Building_Theories Textbook Cover


Building Theories: Architecture as the Art of Building

March 29, 2023
6:00 PM – 7:00 PM


Building Theories speaks to the value of words in architecture. It addresses Trubiano’s fascination with the voices of architects, engineers, builders, and craftspeople whose ideas about building, however faint, have been captured in text. It discusses the content of treatises, essays, articles, and letters by those who have been, throughout history, committed to the art of building.

In this, Building Theories argues for the return of a practice of architectural theory that is set amongst building, buildings, and builders. This journey of close reading reinterprets the words of Vitruvius, Alberti, de L’Orme, Le Camus de Mézières, Boullée, Laugier, Rondelet, Semper, Viollet-le-Duc, Hübsch, Bötticher, Berlage, Muthesius, Wagner, Behrendt, Gropius, and Arup. With chapters dedicated to antiquity, the Renaissance, and the nineteenth century, and with a critical eye on the form of architectural theory popularized in the Anglo-Saxon world post-1968, readers are introduced to a wider, more inclusive definition of architectural ideas. Building Theories considers how contemporary scholarship has steered away from the topic of building in its reluctance to admit that both design and construction are central to its concerns.

In response, it argues for a realignment of architecture with the concept of techné, with a dual commitment to fabrica e ratio, with a productive return to l’art de bien bastir, with the accurate translation of the term Baukunst, and with an appeal to the architect’s ‘composite mind.’ Students, practitioners, and educators will identify in Building Theories ways of thinking that strive for the integration of design with construction; reject the assumed primacy of the former over the latter; recognize how aesthetics are an insufficient scaffold for subtending the subject of architectural ethics; and accept, without reservation, that material transformations have always been at the origins of built form.

Design Dialogues

In times of global crises, education, collaboration, and dialogs can represent positive “game changing” factors.

Through dialogue with international universities, industries, and practicing designers, the NYIT School of Architecture and Design Lecture Series will nurture dialogue on the education of the creatives of the future and will challenge the more conventional university curricula, and the narratives and communication strategies of the current professional practice.

Introduction and Moderation

Athina Papadopoulou

Assistant Professor of Architecture, Health, and Design, SoAD; Chair SoAD Lectures and Events Committee


Eunice Seng, PhD, Ir-Arch


Dr. Franca Trubiano

Graduate Group Chair of the PhD Program in Architecture and associate professor in Architecture.

Weitzman School of Design of the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Franca Trubiano is Graduate Group Chair of the PhD Program in Architecture and associate professor in Architecture at the Weitzman School of Design of the University of Pennsylvania. A licensed architect with l’Ordre des Architectes du Québec, she received graduate and post-graduate degrees from McGill University and a PhD in architecture from the University of Pennsylvania.

Read Bio