awareness of intellectual trends that inform the reception and role of architecture around the world. The history of science and technology (as well as its reception in popular culture and the arts), the history of media, and an understanding of architectural practice are as important as the fine arts and literature.
Current Ph.D candidates and students
Ioanna Angelidou studies the literal and metaphorical manifestations of fragmentation in postwar architectural discourse. Taking as a theoretical premise the notion that history essentially occurs in the anticipation of incompleteness, her dissertation attempts a comparative analysis of events, projects, overlaps, and oppositions that, catalyzed by cultural shifts beyond the field of architecture per se, deploy the concept of fragmentation as an intellectual scaffold towards historical awareness. In this context, the definition of the term fragmentation is dual. On the one hand, as formal play connected to an intensified interest in the city and design with found typological objects. On the other hand, as the genealogy of an architectural technique that, like a game of cadavre exquis, spans three decades (1958-1989), encompasses a number of figures, and is sequentially articulated through a series of theories—from Hans Scharoun’s “charged void” to Aldo Rossi’s analogical architecture, and from Oswald Mathias Ungers’s design metaphors to Bernard Tschumi’s bricolagist practices of narrative-architectural events.
Prior to joining Yale, Ioanna studied architecture at Columbia University in New York and Aristotle University in Greece, and has worked as an architect in Europe and Japan, most notably with Kengo Kuma and Associates in Tokyo. Her publications include contributions to the journals Arch+, Log, GA Document, and San Rocco as well as the books Writing Place: Literary Practices in Art and Architecture (010-NAi Publishers; Delft University, 2016), Archiscripts (Birkhäuser; TU Graz; 2015) and Small Tokyo (Keio University Press, 2012). She is the recipient of fellowships from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Getty Research Institute, the Society of Architectural Historians, the Canadian Centre for Architecture, the MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies, and a Visual Arts Grant from the Japan Foundation among others.
Theodossis Issaias graduated in 2008 from the School of Architecture of the National University of Athens, (NTUA) Greece. He holds a Master of Science in Architecture and Urbanism (SMarchS AU) from the Graduate School of Architecture and Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2011). Currently, he is a Museum Research Consortium fellow at Museum of Modern Art.
Prior to the inception of the PhD he collaborated as an architect and urban designer with offices such as ORG Architects and Urban Designers (2011‐2013) and Community Development Corporations in Boston. In the summer of 2014, he participated at the 14th Venice Architectural Biennale with the collective project ‘Mechanism of Suspension’, which was exhibited at the Greek Pavilion. He is a registered architect in Greece.
Theodossis is interested in the history of modern architecture and planning and their intersection with humanitarian interventions. He researches a period between the 1920s and the 1950s when architecture, planning, and nascent welfare agencies were embedded in major intergovernmental organizations, such as the League of Nations. By focusing on the resettlement commissions of refugees in interwar Europe, his dissertation explores architecture in relation to international law and the politics of nation-states.
His research has been supported by fellowships from the Fulbright Foundation, Alexander S. Onassis Foundation, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Skender Luarasi’s research investigates the relationship of geometry and architecture. One often thinks of geometry as a solid ground that secures and stabilizes things, a metaphysical truth procedure that is universally true and absolute at any place and any time. A sphere is a sphere today, as it was in the time of Euclid… Yet, the ways and manners that bring the geometries about are never universally true or absolute. More than synchronic geometry is diachronic. More than universal truth procedure geometry is a social medium and expertise that circulates among different human and non-human agents. The research is critical of the common view that geometry is a “tool for architecture,” and investigates how architecture is also a tool for geometry. Luarasi’s research focuses particularly on the mid-century debate on proportion, and investigates how there is a direct line between this post-war geometry and today’s parametric geometry.
Skender is a licensed architect and practices in Boston and Albania. Skender holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston and a Master Degree in Architecture from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has previously taught at The School of Architecture at Washington State University, University of Massachusetts Amherst, and Rhode Island School of Design. He has published at Haecceity Journal, and presented his research and design works in several national and international conferences. He has worked as a designer for dEcoi architects/MIT Digital Design Group, Kennedy & Violich Architects Ltd and Finegold + Alexander Associates Inc in Boston.
