Sylvia Lavin, Chair of the Ph.D. in Architecture program and Professor of Architectural History and Theory at the University of California, Los Angeles, is the Knowlton School’s Autumn 2013 Herbert Baumer Distinguished Visiting Professor. Lavin was Chairperson of the Department of Architecture and Urban Design at UCLA from 1996 to 2006. She is a frequent visitor at Harvard University¹s Graduate School of Design, and was a Visiting Professor of Architectural Theory at Princeton University's School of Architecture. A leading figure in current debates, Lavin is known both for her scholarship and criticism in contemporary architecture and design.
Lavin joins a long list of prominent practitioners and scholars as Baumer Professors since the program’s inception in 1996, including Zaha Hadid, Steven Holl, Eric Owen Moss, Greg Lynn, and last year’s Baumer Professor, Stan Allen. During the course of their time at Knowlton, Baumer Professors lead a graduate design seminar and present a public lecture as part of the School’s Baumer Lecture Series.
Lavin is the recipient of a 2011 Arts and Letters Award, as well as previous awards from the Getty Center, the Kress Foundation and the Social Science Research Council. Her most recent book, Kissing Architecture, was published by Princeton University Press (2011.) She is also the author of Quatremere de Quincy and the Invention of a Modern Language of Architecture (MIT, 1992), Form Follows Libido: Architecture and Richard Neutra in a Psychoanalytic Culture (MIT, 2005), and The Flash in the Pan and Other Forms of Architectural Contemporaneity (forthcoming). Lavin is an editor of Crib Sheets, a compilation of polemical writings and sound bites on current buzzwords issued by Monacelli Press.
Lavin initiated a series of architectural projects for the Hammer Museum and has been a guest curator for the California College of the Arts and Ace Galleries. She is the director of critical studies in the Department of Architecture at UCLA, and the director of Hi-C, a design/research group that supports architecture in the public realm.
She received her M.A. and Ph.D. from Columbia University (GSAPP) and her B.A. from Barnard College.