Kai K. Gutschow-School of Architecture - Carnegie Mellon University

Kai K. Gutschow

M.Arch, M.Phil, PhD, Associate Professor

Phone: 412 268 7999
Fax: 412 268 7819


Kai Gutschow is the historian of modern architecture as well as the 2nd year studio coordinator in the five-year, professional Bachelor of Architecture (BArch) program at Carnegie Mellon.   
Gutschow’s primary field of research has been the complex and controversial history of modern German architectural culture, especially the role that architectural criticism, theory, and media culture played in influencing professional and cultural developments.  He is currently finishing a book manuscript titled “Inventing Expressionism: Art, Criticism, and the Rise of Modern Architecture,” an intellectual history of the origins of Expressionism in German architecture from 1905-1925.  It argues that Expressionist architecture arose not primarily out of a revolutionary political moment that followed World War I in Berlin, as is often maintained, but rather out of a widespread and continuous evolution of ideas on the role of “expression” in modern architecture from the late nineteenth century to the mid-1920s.  In addition to his book, he has lectured on and published refereed journal articles and book chapters on a variety of related topics, including the work of the German architectural critic Adolf Behne, on Bruno Taut’s iconoclastic “Glashaus” as “Installation Art,” on the East African colonial architecture of the German modernist Ernst May, on the modernity of the conservative critic Paul Schultze-Naumburg, and on the German patriotism and Jewish heritage of the German critic Walter Curt Behrendt.
Gutschow has combined this original historical research with a leadership role in promoting the importance of history alongside the fundamentals of early architectural design to aspiring professional architects in his teaching.  His goal has been to bring together distinct yet related visions of architecture--history and design--into an integrated pedagogy and career path.  His training in art history, cabinetmaking, architectural design, and architectural history over the years reflects an effort to synthesize what are often seen to be disparate areas of architecture.  With “terminal degrees” and extensive work experience in both architectural history and design, he is in a position to work at the highest standards in both disciplines.  But his work in each is greatly enriched by the inter-disciplinary insights he takes from the other field, as well as from other interests and research work from his broad, liberal education.  His scholarship on the history of German Expressionism in the early twentieth century, for example, builds on a deep interest in the relationship of creativity, expression, and the continuity of architecture ideas in an ever more technically oriented modern world, ideas also develop in his studio teaching.  His modern architectural history courses emphasize the diverse theoretical ideas, stylistic tendencies, and construction experiments co-existing within each cultural moment, but also use insights into the nature of materials, the design process, and creativity to bring the subject to life for the students. Teaching in the 2nd year studios offers a unique opportunity to share with his students the importance of developing a solid design process based on long-established fundamentals of composition, tectonics, and pragmatic experimentation of building things, but also to share the rich discourse of ideas and theoretical principles that has always accompanied students mastering these issues. Both his scholarship and teaching have emphasized architecture’s unique dependence on its own past, and on the evolution of architectural ideas and design strategies from the past into the future.  Only through rigorous research and engaging the past critically, by using the past as a design tool, can we ensure that architecture has a solid foundation and makes an original contribution to our field, especially when the architectural profession is facing profound challenges and the education of architects is undergoing radical changes, as it is today.


  • PhD, Columbia University (2005)
  • MPhil, Columbia University (1997)
  • MArch, University of California at Berkeley, 1993
  • B.A., Swarthmore College, 1986


  • History and Theory of Modern Architecture
  • German Modernism
  • Expressionism in Art and Architecture
  • History of Architectural Theory
  • Applying research and history in the Studio Design Process

Selected Publications

  • “Inventing Expressionism: Art, Criticism, and the Rise of Modern Architecture,” book manuscript in preparation.
  • “Das Neue Afrika: Ernst May’s 1947 Kampala Plan as Cultural Program,” to appear in 2009 as Ch.7 of F. Demissie (ed.), Colonial Architecture and Urbanism in Africa: Intertwined and Contested Histories (London: Ashgate, 2009, ISBN:978-0-7546-7512-9).
  • “The Anti-Mediterranean in the Literature of Modern Architecture: Paul Schultze-Naumburg’s Kulturarbeiten,” chapter 5 of J.F. Lejeune and M. Sabatino (eds.), Modern Architecture and the Mediterranean Ideal: From Josef Hoffman and Le Corbusier to Team X (London: Routledge, 2009, ISBN 978-0-415-77634-9).
  • “From Object to Installation in Bruno Taut’s Exhibit Pavilions,” special issue on “Installations by Architects,” Journal of Architectural Education (JAE) 59, n.3 (May 2006): 63-70.
  • "Modern Planning as Civilizing Agent: Ernst May’s Kampala Extension Scheme,” in Recalibrating Centers & Margins: Proceedings of the 2003 ACSA Conference (Washington DC: ACSA, 2004), pp. 240-247.
  • “Germany,” “Frankfurt,” “Taut, Bruno,” and “Werkbund Exhibition, Cologne 1914,” entries in Encyclopedia of Twentieth-Century Architecture, 3 vols., ed. Richard S. Sennott (New York: Fitzroy Dearborn, 2004), pp. 472-474; 494-498, 1305-1307, 1439-1440.
  • “Behne, Adolf,” and “Behrendt, Walter Curt,” entries in Dizionario dell’architettura del 20. secolo, vol. 1, ed. Carlo M. Olmo (Turin: Allemandi, 2000), pp. 198, 201.

Courses Taught

Curriculum Vitae

Download Kai Gutschow's CV [pdf]