Eugene Han’s research revisits moments in 20th century phenomenology to offer a conceptual framework for contemporary studies of visual perception. By examining the rise of phenomenology as a product of a larger rift between philosophy and the sciences, problems of form are identified as opportunities for reconciliation between aesthetics and methodology. Accordingly, form is understood as a process, an event, of reading the visible world. His research therefore involves the computational analysis of eye movements, providing a means for interpreting perceptual data rooted in aesthetics.
Eugene received his M.Arch. from the Architectural Association, London, and his B.Sc. from Art Center College of Design, Pasadena. Prior to commencing his doctoral studies at Yale, he served as Unit Master at the AA in both the Intermediate and Diploma Schools, from 2004 to 2014, as well as serving as the school’s Programme Director in Media Studies. Before setting up his own design studio in 2006, he had worked in architectural practices in London, Barcelona, and Los Angeles. His own studio’s projects include masterplanning, building, product design, and computational applications. He has taught regularly in both professional and visiting academic roles across Europe and the US.
Gary Huafan He is currently investigating theories of ornament in the context of the proliferation and development of several concurrently emerging disciplines since the late 18th-century, moving through the rise of modern architecture and culminating in an examination of 20th-century theories of society.
Gary is an architect from California. He received his B.Arch from Cornell University in 2009 and has since practiced and taught in New York City, San Francisco, and Hangzhou, China. He has contributed to the work of Bernard Tschumi, Richard Meier, Steven Holl, and Skidmore, Owings and Merrill. Gary has served as visiting juror at Syracuse and Cornell universities and has taught senior undergraduate thesis at the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou.
Prior to Yale, David practiced and taught architecture in New York, Boston, and San Francisco, specializing in the adaptive re-use of historic structures, including two Jose Lluis Sert complexes. David has taught design studios, history/theory seminars, and pre-architecture at Northeastern University, Boston Architectural College, and Harvard. At Harvard, David completed a Master’s in architectural theory, with distinction. He studied architecture at Syracuse University, where he received the Britton thesis prize for the design of a hospice in Venice, Italy. David is a frequent guest critic and lecturer, having been invited to UPenn, Penn State, Pratt, RISD, Syracuse, Wentworth, Northeastern, and Harvard.
David’s dissertation, “Caryatid: A Genealogy of the Architectural Subject,” identifies and critiques the power structures that shape dominant histories. The subject is architectural in both a disciplinary and corporeal sense, like the ancient caryatid or modern statue of liberty. In other words, the purpose of David’s research is to elaborate a biopolitical history of architecture. Simultaneously, David is developing a critical monograph on the work of the American architect and educator John Hejduk.
Zach is currently in his second year of the Ph.D. program in History and Theory at YSOA. He was previously an architectural designer in Los Angeles, CA, and Washington, DC, a high school science teacher in Milan, Italy, and a particle physics researcher in Mozumi, Japan. Originally from the DC/Baltimore area, Zach earned a B.A. in math and physics from Swarthmore College, a M.Ed. in secondary from Michigan State University, and a professional M.Arch degree from SCI-Arc. He is currently architecture editor for Yale’s graduate student literary and arts magazine Palimpsest and will beat you at a thumb war.
Zach’s research focuses on questions surrounding Benjamin’s notion of the Loss of Aura and Marx’s theory of Alienation of Labor. As an avid interdisciplinarian, Zach hopes to bring elements of Behavioral Economics, Logic, Philosophy, and Cognitive Psychology to bear on the relationship between architects and their work. Although his project is currently in its infancy, Zach is developing an understanding of boredom and its implications within the field of architecture that relies on an understanding of 20th and 21st century architecture history viewed through the lens of the Industrial Revolution.
Ishraq is interested in studying the role of literature, culture, and gender politics in shaping architectural histories in South Asia, with particular focus on the intersection of architecture and politics in the 1960s. Her research projects have included the institutionalization of architectural education in the region, the work of the architect Muzharul Islam, and recording oral histories of Modern architecture in Bangladesh.
