January 9, 2008 — Dean Karen Van Lengen has appointed Louis Nelson to chair the Department of Architectural History at the University of Virginia School of Architecture. Nelson, an associate professor of architectural history, has taught at the School of Architecture since 2001, primarily in the field of early American architecture and related disciplines.
"It is an honor to chair a department that will continue to shape how we understand architecture through the eyes of those who commission, build, design, preserve and occupy buildings and landscapes," Nelson said.
During his time at U.Va,, Nelson has written several articles and two books, "American Sanctuary: Understanding Sacred Spaces" (2006) and "Pulpits, Piety and Power: Anglican Architecture Material in Colonial South Carolina" (under contract). He edits the journal "Buildings and Landscapes: the Journal of the Vernacular Architecture Forum" (University of Minnesota), and directs the Falmouth Field School in Historic Preservation in Jamaica, where students spend a month each summer documenting and preserving historic buildings.
Nelson has received several prestigious grants for his work and was the recipient of the University Teaching Award in spring 2007, the highest recognition for excellence in teaching at U.Va.
Nelson succeeds Dell Upton, who is now professor of art at the University of California at Los Angeles. While at U.Va., Upton played a significant role in shaping the goals of the architectural history department and helped shape a new shared doctoral program with the College of Arts and Sciences.