Simon Sadler, Ph.D.

  • Professor of Architectural and Urban History and Chancellor’s Fellow, UC Davis
  • Urbanism
  • Design
  • Bicycles and cars
Graduate Group TTP


Simon Sadler is Professor of Architectural and Urban History and Chancellor’s Fellow at the University of California, Davis. His books on the ideological history of late-twentieth-century vanguard architecture include Archigram: Architecture without Architecture (MIT Press, 2005); Non-Plan: Essays on Freedom, Participation and Change in Modern Architecture and Urbanism (Architectural Press, 2000, co- editor, Jonathan Hughes); and The Situationist City (MIT Press, 1998).

His current research centers around countercultural design, the legacies of the late avant-garde, and the ways in which design is employed to model complicated concerns and processes. Recent articles and essays include “L’Architecture dans le Salon: The Civic Architecture of a Projective Modernism,” in Mark Crinson and Claire Zimmerman, eds., Architecture from Neo-Avant-garde to Postmodern in Britain and Beyond (New Haven: Yale University Press for the Mellon Center for Studies in British Art, 2010); “Fast Forward and Rewind” (with Christina Cogdell), Volume, vol. 24, 2010; “Cast Adrift,” in Fiona Bradley, ed., Toby Paterson: Consensus and Collapse, (Edinburgh: Fruitmarket Gallery, 2010); “PEOPLE/ANIMALS. FRIENDS,” Archigram Archival Project at the University of Westminster (http:/ /, 2010; “An Architecture of the Whole,” Journal of Architectural Education, vol. 61, no. 4, 2008; “One modernism? One history? One world? One Guedes?,” in Pancho Guedes: An Alternative Modernist (Basle: Swiss Architecture Museum / Christoph Merian Verlag, 2007); “At Home with Robert Arneson,” You See: the early years of the UC Davis studio art faculty (Davis: Nelson Art Gallery, University of California, 2007); “Drop City Revisited,” Journal of Architectural Education, vol. 58, no. 1, 2006.

At UC Davis, he teaches courses in the history and theory of architecture and urban design. His undergraduate courses are Introduction to Architectural History; “Great Cities”: London, Paris, Vienna in the Nineteenth-Century; Twentieth Century Architecture; and Contemporary Architecture. His recent graduate seminars have examined Sacramento’s New Crocker Museum; the design of the UC Davis campus; countercultural architecture; contemporary architecture in California; vanguard architecture after World War II; and theories of urban culture. He supervises thesis, dissertation and independent studies students in Art History, Cultural Studies, Performance Studies, Comparative Literature, Anthropology and History. He is a member of the Art History, Performance Studies, and Cultural Studies Graduate Programs, and is a member of the Davis Humanities Institute Environmental Humanities Supercluster.

He previously taught in the Institute of Architecture, University of Nottingham, UK; the History of Art Department at Trinity College, University of Dublin, Ireland; the History of Art Department of the Open University, UK; and the History and Theory of Art and Design Department of the University of Central England, UK. He holds a Ph.D. in the History of Art from the Open University, an M.A. in History of Art, Design & Contextual Studies from the University of Central England, and a B.A. in History from King’s College, University of London. He serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Architectural Education, the advisory board of The Architect’s Newspaper, the Advisory Board to the Architectural Humanities Research Association (UK), and is past Fellow of the Paul Mellon Center for Studies in British Art. He has lectured widely in the USA and Europe, including recent talks at the University of Minho, Portugal; the University of California, Santa Barbara; the New Jersey Institute of Technology; the Escola Tècnica Superior d’Arquitectura de Barcelona; and Stanford University.

AHI 25 Introduction to Architectural History (4)

Lecture—3 hours; discussion—1 hour. Formal and
social history of architecture, examining design principles, major traditions, and concepts of architectural history with a focus on issues in Western architecture. Emphasis on nineteenth and twentieth centuries.


AHI 168 Great Cities (4)

Lecture—3 hours; term paper. Transformation in architecture and urban form in Paris, London, and Vienna in the context of varying social, political, and economic systems as well as very different cultural traditions, concentrating on the years 1830-1914. Offered in alternate years.


AHI 184 Twentieth Century Architecture (4)

Lecture—3 hours; term paper. Prerequisite: course 25 recommended. Major movements in architecture of the twentieth century in Europe and America. Formal innovations are examined within the social, political, and economic circumstances in which they emerged.


AHI 187 Contemporary Architecture (4)

Lecture—3 hours; term paper. Prerequisite: course 25 and/or course 184 recommended. Introduction to world architecture and urban design since circa 1966. Relation of influential styles, buildings, and architects to postmodern debates and to cultural, economic, technological and environmental change. Offered in alternate years.


AHI 288 Seminar in European and American Architecture (4)

Seminar—3 hours; term paper. Exploration of selected topics in European and American architectural history with concentration on the Modern Period.

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