Ishraq received a BArch from BRAC University in Dhaka, Bangladesh and an MA in History & Critical Thinking from the Architectural Association in London. She has taught at the Architectural Association and at North South University in Bangladesh. She has also worked as an architect with TKNRK & Associates in Dhaka. Her work has featured in a number of publications including Scroope, the Cambridge Architecture Journal, and she has presented her research at institutions including the RWTH Aachen, the University of Kent, the University of Lincoln, the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, as well as at symposiums of the UIA and AHRA. She has won an SAH and Getty Foundation travel grant and a North South University research grant. She founded and edited the weekly architecture newsletter ADDA in Dhaka and co-curated an exhibition titled “91/2, House Time & Memory” in Dhaka in 2017.
Originally from Charlottesville, Virginia, Aaron attended the Rhode Island School of Design for his Master of Architecture where he was awarded a 2015 Graduate Studies Grant, to conduct field research aboard the container ship, ZIM San Francisco and the 2016 Alumni Travel Award to study the border between Israel and Palestine. Aaron obtained his Bachelor of Science in Architecture at the University of Cincinnati during which time he also attended the École Spéciale d'Architecture in Paris. He has worked professionally at the rendering consultancy, Studio AMD, in Providence, Rhode Island, Fougeron Architecture in San Francisco, California, and Studio Luz Architects in Boston, Massachusetts.
Aaron Tobey is currently conducting research on how the relationship between digital tools, forms of representation, and political agency in architecture informs collective social imaginations of space and processes of subjectivization. Situated at the nexus of media theory, architectural history, and science and technology studies, a major focus of this work is a combined historical and contemporary analysis of the social, political, and economic dimensions of software development and operation. Aaron’s previous academic work has explored the impacts of information, communication, and mapping technologies on the use of global trade mechanisms, new media, and perceptual augmentation in architectural space as a tool to enact social, political, and economic change.
Breathing Space: The Architecture of Pneumatic Beings (2018).
Teaching Architecture to the Masses: Vkhutemas and the Pedagogy of Space, 1920-1930 (2017).
Waiting for Architecture: John Dewey and the Limits of Modern Art (2017).
Architecture After the Death of God: Uriel Birnbaum’s Der Kaiser und der Architekt (2015). Advisor: Karsten Harries.
The Architectural Discourse of Reverberation, 1750-1900 (2014). Advisor: Kurt W. Forster.
Applicants must have appropriate academic credentials (a master’s degree or equivalent in architecture, engineering, environmental design, or, exceptionally, in a related field). Two years of professional work in an architecture office are recommended. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test taken no more than five years prior to application is required. All applicants whose native language is not English are required to take the Internet-based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL iBT), a test that includes a section on spoken English. The TOEFL requirement may be waived only for applicants who, prior to matriculation at Yale, will have received a baccalaureate degree or its international equivalent from a college or university where English is the primary language of instruction. Applicants must have studied in residence at the baccalaureate institution for at least three years to receive the waiver. A waiver will not be granted on the basis of an advanced degree (such as M.A., M.S., or Ph.D.) from any institution.
In addition to meeting qualifying criteria, candidates are required as part of the application to submit a portfolio of their own architectural work, a writing sample in the form of a substantial research paper or publication, and an explanation of their motivation for engaging in this course of study. Qualified applicants may be invited to interview with a member of the doctoral faculty.
The portfolio should be a well-edited representation of the applicant’s creative work. Portfolios may not contain videos. Anything submitted that is not entirely the applicant’s own work must be clearly identified as such.
The portfolio is submitted digitally as a single pdf document optimized not to exceed 20MB; it will need to be uploaded to the online application. Pages of the pdf portfolio should be uploaded as spreads. The digital portfolio will be viewed on computer screens, so resolution above 150 dpi is not necessary.
The Ph.D. program is administered by the Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. For questions regarding admissions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The application process
Special requirements for the Ph.D. degree
Entering students with sound professional preparation engage in a concerted course of study that leads directly to dissertation research and a doctoral degree.
