Assistant Professor of History of Art & Architecture
Erin Eckhold Sassin completed her PhD in the Department of the History of Art and Architecture at Brown University in 2012, where her dissertation focused on the development of a building type serving single people in Germany from the 1860s to the 1930s and its relationship to the surrounding community, as well as its function as a social and architectural model for later modernist experiments. Erin is very interested in the intersection and co-dependence of the worlds of fine art, design and architecture in the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first centuries, as well as housing reform and identity politics in architecture and urbanism. She teaches courses with subject matter as varied as: the architecture and urbanism of Berlin (1750-present), nationalism and identity in Central European architecture and urbanism (1800-1945), the American Home, nineteenth and twentieth century architecture, methods and theories in architectural design, and architecture and utopia from St. Augustine to the present.
Forthcoming publications, both accepted for inclusion in edited volumes, concern the private/public world of middle-class German women in the late 19th century (in a volume on women and public space) and the intersections of architecture, power and ethnicity in Upper Silesia (in a collection of essays on empire in the First World War). Erin has also recently been published in a monograph on the work of Providence architect Ira Rakatansky, who trained in the 1940s under Walter Gropius.
Courses offered in the past four years.
▲ indicates offered in the current term
▹ indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]
FYSE 1407 - Gender & the Making of Space ▹
Gender and the Making of Space
In this seminar we will investigate the complex relationship between gender and architecture, examining how the design of the built environment (buildings, urban spaces, etc.) can reinforce or undermine ideas about the respective roles of women and men in society, from the creation of masculine and feminine spaces to the gendered nature of the architectural profession. By looking at both visual evidence and textual sources, we will also uncover how the social construction of gender roles and gendered spaces are—and continue to be—inflected by race, class, and sexuality.
HARC 0230 - Modern Architecture ▹
Rotating skyscrapers, green roofs, and avant-garde museums: how did we arrive in the architectural world of the early 21st century? In this course we will survey the major stylistic developments, new building types, and new technologies that have shaped European and American architecture since the late 18th century. Students will learn about the work of major architects as well as key architectural theories and debates. Special emphasis will be placed on the cultural and political contexts in which buildings are designed. 2 hrs. Lect./1 hr. disc.
Spring 2013, Spring 2014
HARC 0331 - Architectural Utopias
The Utopian Impulse in Architecture
In this seminar we will explore the impulse to create the world anew through urban planning and architecture. From St. Augustine to the New Urbanism, the imagining and building of utopian communities has played a central role in architectural thought. We will see that while some utopias were built (and generally failed), many were never meant to serve as real prescriptions for human progress, but instead functioned as critical devices that challenged the status quo (while remaining impossible dreams of a more perfect world). By the conclusion of this course you will see architectural utopias as nuanced and complex constructions, and will be able to confidently read, describe and analyze scholarly secondary and primary texts in the field of architectural history, as well as buildings and urban spaces. 3 hrs. sem.
HARC 0332 - Buildings in Context ▹
Buildings in Context
In this course we will focus on the various methods and theories that enrich and deepen our understanding of architecture and the built environment. This seminar will help students hone their analytical skills, both verbal and written, and provide them with the tools to probe the relationship of the built environment to professional practices and larger cultural forces. In general, students will gain an awareness of objects of culture broadly construed, and will sharpen their understanding of the scope and intellectual history of architecture. It is strongly encouraged that students majoring in Architectural Studies take this course in their second or third year. 3 hrs. sem.
HARC 0339 - Home: The Way We Live
Home: The Why behind the Way We Live
In this course we will examine the development of numerous housing types in America (with references to Europe). The prevalence of the single-family home today and its importance as the symbol of the "American dream" was never a forgone conclusion. In fact, the American home has been the focus of and battleground for: cooperative movements, feminism, municipal socialism, benevolent capitalism, as well as government interventions on a national scale. Therefore, the class will examine texts and visual material that introduce the numerous debates related to the form the American home should take.
HARC 0530 - Independent Architect. Design ▹
Supervised independent work in architectural analysis and design. (Approval Required)
Winter 2013, Spring 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014
HARC 0711 - Senior Thesis: History of Art ▹
Senior Thesis: History of Art *
This course is a continuation of HARC 0710 which consists of ongoing, supervised independent research with an advisor, plus organizing, writing, and presenting a thesis, which will be due on a Friday, two weeks before the end of classes. (HARC 0301 and HARC 0710)
Spring 2013, Spring 2014
HARC 0730 - Methods & Theories/Arch Design
Methods & Theories in Architectural Design
Architectural design might be described as a critical and creative form of problem solving. In this course, students will examine the various ways in which architects have conceptualized and responded to fundamental architectural problems involving form, technology, and society. Students will be encouraged to think critically about the kinds of problems that design can address; compare various methodological and theoretical approaches; and identify the issues, methods, and theories that interest them the most in their own work. This course is required of seniors in the Architectural Studies track and designed to prepare them for the senior design project. (HARC 0130 and HARC 0330, or an approved substitute course in studio design for the latter) Note: Students may be enrolled in HARC 0330 and HARC 0730 concurrently.