Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Art History


Mona Hadler

Committee Members

John Maciuika

Marta Gutman

Joan Ockman

Subject Categories

Architectural History and Criticism | Contemporary Art | European History | Furniture Design | History of Art, Architecture, and Archaeology | Modern Art and Architecture | Printmaking | Theory and Criticism | Women's History | Women's Studies


Italian art and architecture, Italian theory, watercolor, typology, urban design, postwar


This dissertation centers on the interdisciplinary work of Italian-born artist, architect, teacher, and theorist Lauretta Vinciarelli (1943-2011), a key yet relatively unknown figure who occupies a historic place in the 1970s revival of architectural drawings, Columbia University’s housing studio, Peter Eisenman’s influential Institute of Architecture and Urban Studies (IAUS) in New York, and architectonic trends in contemporary painting. She was the first woman to have drawings acquired by the Department of Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA, in 1974), she was among the first women to teach architecture studio courses at Columbia University (hired in 1978), and she was the first and only woman granted a solo exhibition at the IAUS (in 1978). She also collaborated on architectural projects with Minimalist artist Donald Judd from the late 1970s to the late 1980s, and had a significant influence on his furniture design and printmaking as well. I consider the totality of Vinciarelli’s architectural and artistic output, asserting her impact on each discipline and situating her work in relation to postwar Italian Marxism and feminism.

By arguing for her impact within these various contexts – the 1970s architectural drawings revival, theory and pedagogy in the 1970s and 1980s, her collaborations with Judd, and art world trends around the new millennium – I aim to problematize the historiography of each topic. In the process, I present a reevaluation of the Italian influence and the role of women at the IAUS and in Columbia's housing studio, of Minimalism’s relationship to architecture, design, and collaboration, and of the metamorphosis of architectural drawings as an art form with socio-political implications. Vinciarelli’s work illuminates a plethora of issues that are central today, from the ideological and social dimensions of architecture to transatlantic connections, feminism and artistic collaboration, and pedagogy and practice.