Volker M. Welter, Professor

Modern architecture, domestic architecture, patronage, histories of modernist, revival styles, and sustainable architecture.


Arts 1228

Office hours: Winter 2016
Wednesday, 2:00 - 2:45; Friday, 11:15 - 12:00


Ph.D. University of Edinburgh

Volker M. Welter is an architectural historian who specializes in modern architecture from the 19th century onwards. Working mainly on Californian, British, and German, but also current architecture, his research centers on domestic architecture, patronage, histories of modernist, revival styles, and sustainable architecture, and historiography of modern architecture.

The subject matter of his research usually emerge from his ongoing work in archives where the unordered adjacencies of archival sources often inspire new projects. He is interested in the ways architecture intersects on a smaller scale with individual human lives and on a larger scale with the environment. His work combines detailed architectural historical analysis with biographical research and, when appropriate, philosophical, sociological and psychological (theories of spatial perception) thought contemporary to a research project’s focus. Prof. Welter has received grants and fellowships from the Getty Grant Program, the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, and the Centre Canadien d'Architecture, Montreal. Following on from Biopolis: Patrick Geddes and the City of Life (Cambridge, MA, 2002), he continues publishing on the Scotsman’s theories of the city. His book Ernst L. Freud, Architect: The Case of the Modern Bourgeois Home (Oxford, 2012) reintroduced the architect son of Sigmund Freud into the history of European architectural modernism. He is working on book on the patronage of mid-20th century domestic American architecture, compiling a history of the concept of Umwelt in relation to architecture, and researches how the battlefields of the Great War influenced the emergence of European architectural modernism in the 1920s.


Complete list of publications

undergraduate courses

Introduction to Architecture and Environment
Revival Styles in Southern Californian Architecture
Modern Architecture in Southern California, 1890s to the present
Modern Architecture in Early Twentieth-Century Europe
From Modernism to Post-Modernism in late Twentieth-Century Architecture
Sustainable Architecture: History and Aesthetics
State Street Santa Barbara (undergraduate seminar)
Campus Architecture (undergraduate seminar)
Santa Barbara Architects (undergraduate seminar)
Palm Springs Modern (undergraduate seminar)
Readings in the Historiography of 20th-Century Western Architecture (undergraduate seminar)
Reading Twentieth-Century Modern Architecture (undergraduate seminar)
Animals Buildings (undergraduate seminar)
Charles Moore in California (undergraduate seminar)

graduate seminars

2014   this is tomorrow—London 1956
2013   Architectural History between Microhistory and Biography
2011   After Modernism: The Emergence of Post-Modernism in Architecture
2009   Domesticity and Interiority in the 19th and 20th Century
2008   Reading of Space and Spatiality: Aesthetics, Gestaltpsychology, Sociology, Phenomenology, Art History, Theory of Architecture
2007   The Architecture of Museums and Painting Galleries
2005   Expressionism in German Architecture
2005   History and Theory of Conservation and Restoration in Architecture
2004   Organic, Biological, and Natural Metaphors in Architecture
2003   Gazing at the (Urban) Environment