Nana Last headshot
NL

Nana D. Last

Associate Professor
Director, Ph.D. Program
Unit: School of Architecture
Department: Department of Architecture
Office location and address
Campbell Hall 421
110 Bayly Dr
Charlottesville, Virginia 22903
Education
Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Master of Architecture, Harvard University
B.A., Carnegie-Mellon University
Biography

My scholarly work constructs theory-based intersections between architecture, art, science and culture in modern and contemporary society. At the center of this undertaking is the conviction that theory, by nature is interdisciplinary, and therefore is a preeminent tool in relating thinking from one realm into another. This has generated three main strains of my research: 1. intersections of architecture and philosophy, 2. research in conceptual art and architecture, and 3. intersections between narrative, technology and science. Current topics include architectural fluidity, cultural relations between architecture and Big Data and work on visualizing intellectual constructs in science and cultural theory.

I teach courses in architecture theory, design studio and doctoral level research. These courses build on my core research as a contemporary, interdisciplinary theorist. My interdisciplinary approach to architecture theory, aims to understand and elucidate architecture’s place in culture as it has developed over the twentieth century and into the twenty-first. The architecture design studios I teach share this interdisciplinary, theory component, and most recently have provided a forum to examine how revolutions in the physical sciences might be addressed within design projects. The PhD research colloquium takes a supra-disciplinary focus on core thesis argument and discourse development and refinement.

ARCH 4820: Teaching Experience
Credits: 3
Selected students lead a seminar (of 8 to 10 younger students each) for 'Lessons of the Lawn' and 'Lessons in Making.' All student assistants attend class lectures (for a second time) and then meet with their seminar groups weekly, leading discussions of topics and questions raised by the instructor.
ARCH 5500: Special Topics in Architecture
Credits: 1–6
Topical offerings in architecture.
ARCH 5590: Faculty Research Seminar
Credits: 1–4
Affords students opportunities to participate in specific faculty's advance research projects.
ARCH 7120: 20th Century History of Ideas
Credits: 3
This course will investigate the role that ideas play in the conception, making and interpretation of buildings. As a basis for this inquiry, the course will explore significant architectural and urban theories, design strategies, and architectural projects developed primarily from the beginning of the 20th century to the present. Lectures will cover a broad range of theoretical positions that have influenced or emerged from form making.
SARC 8120: Ethics, Politics, & Aesthetics
Credits: 3
The shaping, production and analysis of the constructed environment has ethical, political and aesthetic implications that are often inextricably related. Ethics, Politics, and Aesthetics is an interdisciplinary theory course that examines major issues and methodologies in twentieth century theories of history, production, time, space and representation: including critical theory, phenomenology, semiotics, post-structuralism and psychoanalysis.
SARC 8500: Adv Special Topics in the School of Architecture
Credits: 1–4
Topical offerings in the School of Architecture.
ARCH 8500: Special Topics in Architecture
Credits: 1–6
Topical offerings in architecture.
ALAR 8999: Non-Topical Design Research-Masters
Credits: 1–12
Independent Design Thesis Studio. Prerequisite: ALAR 8100 and permission of the chair.
SARC 9911: Research Colloquium I
Credits: 3
The research colloquium focuses on individual research, methods and project development. The course provides a forum for the interaction and learning among graduate students from various disciplines, and at different stages in the progress of research. The objective is for students to learn how to articulate their inquiry, and to critically question and compare their own research and methods of inquiry to those found in other disciplines.
SARC 9912: Research Colloquium II
Credits: 3
The research colloquium focuses on individual research, methods and project development. The course provides a forum for the interaction and learning among graduate students from various disciplines, and at different stages in the progress of research. The objective is for students to learn how to articulate their inquiry, and to critically question and compare their own research and methods of inquiry to those found in other disciplines.
SARC 9913: Research Colloquium III
Credits: 3
The research colloquium focuses on individual research, methods and project development. The course provides a forum for the interaction and learning among graduate students from various disciplines, and at different stages in the progress of research. The objective is for students to learn how to articulate their inquiry, and to critically question and compare their own research and methods of inquiry to those found in other disciplines.
SARC 9914: Research Colloquium IV
Credits: 3
The research colloquium focuses on individual research, methods and project development. The course provides a forum for the interaction and learning among graduate students from various disciplines, and at different stages in the progress of research. The objective is for students to learn how to articulate their inquiry, and to critically question and compare their own research and methods of inquiry to those found in other disciplines.
SARC 9993: Advanced Independent Research
Credits: 1–6
Advanced independent research on topics selected by individual students in consultation with a faculty advisor. Prerequisite: Permission of the Director.
SARC 9998: Non-Topical Doctoral Prep
Credits: 1–12
For doctoral research, taken before a dissertation director has been selected.
SARC 9999: Non-Topical Research
Credits: 1–12
For doctoral dissertation, taken under the supervision of a dissertation director.

Graham Foundation Research and Development Grant, 2009-2010

Getty Library Research Grant, "Logics of Incorporation", Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, 2004

Arthur W. Wheelwright Fellowship, " Cartesian Grounds: The Extended Planes of Modernism", Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Cambridge, MA, 1998

First Award, design competition for the African American Burial Grounds Memorial, New York, Municipal Arts Society, New York, NY, 1994