David Gissen

David Gissen profile image

David Gissen is Professor of Architecture at the California College of the Arts and a historian, designer, and theorist with a specialty in environmental interpretations of architecture, landscape architecture, and urbanism. 


David is the author of the books Manhattan Atmospheres: Architecture, The Interior Environment and Urban Crisis (University of Minnesota Press, 2014) and Subnature: Architecture's Other Environments (Princeton Architectural Press, 2009), editor of the “Territory” issue of AD Journal (2010) and the book Big and Green (Princeton Architectural Press, 2003).

Essays & Research

Visit Gissen's website to learn more about his work, and many of his writings are available on Academia.edu for download.

His essays and research are published in journals such as Grey RoomHarvard Design MagazineAA Files, AD, Cabinet, Forty-five, Uniform, Kerb, Log, Quaderns, Volume, The Radical History Review, The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, The Journal of Architecture, The Journal of Architectural Education, Tarp, and Thresholds; and magazines, newspapers, and blogs such as Artforum, Architectural Record, Architecture, Metropolis, Domus, ARCADE, BldgBlog, Edible Geography, Archinect, Blueprint, Constructs, Singapore Architect, The Village Voice, The New York Times,  New Yorker, Huffington Post, and the Atlantic.

David's works are also published in the following books: Models and Drawings (Routledge, 2007); Architectural Theory: 1871-2005 (Blackwell, 2008); Design Ecologies (Princeton Architectural Press, 2009); Writing Urbanism (Routledge, 2008); The Ethics of Dust (TBA/Venice Biennale, 2009); The Religious Imagination in Modern Architecture: A Reader (Routledge, 2011); Air (MIT Press, 2011); Coupling (Princeton Architectural Press, 2011); Landform Building (Lars Mueller, 2011); Urban Constellations (Jovis, 2011); Imperfect Health (Canadian Center for Architecture, 2012); Landscape Futures (Actar, 2013);  Architecture and Geography (2014); Experimental Preservation (2016); Climates: Architecture and the Planetary Imaginary (2016); A World of Fragile Parts (Venice Biennale, 2016/2017)

Experimental Works

In addition to writing works of history and theory, David is committed to exploring alternative and experimental methods of documenting and reconstructing historical environments, spaces and objects, and often turns to advanced digital tools and processes in these efforts. Such work has been exhibited at the 2016 Venice Biennale, the Canadian Centre for Architecture, Columbia University, The National Building Museum, Yale Architecture Gallery, Toronto Free Gallery, The Museum of the City of New York, Lower East Side Tenement Museum, WuHo Gallery, and the Nevada Museum of Art.

Lectures and Teaching

David lectures on his work internationally, including recent invited talks at Princeton University, Canadian Centre for Architecture, Milan Polytechnic, Berlage Institute, Harvard University, Yale University, The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, and The Royal Danish Academy of Art.

In addition to his teaching at CCA, David is a visiting professor in the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, Columbia University, and the Program in the History, Theory and Criticism of Art and Architectural History, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; he has led workshops on his work at several international universities. 


He is the recipient of various awards and grants including Graham Foundation grants, the Richard J. Carroll Lectureship from Johns Hopkins University, and the Chalsty Award at CCA.

Note on Current Research

I am currently working on three inter-related research projects: An exploration of the manner in which environmental spatial histories can be uncovered and instilled in the reproduction of cultural artifacts; an exploration of historic and contemporary efforts to reconstruct the colors of historic buildings outside conventional forms of "polychromatic reconstruction"; and an exploration of marginalized forms of experience in artifact and space preservation, conservation, and reproduction -- largely focused on the topic of disability. 

Associate Chair, MArch
Professor, Architecture


BSc, Architecture, University of Virginia; M'Arch, Yale University; M'Phil, PhD, University College London

Website: davidgissen.org