Henry H. Wiss Center for Theory & History of Art & Architecture
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The Henry H. Wiss Center for Theory and History of Art and Architecture (formerly Center for Theory and History of Architecture) was established in 1984 at Virginia Tech's College of Architecture and Urban Studies for the purpose of gathering and actualizing interests in teaching, study and research of contemporary and historic art and architecture and theory. From its inception, the Center has been committed to providing students who wish to study the history of art and architecture, architectural criticism or design theory with frameworks for understanding, with methods by which the studies may be pursued, and with opportunities for examining these questions in a discussion forum.

Lecture courses and seminars coordinated by the Center every year reflect individual research interests of the faculty involved. But a major emphasis is generally placed on the cultural background of ideas, particularly of dominant twentieth century ideas, which are of central importance both to the historian and to the designer.


Henry H. Wiss: Teacher, Architect & Artist (1913-1994)

Henry Harold Wiss, Professor Emeritus of the College of Architecture and Urban Studies at Virginia Tech, was educated at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY. A well known photographer and lecturer, he taught at Clemson University before coming to Virginia Tech, where he was a registered architect and taught architectural history, architectural design, and courses on drawing techniques and watercolor for 37 years, before retiring in 1983.

Multi-talented Professor Wiss was often thought of as a "Universal Man of the Renaissance." Throughout his life, he cultivated a wide variety of interests and developed a legendary versatility. Architecture was his occupation, but his other talents were not far behind. He was an accomplished musician (he played the piano, the organ, and the guitar); gardening was his delight; and drafting and watercolors were natural forms of artistic expression for him.

Above all, however, Professor Wiss was a devoted teacher who touched many generations of students at Virginia Tech in a special way. In recognition of his manifold contributions to our institution, the College of Architecture and Urban Studies has renamed its Center for Theory and History of Architecture, the Henry H. Wiss Center for Theory and History of Art and Architecture.


Some of the main themes addressed by the Center include:

1. The major histories of art and architecture and ways in which historians have, and do depict history.

2. The approaches of architects and the relationship between these approaches and the architectural products (whether building projects or writings), with particular reference to their cultural context.

3. The part played by criticism and debate in the development of a culture and the regulating roles of tradition, norms and conventions.

4. Art and architecture theories, both historical and current, and the problem of the artist/architect's perspective in examining the history of art and architecture.

5. The Center conducts monthly meetings for its membership and invited speakers during the academic year, normally on the first Wednesday of every month. Public events sponsored by the Center include lectures and exhibitions on a variety of art and architecture history and theory topics.

6. The Henry H. Wiss Award for Academic Achievement in Art and Architecture History and Theory is given by the Center every year to a deserving undergraduate or graduate student in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies.


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Friendly Links:

Simbology and projective genesis in architecture http://sapiens.ya.com/jrcuadra/jringles.htm

Cybercore History Project

The International Archive of Women in Architecture (IAWA)