Department of
Architecture and Built Environment

Image of Jordan Kauffman

Jordan Kauffman

Assistant Professor, Faculty of Engineering



Dr Jordan Kauffman is Assistant Professor at the University of Nottingham.

Jordan has for many years taught architectural history to students of all levels, from undergraduate to master's degree and doctoral students. He has taught in the United States at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Tufts University, Brandeis University, Boston University, and most recently in Australia at the University of Melbourne and Monash University.

He holds a PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an MA from the Architectural Association, London, and a BA from Hobart and William Smith Colleges.

Prior to his career in academia, Jordan worked in architecture firms as a designer and project manager, in the press and marketing department of Zaha Hadid Architects, and as the managing editor of the architecture journal Log

Jordan is part of the Architecture, Culture & Tectonics Research group.

Expertise Summary

Jordan's research and teaching focus on a number of areas. One is on the history of architectural representations, and the bulk of his scholarly outputs have thus far been centered on this theme. His book Drawing on Architecture: The Object of Lines was published by the MIT Press in 2017, and he has published articles on other aspects of architectural drawings, such as sketching and CAD.

Teaching Summary

Jordan teaches architectural history and theory. He is particularly involved in the development of global architectural history methods and decolonizing and indigenizing curricula.

Research Summary

While Jordan's focus is primarily the modern and contemporary periods broadly conceived (1750-present), aspects of his work span from prehistory to the present, with particular interests in… read more

Current Research

While Jordan's focus is primarily the modern and contemporary periods broadly conceived (1750-present), aspects of his work span from prehistory to the present, with particular interests in architectural representations, art-architecture relationships, Indigenous knowledge and lifeways, and global architectural history and pedagogy. Through these areas, he explores architecture's cultural positioning, and more specifically how architecture, built or unbuilt, is influenced by and impacts cultures.

This is exemplified in his first book Drawing on Architecture: The Object of Lines, 1970-1990 (MIT Press, 2018), which unravelled the ascension of architectural drawings during the postmodern era by exposing the transnational social and economic forces that shifted understandings placed on them, the impact this had on their collection and preservation as objects with historical and cultural value, the effects of this on the discipline and practice of architecture, and how it influenced our knowledge of architecture.

Hiis current book project, Modelling Postmodernism, explores the limits of these understandings by focusing on architectural models, arguing that while drawings placed in exhibitions, collections, sales, and as subjects of critique, fairly easily transgressed their disciplinary and conceptual boundaries during this time (as evidenced in Drawing on Architecture), models in equivalent contexts were largely resistant to conceptual change; they were only understood as containing similar values by institutions already vested in the preservation of architectural processes. Simultaneously, the book proposes and illustrates that models were "uncomfortable objects" - malleable, constantly changing, and seldom exhibiting stability of purpose. It is a historical analysis of the mutability and indeterminacy of objects, the porosity of concepts, and the relationship between objects and concepts as they navigate different contexts, as well as an investigation into how values, understandings, and knowledge are governed by the structures within which objects are perceived.

Past Research

In addition to the project listed above, Jordan has written on architectural exhibitions, early experiments in computer-aided design, and Renaissance architectural drawings and Michelangelo's drawings for the Porta Pia in Rome.

He has been an active member of the Global Architectural History Teaching Collaborative (GAHTC), a network of scholars committed to revising and enriching architectural history and education, and addressing issues of social justice and inclusion. Two development grants that he completed for the GAHTC -The American Continuum: Architecture and Culture (with mark Jarzombek and Ana Maria Léon) and A Global History of Architectural Representations-produced open course materials for educators, and recommended teaching approaches both to expand curriculum towards more diverse knowledge and to reconsider established narratives through a decolonized, global lens.

Future Research

Jordan is currently developing a project, The Cultural Costs of Architecture, which seeks to reassess architecture's impact by asserting cultural loss as intrinsic to architecture's production. The goal is to produce research and teaching materials that examine how and where architecture and the industries upon which it relies-global networks of extractive infrastructure, material exchange, and supply chains-deeply affect Indigenous cultures and landscapes, and investigates mines as a fulcrum that balances architecture and the future of humanity's cultural history. Presently, it focuses on iron-ore mines and their associated infrastructure and Indigenous Country in Australia, as well as Australia's discourses of extractivism, with the intention of drawing worldwide parallels with other Indigenous lands, territories, and resources.

Department of Architecture and Built Environment

The University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0) 115 95 14184