Students are required to be full-time and in residence in the New Haven area during the first three academic years (see the Bulletin of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Programs and Policies). Students take twelve graduate and Ph.D. seminars for credit, including a Ph.D. seminar taught in each of the first four terms by a member of the School of Architecture faculty that introduces the student to various methodologies and areas of study. Some seminars encourage primary research on a narrow topic or focus on producing a collective body of work. Others offer a broader survey of historiographies or focus on a close reading of a body of texts. These four required seminars form the methodological core of the program.
Students are encouraged to take courses related to their specific areas of interest outside the School of Architecture. For example, a student working on Italian modernism would be encouraged to take a course in Italian history or literature. Typically, at least two of the eight elective seminars would be in related fields. Students can also opt to do independent readings with individual faculty members on their specific areas of interest.
Not later than the end of their second year, students are also expected to demonstrate competence in at least one foreign language relevant to their field of study. Language competence is more than a formality and requires some acquaintance with the literature in the chosen language. Competency may be determined by a grade of B or better in a yearlong intermediate-level language course or through examination.
The student’s field of interest is defined by the end of the second year, at which time the director of doctoral studies assigns the student an advisor, who may or may not be from the School of Architecture. At the end of the second year and after the student has taken the three oral examinations, the director of doctoral studies, in consultation with the student’s adviser, appoints a dissertation committee for the student. The dissertation committee consists of the student’s advisor plus two additional faculty members. One of the dissertation committee members should be from outside the School of Architecture, with selection based on the student’s area of interest. The dissertation committee guides and monitors the student’s progress in writing the dissertation and evaluates the dissertation upon completion.
By the end of their second year, doctoral students normally complete all course and language requirements. Oral examinations are taken on topics relevant to the student’s doctoral research. Examiners question the candidate in the presence of the director of doctoral studies and the thesis advisor.
During the third year, candidates present and defend a preliminary proposal for a dissertation topic, consisting of a topic statement, detailed program of research, and an annotated bibliography. By the end of the third year, students begin dissertation research and writing, submitting drafts of the dissertation chapters as they are completed.
While this is a five-year program, if the dissertation has not been completed by the end of year five and, at that time, the program certifies that the candidate will complete the dissertation by August of the following academic year, the candidate may be eligible in year six for a teaching position and funding for up to an additional nine months.
The program in Architecture considers teaching to be an important part of graduate training. Students in the Ph.D. program in Architecture, therefore, are expected to teach for four terms, normally in their third and fourth years. During these four terms, it is anticipated that a Ph.D. student teach in two history and theory survey courses in the student’s area of study at the School of Architecture or elsewhere in the University and teach in two design studios at the School of Architecture. Each teaching assignment shall be under the direct supervision of senior faculty.
M.Phil. The Master of Philosophy degree is awarded en route to the Ph.D. The minimum requirements for this degree are that a student has completed all requirements for the Ph.D., except the teaching fellow experience and the dissertation.
551a, Ph.D. Seminar I 1 credit. (Required in, and limited to, Ph.D. first year, fall term.) This seminar centers on a thorough examination of fundamental ideas of historiography, centering on Rome and exploring aspects of geology, culture, mapping, site development, the establishment of institutions, and the construction of buildings across several millennia, as well as a study of literature on the urbs and its worldwide impact.
552b, Ph.D. Seminar II 1 credit. (Required in, and limited to, Ph.D. first year, spring term.) This seminar centers on concepts of history and their application to architecture from Jacob Burckhardt to the present and a close reading of historiographic theories, including ethnography, modernity, and the emergence of the profession of architecture in the light of present-day critique.
553a, Ph.D. Seminar III 1 credit. (Required in, and limited to, Ph.D. second year, fall term.) Seminar content to be announced.
554b, Ph.D. Dissertation Preparation 1 credit. (Required in, and limited to, Ph.D. second year, spring term.) Ph.D. tutoring in preparation for oral examinations and formulation of a thesis topic.
In the week before the beginning of the School of Architecture fall term, the School of Architecture offers two preparation courses that are required of incoming Ph.D. students. 1. Summer Digital Media Orientation Course. This half-day orientation covers accessing the School’s servers, use of the School’s equipment, and the School’s digital media policies and procedures. 2. Arts Library Research Methodology Course. This course covers research methodologies and tools specific to the Ph.D. curriculum.