The latest work by architectural historian Jordan Kauffman ’02 is a No. 1 best seller in Amazon’s Architectural Criticism category. Drawing on Architecture: The Object of Lines, 1970–1990 (MIT Press) explores how architectural drawings emerged as valuable art, promoted by a network of galleries, collectors and institutions during the 1970s and 1980s, and how this changed the understanding of architecture.
Utilizing extensive interviews with early collectors and galleries, Kauffman traces the moments when architectural drawings became understood as art and then as cultural and historical artifacts, and he discusses the impact of this on architectural history. Kauffman focuses his study on exhibitions that displayed drawings as objects in themselves in museums and galleries around the world, including three key exhibitions at the Leo Castelli Gallery in New York; collectors that bought drawings; and the founding of architecture museums that collected drawings.
An architectural historian whose work spans from the Renaissance to the late 20th century, Kauffman will soon be a research fellow at Monash University in Australia. He has taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Tufts University, Brandeis University and the Architectural Association in London. Kauffman’s academic interests include the interrelation of architecture and art, aesthetics, sociology, and philosophies of the self. His research has been funded by grants and fellowships from the School of Advanced Study at the University of London, the Morgan Library and Museum, the Canadian Centre for Architecture, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Centre for Architectural Theory History Criticism at the University of Queensland, and the Global Architectural History Teaching Collaborative.
Kauffman is the former managing editor of the architectural journal Log, and worked as an archivist and in the press department at Zaha Hadid Architects. He is a member of the Global Architectural History Teaching Collaborative. At Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Kauffman received a B.A. in architectural studies magna cum laude, was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and studied abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark and in Bath, England, where he piloted the (still available) architectural internship. He earned a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in history, theory, and criticism of architecture, and a master’s degree from the Architectural Association in histories and theories of architecture.