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College of Architecture, Art and Construction

Peter Laurence, Ph.D.

Peter Laurence, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Architecture

School of Architecture
Office: Lee 3-133
Phone: 864-656-1499

Ph.D. in Architecture, University of Pennsylvania (2009); M.S. in Architectural History and Theory, University of Pennsylvania School of Design (2004); M. Arch., Harvard Graduate School of Design (1999)

Curriculum Vitae


Dr. Peter Laurence is an architectural and urban historian, coordinator of First Year graduate studios, and author of Becoming Jane Jacobs.

Dr. Laurence started teaching at Clemson in 1999, after completing his Master of Architecture at Harvard University. Following studies in architectural history and theory in the Ph.D. Program in Architecture at University of Pennsylvania, and teaching positions at University of North Carolina Charlotte and Columbia University, he returned to teaching at Clemson.

As an architectural historian, Laurence specializes in 20th century American architectural and urban history, and is internationally recognized as an expert on the life and writing of the great urbanist Jane Jacobs. In 2006, Prof. Laurence's writing on Jane Jacobs and the Rockefeller Foundation's urban design research program of the 1950s contributed to the establishment of the Rockefeller Foundation's Jane Jacobs Medals. He completed his doctoral dissertation, "Jane Jacobs, American Architectural Criticism and Urban Design Theory, 1935-1965," in 2009. His research on Jacobs has been published in Journal of Architectural Education, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, and Journal of Urban Design. Book chapters include “Jane Jacobs, the Townscape Movement, and Critical Urban Design” in Alternative Visions of Postwar Reconstruction: Creating the Modern Townscape (2014), and “The Unknown Jane Jacobs” in Reconsidering Jane Jacobs (Planners Press, 2011).

Laurence's interests in architectural history and theory and urban history are comprehensive. At University of Pennsylvania, he won the First Prize Will M. Mehlhorn Scholarship for "outstanding work in architectural history and theory," in 2002, for studies spanning from classical to contemporary times. In 2005, he presented a paper "On the Concept of Experience in Leon Battista Alberti's De re aedificatoria" at a European Science Foundation conference in Ireland, a reflection of his interests in the intersections of architectural theory and the history and philosophy of science. His book chapter “Modern (or Contemporary) Architecture c. 1959” in A Critical History of Contemporary Architecture, 1960-2010 is an example of his interests in the full scope of 20th century architecture.

Laurence's work in the field of urban design intersects with his work as an architectural historian and a Jane Jacobs scholar. He has studied how architects have written about the city since Vitruvius, and has himself written about the contemporary history of the field of urban design. In 2006, he initiated the 2008 international conference "Re-Imagining Cities: Urban Design After the Age of Oil," hosted by Penn IUR and sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation, which celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Penn-Rockefeller “Conference on Urban Design Criticism.” With the major challenges facing designers of the built environment in the decades ahead in mind, Laurence defined the “After Oil” theme, served as co-director of the conference, and contributed to The Penn Resolution: Educating Urban Designers for Post-Carbon Cities (2011).

This research informs all of Laurence's teaching. He has taught design studios at almost every level between First Year undergraduate and Third Year graduate. His architectural history and theory course “Ten Revolutions and the Emergence of Modern Architecture” (ARCH 8600) covers a broad range of architectural and urban history and emphasizes intersections of architectural history and intellectual history at large. His Honors Seminar on Jane Jacobs focuses on her canonical book The Death and Life of Great American Cities.

Laurence's research has been supported and funded in part by fellowships and grants from Clemson University College of Architecture, Arts & Humanities; University of Pennsylvania; the Rockefeller Archive Center (2005); the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation (2006); the Rockefeller Foundation (as part of “Re-Imagining Cities,” 2007); and the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts (2012).

Prof. Laurence serves on the editorial board of Urban Design International and the board of The Center for the Living City. At Clemson University, he has served as Faculty Senator and secretary of the Faculty Senate; participated in the President's Leadership Institute; and served on numerous departmental, college, and university committees and task forces.


Selected Professional Works

Journal Articles & Book Chapters (Published)

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College of Architecture, Art and Construction
College of Architecture, Art and Construction | Lee 1-151, Clemson, SC 29634