Feburary 10, 2012 — "Modernizing Main Street and Other Commercial Concerns" is the topic of a lecture by architectural historian and critic Gabrielle Esperdy on Feb. 22 at the University of Virginia\'s School of Architecture. Her talk is free and open to the public and will begin at 5:30 p.m. in Campbell Hall, room 158.
Esperdy\'s lecture will examine changes to, and changing attitudes toward, the commercial landscape in the United States in the middle of the 20th century. Bookended by New Deal efforts to modernize Main Street and National Trust programs to revitalize Main Street, her talk considers the architectural impact of the proliferation of the automobile and the critical responses it produced.
Esperdy\'s work examines the intersection of architecture, consumerism and modernism in urban and suburban landscapes, especially in the U.S. in the 20th and 21st centuries. Her first book, "Modernizing Main Street" (Chicago, 2008), examined efforts to use the architecture of modernism to transform shopping districts and commercial strips as an antidote to the Great Depression.
Her current book project studies attitudes toward the commercial landscape and their influence on architectural discourse since World War II. Her blog, American Road Trip, considers historical, monumental and offbeat sites, as well as the ordinary, nonheroic places and communities that are the cultural bedrock of the built and natural landscapes of America.
Esperdy is associate professor of architecture at the New Jersey Institute of Technology and editor of the Society of Architectural Historians\' Archipedia, an online resource for the history of the built environment. Her work has appeared in the Journal of Architectural Education, the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Architectural Design, Perspecta, History of Photography and Design Observer.
The lecture is sponsored by the Thomas Jefferson Society of Architectural Historians.
— By Jane Ford