Jill Pearlman

Senior Lecturer in Environmental Studies

Phone 2077253854
Title Senior Lecturer
Department Environmental Studies
Work Location 104 Adams Hall
E-Mail jpearlm@bowdoin.edu
Jill E. Pearlman: Bowdoin College

Teaching this semester

ARTH 2430/ENVS 2431. Modern Architecture: 1750 to 2000

Examines major buildings, architects, architectural theories, and debates during the modern period, with a strong emphasis on Europe through 1900, and both the United States and Europe in the twentieth century. Central issues of concern include architecture as an important carrier of historical, social, and political meaning; changing ideas of history and progress in built form; and the varied architectural responses to industrialization. Attempts to develop students’ visual acuity and ability to interpret architectural form while exploring these and other issues.


B.A. Beloit College
M.A. University of California
Ph.D. University of Chicago

Major Fellowships and Grants

Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, Yale University, Research Grant, 2003
Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, Grant, 1997
Samuel H. Kress Foundation Dissertation Fellowship, 1990-1991
The Chester Dale Fellowship, Center for Advanced Studies in the Visual Arts, 1988-1989
Samuel H. Kress Foundation Research Fellowship, 1987-1988

Selected publications

"The Spies Who Came into the Modernist Fold: The Covert Life in Hampstead's Lawn Road Flats," Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Vol. 72, No. 3 (September 2013), pp. 358-381

Inventing American Modernism: Joseph Hudnut, Walter Gropius, and the Bauhaus Legacy at HarvardInventing American Modernism: Joseph Hudnut, Walter Gropius, and the Bauhaus Legacy at Harvard,  (University of Virginia Press, 2007)

"Breaking Common Ground: Joseph Hudnut and the Pre-history of Urban Design."  Book chapter in Josep Lluis Sert: The Architect of Urban Design, Hashim Sarkis and Eric Mumford, eds., (Yale University Press, 2007)

"Joseph Hudnut and the Unlikely Origins of 'Post-modern' Urbanism," Planning Perspectives: An International Journal of History, Planning, and the Environment, 15 (July 2000): 201-239.
Abstract »

"Joseph Hudnut's Other Modernism at the Harvard-Bauhaus,"   Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians (December 1997): 56 (4).452-477.

Selected Lectures

"Modern Architecture, American Modernity," Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture, Columbia University, February, 2004.

"Jose Lluís Sert, The Architect of Urban Design," Sert Conference, Harvard University Graduate School of Design, October, 2003.

"Beyond the Bauhaus, The Legacy of Walter Gropius and Modern Boston," Society of Architectural Historians Symposium, Harvard University Graduate School of Design, October, 2003.

"The Origins of Postmodern Urbanism," American Society of City and Regional Planning History/Urban History, Ninth Biennial Conference, Philadelphia, November, 2001.

"The Unlikely Beginnings of Postmodern Urbanism," Graham Foundation Lecture Series, Chicago, April 1999

"Joseph Hudnut and the Gropius Years at Harvard," Harvard University, Graduate School of Design,  GSD Lecture Series, December 1998

"Joseph Hudnut's Challenge to Walter Gropius at the Harvard-Bauhaus," German Culture in New England since 1900: Contacts, Histories, Transformations," Goethe Institute, Boston, November, 1997

Current Research Projects

The Eventful Life of the Lawn Road Flats: A Cultural Biography of Britain’s Modernist Icon
(book in process)
Unlike most architectural histories, which privilege the genius of the original architect and the desires of the patrons, my book explores the fascinating seventy-year life of the modernist Lawn Road Flats from its conception in 1932 to the present day. The Flats (also known as “Isokon Flats”) have lived many different lives: home and social center for the large modernist community in London, residence to a group of prominent Russian spies, grim council housing and, finally, derelict abandonment. In 2005 the building reopened after a gloriously restoration and with a new social purpose. At the heart of my biography of the Flats, I argue that buildings are dynamic entities that undergo constant change, sometimes physical change, but always change in meaning as they entwine with the lives of different people over time—owners, tenants, visitors, building staff, bureaucrats, estate agents and architects, among them. Buildings accumulate histories well beyond opening day, in relation to their users, events, and the changing social and cultural context in which they exist.

Lawn Roads Flats, Hampstead, London
Lawn Roads Flats, Hampstead, London

Living the Modern Life in Greater Boston : 1930-1965
This project furthers my long-standing interest in the connections between ideas of modernity and the ways in which they shaped and were shaped by buildings and the larger metropolitan landscape. In it, I will explore the ultra-modern houses as well as the new progressive elite culture centered, surprisingly enough, in establishment Boston.