2023 Sally Walsh Lecture Series – Alexandra Lange
Sally Walsh Lectures are supported by an endowed fund of the Houston Architecture Foundation. The lectures are dedicated to the memory of one of Houston’s most distinguished interior designers, Sally Walsh, who brought modern design to Houston and became an inspiration to a whole generation of Houston architects and designers.
All Sally Walsh lectures are free and open to the public.
Thursday, September 21, 2023
MFAH | Brown Auditorium
1001 Bisonnet Street, Houston TX 77005
Doors open at 6:00pm
Lecture will begin at 6:30pm
FEATURED SPEAKER: ALEXANDRA LANGE
Meet Me by the Fountain: An Inside History of the Mall
Her latest book, Meet Me by the Fountain: An Inside History of the Mall, was published by Bloomsbury USA in June 2022. It received positive reviews in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, The Economist, and The Nation, as well as coverage on NPR Marketplace, 99 Percent Invisible, Decoder Ring, and The Brian Lehrer Show.
Alexandra Lange is a design critic. Her essays, reviews and profiles have appeared in numerous design publications including Architect, Harvard Design Magazine, and Metropolis, as well as in The Atlantic, New York Magazine, The New Yorker, and the New York Times. She is a columnist for Bloomberg CityLab, and has been a featured writer at Design Observer, an opinion columnist at Dezeen, and the architecture critic for Curbed.
Her previous book, The Design of Childhood: How the Material World Shapes Independent Kids was published by Bloomsbury USA in 2018. Research for the book was supported by a grant from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. Design of Childhood was named one of Planetizen’s Top 10 Urban Planning Books of 2018 and has been an assigned text in art and architecture studios at ASU, Columbia, Harvard, MIT, UPenn, VCU and Yale.
Alexandra is also the author of Writing About Architecture: Mastering the Language of Buildings and Cities (Princeton Architectural Press, 2012), a primer on how to read and write architecture criticism, as well as the e-book The Dot-Com City: Silicon Valley Urbanism (Strelka, 2012), which considers the message of the physical spaces of Facebook, Google, and Apple.
In 2021, Alexandra became editorial advisor to the podcast New Angle: Voice, produced by the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation. The podcast showcases the work of pioneering women of American architecture, and the first five-episode season featured Julia Morgan, Natalie de Blois, Helen Fong, Norma Sklarek and Florence Knoll. The second season, now in production, is supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Graham Foundation.
Alexandra co-wrote and co-produced “Masters of Modern Design: The Art of the Japanese American Experience,” a 2019 KCET Artbound documentary on Japanese American designers in the postwar era, which was based on one of her Curbed columns. “Masters of Modern Design” won a 2020 LA Area Emmy Award.
Radio and podcast appearances include NPR Weekend Edition and Marketplace, as well as Studio 360, 99 Percent Invisible, Decoder Ring, The Brian Lehrer Show on WNYC and Think on KERA. Alexandra has lectured widely at universities, museums and design conferences on topics ranging from the history of women architecture critics to the opulent modernism of Alexander Girard to the best use of social media by architects. She has also taught design criticism at New York University and the School of Visual Arts.
Alexandra was a 2014 Loeb Fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. She won a 2018 New York Press Club Award for Feature Reporting – Internet for her Curbed story, “No Loitering, No Skateboarding, No Baggy Pants,” on teens and public space. In 2019, she was awarded a Steven Heller Prize for Cultural Commentary by AIGA. In 2020, Alexandra was the recipient of the Stephen A. Kliment Oculus Award from AIA New York, given to architectural journalists. She was also awarded the 2020 BRIO Prize by the eponymous Swedish toy company, which honors researchers and non-profits focused on creating a better world through play.
Alexandra has long been interested in the creation of modern domestic life, a theme running through Design Research: The Store that Brought Modern Living to American Homes (Chronicle, 2010), which she co-authored with Jane Thompson, as well as her contributions to Serious Play: Design in Midcentury America (Yale, 2018), Alexander Girard: A Designer’s Universe (Vitra, 2016), Formica Forever (Metropolis, 2013), and Eero Saarinen: Shaping the Future (Yale, 2006). Her latest contributions on the topic include a chapter on design for children in Scandinavian Design and the United States, 1890 – 1980 (Prestel, 2020) and the foreword to Designing Motherhood (MIT Press, 2021). Her 2005 dissertation, “Tower Typewriter and Trademark: Architects, Designers and the Corporate Utopia, 1956-1964,” discussed the design programs and design networks at postwar American corporations.