Joseph L. Clarke

Historian and Architect

Joseph L. Clarke studies relationships between architectural form, technics, and epistemology from the eighteenth century to the present. His current book project, The Acoustic Project: Modern Architecture and the Reflection of Sound, explores how acoustic research has influenced the auratic pretensions of architecture since the Enlightenment. Other areas of his work include:

  • Modern architecture and urbanism
  • Sound studies
  • German Romanticism
  • Media and architectural publics
  • Architecture and cybernetics in the 1950s and 60s
  • Disciplinary anxieties around the problem of error

Clarke is based in Canada, where he is part of the History of Art faculty at the University of Toronto. His teaching emphasizes the close reading of architecture in its intellectual, social, and technological milieux. He lectures in North America and abroad and often participates in conferences and juries for scholarly and design awards. Clarke is a licensed architect and has worked for Eisenman Architects and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. While earning a doctorate at Yale University, he was awarded the 2012 Carter Manny Award for Dissertation Research from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. His scholarship has also been supported by the Getty Research Institute and the Deutscher Akademiker Austausch Dienst.

Teaching Employment

Assistant Professor (tenure-track), History of Art, University of Toronto, 2016–present.

Assistant Professor (tenure-track), College of Architecture, Illinois Institute of Technology, 2015–2016.

Academic Background

Ph.D. in Architecture (with distinction), Yale University, 2014.

M.Phil. in Architecture, Yale University, 2012.

Exchange scholar at Universität Heidelberg, Germany, 2012.

School of Criticism and Theory, Cornell University, 2010.

M.Arch., University of Cincinnati. College of DAAP, 2006.

B.S. in Architecture (with honors), University of Cincinnati, 2004.

Selected Essays and Articles

“Catacoustic Enchantment: The Romantic Conception of Reverberation,” Grey Room 60 (Summer 2015): 36–65.

“For a History of Liveness,” Log 33 (Winter 2015): 25–37.

“How Not To Be ‘Theatrical’: Emile Jaques-Dalcroze, Adolphe Appia, Le Corbusier,” CENTER 18: Music in Architecture—Architecture in Music (Austin: Center for American Architecture and Design, 2014), 102–113. Book won National Silver Medal (Category: Architecture), 2015 Independent Publisher Book Awards.

“Temporal Modes of Architectural Formation” in Xenakis Matters, ed. Sharon Kanach (Hillsdale, New York: Pendragon Press, 2012), 143–155.

“Iannis Xenakis and the Philips Pavilion,” The Journal of Architecture 17:2 (April 2012): 213–229.

“Wagnerism Embodied,” Log 23 (Fall 2011): 59–69.

“Town and Country: New Urban Housing in China,” Frieze, May 2009: 21–22.

Specters of a Young Earth,” Triple Canopy 4 (December 2008). Reprinted in Invalid Format: An Anthology of Triple Canopy (New York: Triple Canopy, 2011), 305–315.

“Into a Forest of Script: The Unconscious of Algorithms,” Log 12 (Spring/Summer 2008): 116–124.

Books and Journals Edited

Acoustic Modernity – special guest-edited volume of Grey Room (no. 60, Summer 2015).

Error – special volume of Perspecta: The Yale Architectural Journal (no. 46, 2013), co-edited with Emma Bloomfield.

Invited Lectures

“On the Imageability of Acoustic Space” – Keynote lecture, University of Toronto symposium on music and visual culture, October 2016.

“Perturbed by Noise: Communication and Acoustics in Postwar Office Design” – School of the Art Institute of Chicago, March 2016.

“Correspondences” – Keynote address, Illuminating Engineering Society New York City Lighting Competition Awards Ceremony, March 2013.

“Sound and Corporate Space: Information Theory and Open Office Planning” – Lecture to the employees of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, April 2010.

“Infrastructure for Souls” – Talk at The Kitchen performance space for Triple Canopy event “More Talks About Buildings,” April 2009.

Symposia and Workshops Organized

Global Architectural History Teaching Collaborative 2015 annual workshop, co-organized at the IIT College of Architecture.

Sound Studies Working Group, interdisciplinary Yale series co-organized at and funded by Yale Whitney Humanities Center, 2012–2014.

The Sound of Architecture – J. Irwin Miller symposium co-convened (with Kurt W. Forster) at the Yale School of Architecture, October 4–6, 2012.

Selected Conference Presentations

“Formalizations of Ambience Since the Eighteenth Century,” session chaired, Society of Architectural Historians International Conference, Glasgow, 2017.

“Formalizations of Ambience Since the Eighteenth Century,” session chaired, European Architectural History Network International Meeting, Dublin, 2016.

Acoustic Hallucination: Richard Wagner’s Theater of Dreams,” Society of Architectural Historians Annual Meeting, Pasadena, 2016.

“Catacoustic Enchantment: The Romantic Invention of Reverberation,” Society of Architectural Historians Annual Meeting, Chicago, 2016.

“Audible Disagreement: The Politics of Acoustics in Late Eighteenth-Century Europe,” European Architectural History Network International Meeting, Turin, 2014.

“Reverberance: Origins of an Affect,” Stony Brook University Arts and Philosophy Symposium, New York, 2013.

“Acoustics and Gender in the Postwar Office,” Society for Cinema and Media Studies Annual Meeting, New Orleans, 2011.

“Diagrams of Continuity,” McGill University music theory conference Xenakis: Arts/Sciences, Montreal, 2010.

“The Geometry of History,” Society of Architectural Historians Annual Meeting, Cincinnati, 2008.

Courses Taught

Acoustic Space (graduate)

Modern Architecture from 1750 to the Present (undergraduate)

Architecture and the Project of Industrial Modernity (graduate)

Metropolis: The Architectural Discourse of the City (undergraduate)

Expo: From World’s Fair to Architecture Biennial (graduate)

Memberships and Licensures

Member, Society of Architectural Historians.

Member, European Architectural History Network.

Licensed architect, State of New York.

Historian and Architect

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