Paula Lupkin is a historian of design, architecture, and cities.  Her interdisciplinary work focuses on the spatial and material production of modernity under capitalism, investigating its impact on the designed world and the built environment. Her research and publications address the ways that architecture, interiors, fashion, cities, and landscapes shaped and were shaped by new ways of living, working, designing, and consuming. Her work has been supported by the Charles Warren Center at Harvard, the Graham Foundation for Advanced Study in the Fine Arts, and the Clements Center for Southwestern Studies at Southern Methodist University.


Ph.D. in Art History, University of Pennsylvania, December 1997

Area of concentration: Modern Architecture and American Art

Dissertation: “YMCA Architecture: Building Character in the American City, 1869-1930” 

major advisor: David Brownlee


A.B. Bryn Mawr College, 1989, cum laude

major: The Growth and Structure of Cities

minor: History of Art

major advisor: Barbara Miller Lane

Thesis title: “C.F.A. Voysey: Modern Architecture Revisited”




The Great Southwest: Trade, Territory, and Regional Architecture (contracted to the University of Minnesota Press)                                   

A methodologically innovative reconsideration of the concept of architectural regionalism in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, drawing on cultural and economic geography to remap the contours of architectural and urban history in the Southwestern United States.


“The Telegraphic Interior: Networking Space for Capital Flows in the 1920s,” in Interior Provocations: History, Theory, and Practice of Autonomous Interiors, edited by Anca Lasc, Deborah Schneidermann, Keena Suh, Karin Tehve, Alexa Griffith Winton, and Karin Zieve (Routledge, October 2020) 181-204.



review of Tastemaker: Barbara Gordon, House Beautiful, and the Postwar American Home, by Monica Penick in Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 79 (March 2020), 116-117.

review of Politics and Furniture: Identity, Diplomacy, and Persuasion in Post-War Interiors, edited by Fredie Flore and Cammie McAtee in Buildings and Landscapes 26 (Fall 2019) 125-127.


Shaping the American Interior: Structures, Contexts and Practices, co-edited with Penny Sparke (New York: Routledge, 2018)

Groundbreaking and definitive history of the interior design profession and its prehistory in the United States since the 1870s. Lead editor, author of the introduction and a 3500-word essay “For Men and By Men: Furnishings the YMCA” on the YMCA’s distinctive in-house design practice, run exclusively by men and based on business and management principles.



“The Wainwright Building: Monument of St. Louis’ Lager Landscape,” Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 77 (December 2018) 428-477.


Manhood Factories: YMCA Architecture and the Making of Modern Urban Culture (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2010).


Blog Posts


Society of Architectural Historians, College Art Association, Vernacular Architecture Forum, Society of American City and Regional Planning Historians, Historic Interiors Group

Paula Lupkin

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