School of Architecture, Planning & Landscape

Staff Profile

Elizabeth Baldwin Gray

Teaching Fellow in Architecture

Background

Elizabeth Baldwin Gray was appointed Teaching Fellow in the School of Architecture, Planning, and Landscape in August 2016. She taught previously as a design tutor at the School of Architecture at the University of Sheffield and the Department of Architecture and Built Environment at the University of Nottingham. Before moving to the UK, Elizabeth worked for several international architecture practices in Manhattan and the Greater New York City area, including Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, Robert A.M. Stern Architects, and Woods Bagot. At Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, she helped design the Abeno Harukas Tower in Osaka, currently the tallest tower in Japan; at RAMSA, two new Yale Residential Colleges; and at Woods Bagot, the Gramercy Square residential development in downtown Manhattan.

Elizabeth received her M. Arch. in 2008 from Yale University and recently completed an MA in Art History at the Courtauld Institute, University of London, focused on German modernism. She is currently working towards a Ph. D. on the reception of Schinkel.

Research

The design of cities shapes and is shaped by urban identity culture, particularly in moments of political instability. Urban design, re-design, and renewal speak to the political climate in which a city is recast. During Germany’s ‘critical reconstruction’ of Berlin, Karl Friedrich Schinkel’s 19th century buildings not only resumed their central role in the city’s urban planning, but also served as models for new buildings. This emphasis on Schinkel in the urban reconfiguration of the new reunified capital demonstrates the architect’s sustained importance for the cultural identity of the ‘new Germany.’ It is fascinating that these contemporary planners and architects rely almost completely on his classical schemes, ignoring the romanticised Gothic that Schinkel himself, borrowing from Goethe, considered indicative of German identity. This oversight demonstrates how visual cultural identity changes over time. Throughout the 20th century, Schinkel has served time and again as a ‘safe’ touchstone for an appropriate image of the city. The particular aspects of this architect’s acclaimed 19th-century oeuvre that governments and architects choose to project shift, however, from decade to decade. This changing focus, even as Schinkel’s example continues to be invoked, merits closer inspection. Schinkel himself is popular as a subject of exhibitions, articles, and texts. My doctoral thesis traces the politics of the Schinkel’s reception in the 20th century, ranging from the early modernism of the Bauhaus, as it emerged out of classicism in the wake of WWII, to the post-Vietnam, Deconstructivist reduction of his works to a study of grids and axes, to the present day.

I recently completed an MA in Art History, with Distinction at the Courtauld Institute, University of London, focused on German Modernism 1900-1930 and funded by the C.J. Robertson Legacy Fund.

In 2005, funded by the Yale Ganzfried Travelling Fellowship, I travelled and lived in Berlin to study the over 300 Jewish memorials scattered throughout the city locating places of memory. My drawings, photographs, and research were presented at an exhibition I helped organize and design, Berlin: Traces of Absence, and a parallel conference, Orte Jüdischen Lebens in Berlin (Places of Jewish Life in Berlin), I co-coordinated at the Humboldt University in the spring of 2006.

https://www.hu-berlin.de/de/pr/medien/publikationen/presse/tsp/ws06_07/juedleben

Peter Eisenman served as an advisor for a parallel project on formal and diagrammatic analysis of Schinkel buildings in Berlin and Potsdam. This research served as the initial investigation for my doctoral thesis.

 In 2001, while an undergraduate student in the Schools of Music and Architecture at the University of Florida, I was awarded a University Scholars Stipend to examine the relationship between diagrammatic analysis of musical scores and the generative diagram within the architectural design process. This research took the form of independent study, research, publication, and research-based teaching. I published articles in Architrave, the student architecture journal, and served as a teaching assistant for 2nd-year undergraduate design studios. I also led my own more independent design studio exploring the relationship between music and architecture, focusing on the diagramming of contemporary minimalist music as a means to begin an architectural design project.

Teaching

My teaching seeks to integrate critical thinking about cities, space, and culture with strong design skills. I seek to help students develop their own unique architectural language and agenda, while emphasizing an awareness of the historical and social contexts of modernism.