Prof Joanna Merwood-Salisbury

Research interests

Architectural history, 19th and 20th centuries.


PhD, Princeton University

M.Arch, McGill University

B.Arch, Victoria University of Wellington

BBSC, Victoria University of Wellington

Research interests

Although I am interested in all areas of nineteenth and twentieth century architectural history, my principal focus is the study of architecture and urbanism in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century United States. My book, Chicago 1890: The Skyscraper and the Modern City (2009), describes the development of the early Chicago skyscrapers between 1880 and the turn of the twentieth century, understanding them not only as important artifacts in the history of architecture, but also as sites for a contentious debate about the future of the industrial city. Related work explores the design of public spaces and buildings in modern cities and the socio-political contexts in which they are conceptualized and used. I am also interested in the historical inter-relationships between architecture and interior design.

Current research projects

I continue to research the idea of the first “Chicago School” of architecture as an historiographic category, and I am currently working on a new book, entitled Design for the Crowd: Patriotism and Protest in Union Square. This book investigates the history of Union Square in New York City as both a geographical location with real formal characteristics and as the symbol of competing ideas about the operation of democracy in the United States.

Selected publications

Merwood-Salisbury, J., Design for the Crown: Patriotism and Protest in Union Square, University of Chicago Press (forthcoming).

“Exterior Interiors: The Urban Living Room and Beyond,” in Deborah Schneiderman and Amy Campos Eds., Interiors Beyond Architecture (London: Routledge, 2017)

“Louis Sullivan’s Carson Pirie Scott Building,” in David Leatherbarrow and Alexander Eisenschmidt Eds., Modern Architecture, vol. VI Wiley-Blackwell Companion to the History of Architecture (London: Wiley-Blackwell, 2017)

“The Gothic Revival and the Chicago School,” in Kevin Murphy and Lisa ReillyEds., Skyscraper Gothic: Medieval Style and Modernist Buildings (Charlottesville VA: University of Virginia Press, 2017)

“American Modern: The Chicago School and the International Style at the Museum of Modern Art,” in Alexander Eisenschmidt and Jonathan Mekinda Eds. Chicagoisms: The City as Catalyst for Architectural Speculation (Chicago: Park Books/University of Chicago Press, 2014)

"The First Chicago School and the Ideology of the Skyscraper" in Peggy Deamer Ed Architecture and Capitalism: 1845 to the Present, Routledge, 2013

Kleinman, K., Merwood-Salisbury, J., and Weinthal, L., After Taste: Expanded Practice in Interior Design, Princeton Architectural Press, 2011

Merwood-Salisbury, J., Chicago 1890: The Skyscraper and the Modern City, University of Chicago Press, 2009

"Patriotism and Protest: Union Square as Public Space, 1832-1932" Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians Vol. 68, no. 4 (December 2009, pp 540-559

"On Luxury" AA Files, vol. 58 (2009), pp 20-27

"Western Architecture: Regionalism and Race in the Inland Architect" in Katarina Ruedi-Ray and Charles Waldheim Eds., Chicago Architecture: Histories, Revisions, Alternatives, University of Chicago Press, 2005

"The Mechanization of Cladding: The Reliance Building and Narratives of Modern Architecture" Grey Room, vol. 4 (Summer 2001, pp 52 - 69.

Research webpage

Joanna Merwood-Salisbury