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Kai Gutschow - Carnegie Mellon University. Pittsburgh, PA, US

Kai Gutschow

Associate Professor | Carnegie Mellon University


Kai Gutschow’s primary field of research has been the complex and controversial history of modern German architectural culture.


Kai Gutschow is a historian of modern architecture and theory at Carnegie Mellon’s School of Architecture. Since 2021 he has served as Associate Head for Design Ethics, working on issues of social justice in all parts of the school’s curriculum, research, and community. He led the effort to restart CMU’s accredited Master of Architecture (M.Arch) program from 2015-21. He teaches a variety of lecture courses and seminars on modern architecture and theory, and formerly taught and coordinated 1st and 2nd-year studios. Gutschow has a PhD from Columbia University, an M.Arch from U.C. Berkeley, and a B.A. from Swarthmore College.

Gutschow’s primary field of research has been the complex and controversial history of modern German architectural culture, especially the role that architectural criticism, theory, and media culture played in influencing professional and cultural developments. He has finished a book manuscript titled “Inventing Expressionism: Art, Criticism, and the Rise of Modern Architecture,” an intellectual history of the origins of Expressionism in German architecture from 1905-1925. It argues that Expressionist architecture arose not primarily out of a revolutionary political moment that followed World War I in Berlin, as is often maintained, but rather out of a widespread and continuous evolution of ideas on the role of “expression” in modern architecture from the late nineteenth century to the mid-1920s. He is also working on an edited volume of essays discussing the rich history and impact of expressive and expressionist sensibilities in architectural history. In addition to his book projects, he has lectured on and published refereed journal articles and book chapters on a variety of related topics, including the work of the German architectural critic Adolf Behne, on Bruno Taut’s iconoclastic “Glashaus” as “Installation Art,” on the East African colonial architecture of the German modernist Ernst May, on the modernity of the conservative critic Paul Schultze-Naumburg, and on the German patriotism and Jewish heritage of the German critic Walter Curt Behrendt. His most recent project is a larger history of postwar architecture in Pittsburgh.

Gutschow has combined this original historical research with a leadership role in promoting the importance of history, theory, and research in the design programs at CMU.

Areas of Expertise (5)


Architectural Criticism


Modern German Architecture

Art and Science

Media Appearances (1)

Why so many architects are angered by ‘Making Federal Buildings Beautiful Again'

The Conversation  online


Decades of federal architectural policy would be upended if the Trump administration follows through on an executive order that was leaked to the Architectural Record on Feb. 4.

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Industry Expertise (4)

Writing and Editing


Architecture and Planning


Education (4)

Columbia University: Ph.D., Architecture & Art History 2005

Columbia University: M.Phil., Art History & Archaeology 1997

University of California, Berkeley: M.Arch., Architecture 1993

Swarthmore College: B.A., Art History 1986

Event Appearances (1)

HACLab Pittsburgh Salon: Live, Work, Move, Play

“Imperfectly Modern” on Postwar Pittsburgh  Carnegie Museum of Art

Articles (2)

The anti-mediterranean in the literature of modern architecture

Modern Architecture and the Mediterranean

2009 In the heated battles to define modern architecture in Germany at the beginning of the twentieth century, well-chosen propaganda images played a vital role in shaping public opinion as well as the profession. Architects on all sides of the debates used the nascent media culture of the day to make their often complex arguments memorable and easily understood. Many of the most potent images were created in the wake of Stuttgart's large Weissenhof housing exhibition of 1927, designed by an all-star cast of modern architects from around Europe.

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From Object to Installation in Bruno Taut's Exhibit Pavilions

Journal of Architectural Education

2006 This study investigates the gradual evolution of the idea of installation in three experimental exhibition pavilions designed before World War I by the German architect Bruno Taut. In collaboration with the critic Adolf Behne, Taut gradually transferred ideas from Expressionist painting to architecture and helped move his designs, and with it modern architecture more generally, from a focus on visual “objects,” to multisensory “experiences,” an idea that continues to resonate in modern installations today.

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