Diane Ghirardo, Ph.D., FAAR

Professor, ACSA Distinguished Professor


BA, San Jose State University; MA, History and Humanities, Stanford University, 1976; PhD, History and Humanities, Stanford University, 1983

Diane Ghirardo received her MA & Ph.D. in History and Humanities from Stanford University in 1983. She has taught and lectured widely in North America, Europe, Africa and Australia. She has been visiting professor at the University of Sydney, Australia; the University of Cape Town, South Africa; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Rice University, Houston, Texas; Polytechnic of Turin, Italy, and currently is Professor of the History and Theory of Architecture at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, where she teaches and researches 20th century architecture, Renaissance architecture, women’s spaces, and 20th century Italian architecture. Ghirardo’s books include Building New Communities. New Deal America and Fascist Italy (1989); Out of Site: A Social Criticism of Architecture (1992); Mark Mack. A California Architect (1994); Architecture After Modernism (1996), translated into multiple languages and editions; Dopo il Sogno. Architettura e città nell’America di oggi (2008); Aldo Rossi. Drawings (with Germano Celant, 2008); Le duchesse, le buffale e l’imprenditoria femminile nella Ferrara Rinascimentale (2009); Italy. Modern Architectures in History (2013); La topografia della prostituzione nella Ferrara rinascimentale (2013); the monograph La vita quotidiana di Lucrezia Borgia a Belriguardo (2019). Her most recent book is Aldo Rossi and the Spirit of Architecture (2019). Her forthcoming books include Il Tesoro di Lucrezia Borgia (2019) and Le Lettere di Lucrezia Borgia (2020).


She also translated Aldo Rossi’s Architecture of the City (1982) and numerous articles by him into English. Former President of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA, 1993-6), member of the National Architectural Accreditation Board (NAAB, 2003-6), and executive editor of the Journal of Architectural Education (1988-99), she is also an ACSA Distinguished Professor (1998), National Endowment for the Humanities Senior Fellow (2001), Fulbright Scholar (1976, 2001), a Guggenheim Fellow (2002), and is a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome (1988).

Currently Teaching
  • 442m
    Women's Spaces in History "Hussies, Harems & Housewives"
    Women's Spaces in History "Hussies, Harems & Housewives"
    How cultures divide and occupy spaces throughout history reflect a diverse range of status differences, differences as apparent in pre-industrial as in postindustrial revolution societies. This course explores spatial differentiation from the perspective of gender. From the intimacy of the home to the larger rural or urban community, patterns of spatial differentiation reinforced unequal status based upon gender and made it more difficult for women to achieve equality. Spatial differentiation in the modern era has extended from the home to educational facilities to the workplace to the city as a whole, and it has marginalized women along with other groups. We will specifically consider the role of gender relations in the formation of the built environment, both the public and the private spheres. We examine spatial differentiation and its practice in ancient, pre-modern, and modern cultures. The focus is upon the expression of that differentiation in the house, workplace, and public sphere, but we also explore the responses of women to the systems of oppression manifested through spatial differentiation. Because this class meets University requirements for diversity courses, it is also concerned with ways in which relations of domination are concealed or suppressed. We employ methodologies from history, anthropology, architecture and sociology to understand the nuances of domination through spatial differentiation. We study the institutional structures that underlie spatial organization, who benefits and who is deprived by specific socio-spatial arrangements, the assumptions of scholars who have studied diverse cultures and their buildings, and how they conceived of gender relations. The films that we view have a two-fold purpose: on the one hand, they help illustrate spatial practices in non-western cultures, in pre-modern times, and in our own culture; on the other, the films enable us to discern how to decode gendered spatial practices in the visual realm.
  • 560
    A History of Architectural Theory 1400-1914
    A History of Architectural Theory 1400-1914
    Course Description: A seminar on architectural theory from Alberti to Scott, reviewing primary texts and subsequent criticisms. This seminar explores theories of architecture since the beginning of the Renaissance. It involves both reading original texts (where available in translation) and study of the contexts in which the theories were produced. We will also consider some of the buildings which influenced or were influenced by the theories. There are therefore two components to the analysis of the texts: theory and context. Seminal writings on architecture in western Europe, these texts certainly do not exhaust the thoughtful theoretical writings of many others, and there are essays from other cultures and in the United States during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, but they will not be considered in this course. What were the questions architects and theorists asked of architecture in the early modern era? What was important, and why? What were the assumptions they made about architecture, and about architects, and how did this color the types of questions they asked and the theories they devised? Course Objectives: In the most general terms, this course is an introduction to architectural theory from the 15th through the 19th centuries. Students should gain a working knowledge of developments in architectural theory in Western Europe during this period. The course has other objectives as well. Students will work on developing the ability to write a critical synthesis of a specific set of architectural theories, and be especially concerned that students learn to make cogent oral presentations.
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The Graham Foundation announced today that faculty members Alex Robinson and Diane Ghirardo are two of their 2018 grantees. Robinson's grant was awarded for his publication "The ...
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