Modern architecture; domestic architecture; émigré architects; patronage; histories of modernism, revival styles, and sustainable architecture.
Ph.D. University of Edinburgh
Volker M. Welter is an architectural historian specializing in modern architecture from the 19th century onwards, mainly in California but also in Great Britain and Germany. His research interests center on domestic architecture; émigré architects; patronage; histories of modernism, revival styles, and sustainable architecture.
The subject matter of his research usually emerges from ongoing exploration in archives, where the adjacencies of archival sources often inspire new projects. He is interested in how 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 contemporary philosophical, sociological, and psychological thought.
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. Tremaine Houses: One Family’s Patronage of Domestic Architecture in Midcentury America was published in 2019.
He is currently completing a book on the California works of the Austrian-Jewish émigré architect Leopold Fischer (1901–1975), a today little-known student of the Austrian modernist Adolf Loos who worked in exile in Los Angeles alongside Rudolph Schindler and Richard Neutra.
Volker M. Welter. "Rebuilding, Recovery, Reconceptualization: Modern architecture and the First World War ." In Revival After the Great War: Rebuild, Remember, Repair, Reform, edited by Luc Verpoest et al. (Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2020), 107-121.
Volker M. Welter. "An Architect at War: Adrian Berrington and the Environment of the Modern Battlefield of the First World War ." RIHA Journal 0236 (January 30, 2020): online.
Volker M. Welter. “Restoration within Reach: The Miles C. Bates House, Palm Desert, California ." Western Humanities Review 72.3 (2018): 99-122.
Volker M. Welter. “SCHLOSS MURNAU, HOLLYWOODLAND, CA 90068 ." Cabinet: A Quarterly of Art and Culture, Issue 63: The Desert (2017): 41-49.
Volker M. Welter. “From the Landscape of War to the Open Order of the Kaufmann House: Richard Neutra and the Experience of the Great War ." In The Good Gardener?: Nature, Humanity and the Garden, edited by Annette Giesecke, Naomi Jacobs, and Rick Darke (London: Black Dog Publishing, 2015), 216-233.
Volker M. Welter. "The Valley Region: From Figure of Thought to Figure on the Ground ." In New Geographies Journal 06: Grounding Metabolism, edited for Harvard University Graduate School of Design by Nikos Katsikis & Daniel Ibanez (Harvard University Press, 2014): 78-87.
Volker M. Welter. “Therapeutic Frontiers: The Tremaine Houses in Santa Barbara ." Manifest: A Journal of American Architecture and Urbanism 1 (2013): 178-187.
Volker M. Welter. “From Disc to Sphere: Taking on the Whole Earth ." Cabinet: A Quarterly of Art and Culture, Issue 40: Hair (Winter 2010/11): 19-25.
5A Introduction to Architecture & Environment
136K Modern Architecture in Early Twentieth-Century Europe
136L From Modernism to Post-Modernism in European Architecture
136M Revival Styles in Southern Californian Architecture
136O Sustainable Architecture: History and Aesthetics
136Y Modern Architecture in Southern California, 1890s to the Present
137AA Architecture and Monumentality in the 20th Century
141G The Architecture of Museums and Galleries from c. 1800 to the Present
186SV Seminar in Modern Architecture (undergraduate seminar)
Topics include: "Animal Buildings," "Architecture and Biography," "Bauhaus in California"
186W Historiography: Readings in the Historiography of Modern Western Architecture (undergraduate seminar)
186Y Seminar in Architecture and Environment (undergraduate seminar)
Topics include: "Charles Moore in California," "State Street Santa Barbara," "Reading Twentieth-Century Modern Architecture," "Palm Springs Modern"
Tel Aviv — Modern City (undergraduate seminar)
Campus Architecture (undergraduate seminar)
Santa Barbara Architects (undergraduate seminar)
2015 Loot, Spolia, Exhibit: Whose Patrimony is it, anyway?
2014 "this is tomorrow" — Rethinking Architecture, Art, and Life in Post‐World War 2 London
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