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Michael Osman

Associate Professor

Michael Osman’s research in architectural history focuses on the 19th and 20th centuries, with a particular emphasis on buildings and cities in the United States. He seeks connections between the infrastructure that undergirds the processes of modernization and the historiography of modernist architecture. The topics of his writing include: the influence of ecological science on theories of city growth, early instruments for remote sensing, and the architectural profession’s relation to modern construction processes. Osman is the author of Modernism’s Visible Hand: Architecture and Regulation in America (University of Minnesota Press, 2018), a book on the role buildings have played in developing systems for environmental and economic regulation. He also works on critical problems in modernism’s historiography such as his examination of Reyner Banham’s use of the term “ecology,” an analysis of the metaphysical aspirations latent in twentieth-century writings on concrete, and a forthcoming co-edited volume on the uses of evidence and narrative in architectural history. Osman is one of the founding members of Aggregate: The Architectural History Collaborative, a platform for exploring new methods in architectural history. He co-curated a portion of the exhibition “Frank Lloyd Wright at 150: Unpacking the Archive” at the Museum of Modern Art. His research has been supported by fellowships from the University of California Humanities Research Institute, the National Science Foundation and the Fulbright Program. He currently directs the Department’s MA and PhD programs.

Related topics
Critical Studies, Technology
Related Links
  • Aggregate
  • ucla.academic.edu
  • Education
    Ph.D. in History, Theory and Criticism of Art and Architecture, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dissertation: “Regulation, Modernism, and Architecture in the United States, 1890-1920.”
    M.Arch., Yale School of Architecture
    A.B. in History (Hons), University of Chicago
    Highlights
    2020 UCHRI Multi-Campus Research Group with Christopher Kelty and Stephen Collier
    2018 Publication of "Modernism’s Visible Hand: Regulation and Architecture in America"
    2017 Curatorial consultant for “Frank Lloyd Wright at 150: Unpacking the Archive” at MoMA
    2012 Graham Foundation Award, New Media with Aggregate Architectural History Collaborative
    2011 UCLA Faculty Career Development Award
    2010 UC President’s Research Fellowship
    2006 Doctoral Research Grant, National Science Foundation
    2001 Fulbright Fellowship, Institute of International Education
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