Art & Art History ETDs

Publication Date

Spring 4-13-2022


Histories of European and U.S. modernism conventionally accept that Enlightenment rational thought set modern architecture’s terms and criteria in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. Rationalism privileges visual and material properties; distinguishes between art, architecture, and craft; and identifies space with the structure that frames it. It normalized the view that buildings stand fixed, independent of our interaction with them, and perpetuates assumptions about what physically defines domestic space. Consequently, Japan’s significance for modern domestic space in Europe and the U.S. has been interpreted as structurally evident. Simultaneously, the architecture of European and U.S. modernists who did not think like rationalists has remained elusive. This dissertation revisits the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, Adolf Loos, and Eileen Gray from a phenomenological perspective—a perspective grounded in the spatial and temporal continuity of lived experience. Phenomenological analysis reveals that Japanese craft practices fundamentally shaped these modernists’ approaches to architecture in ways that have been mutually obscured by rationalism.



Document Type


Degree Name

Art History

Level of Degree


Department Name

UNM Department of Art and Art History

First Committee Member (Chair)

Dr. Christopher Curtis Mead (co-chair)

Second Committee Member

Dr. Susanne Anderson-Riedel (co-chair)

Third Committee Member

Dr. Olivia Lumpkin

Fourth Committee Member

Dr. Ken Tadashi Oshima


modernism, modern architecture, Japan, craft, domestic architecture, domestic space