Jonathan Massey

Building the Discipline We Deserve

Civic discourse today centers on questions of equity and justice. How do we allocate wealth, opportunity, and risk? Who benefits from protocols of race, sexuality, and gender? What are the infrastructures of citizenship?

Our discipline has a deep stake in these matters, since architecture mediates power. But the professional and intellectual apparatus of our field too often ignores inequality and perpetuates injustice. Drawing on examples from architectural scholarship and practice, this talk invites you to join in building the discipline we deserve.


1: Detroit Afrikan Funkestra at Oakland Avenue Urban Farm, Detroit, 2016, with set by Akoaki, photo credit Doug Coomb
2: Mothership by Akoaki with David Philpot and Marsha Music, Detroit, 2016, photo credit Kirk Donaldson
3: Out of Site Entourage at Detroit Institute of the Arts 2016, photo credit Doug Coomb

Jonathan Massey

Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan

Architect and historian Jonathan Massey is dean and professor at the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan. In his previous position as dean of architecture at California College of Arts, his primary responsibility was for the vision, leadership, and administration of the CCA Architecture Division, which includes three accredited programs in architecture and interior design. At Syracuse University, he was the Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professor for Teaching Excellence, where he chaired the Bachelor of Architecture program and the University Senate.

Massey holds undergraduate and doctoral degrees from Princeton University as well as a Master of Architecture degree from UCLA. His professional training includes practice experience at Dagmar Richter Studio, Brantner Design Associates, and Gehry Partners along with teaching experience at Barnard College, Parsons School of Design, Pratt Institute, and Woodbury University. In addition, he was a co-founder of the Transdisciplinary Media Studio and the Aggregate Architectural History Collaborative, which focus on the ways that history and practice of architecture and urbanism are understood and taught. His ongoing research explores how architecture mediates power by forming civil society, shaping social relationships, and regulating consumption. In Crystal and Arabesque: Claude Bragdon, Ornament, and Modern Architecture (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2009) he reconstructed the techniques through which American modernist architects engaged new media, audiences and problems of mass society. His work on topics ranging from ornament and organicism to risk management and sustainable design has appeared in many journals and essay collections, including Aggregate's essay collection Governing by Design: Architecture, Economy, and Politics in the 20th Century (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2012).