Gabrielle Esperdy: Rear View Mirror to the Future



“Voices from Places Journal” is a series of films highlighting contributors to “Places” whose scholarship provides relevant perspectives on the future of architecture, landscape, and urbanism.

Architectural and urban historian Gabrielle Esperdy discusses her research on 20th- and 21st-century metropolitan landscapes. Esperdy, whose books include “American Autopia: An Intellectual History of the American Roadside at Midcentury” and “Modernizing Main Street: Architecture and Consumer Culture in the New Deal,” reflects on the possibilities of a post-autopia future and explores how investment in public transportation can transform the experience of urban and suburban density. She also describes her collaboration with the Getty Research Institute on the archives of Ed Ruscha’s project, “Streets of Los Angeles.”

Gabrielle Esperdy is a professor of architecture at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, and a contributing writer for “Places.” Esperdy focuses on the intersection of architecture, consumerism, and modernism in the urban and suburban landscape, especially in the U.S. in the 20th and 21st centuries. She is particularly interested in minor or everyday buildings and how social, economic, and political issues shape the built environment. Her books include “Modernizing Main Street” and, most recently, “American Autopia: An Intellectual History of the American Roadside at Midcentury,” which examines how architectural discourse absorbed the ideals and concerns of commercial sphere after World War II. On her website “American Road Trip” she writes about built and natural landscapes in the U.S., and sometimes about food. Esperdy’s work has appeared in the “Journal of Architectural Education,” the “Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians,” “Perspecta,” and “Architectural Design,” among others. She is chief editor of the series “Buildings of the United States” and of “Archipedia,” both projects of the Society for Architectural Historians.

Crew Credits:

Production:
Creator and Executive Producer – Hernán Díaz Alonso
Producers – Marcelyn Gow/Reza Monahan

Post-Production:
Story Producer – Mariana Curti
Editors – Mariana Curti/Reza Monahan

Additional Images and Video Courtesy of Gabrielle Esperdy and Places Journal

©2022 SCI-Arc Channel

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