Laura McGuire, PhD

The built environment shapes our perceptions of the past and our visions for the future. It is critical for architects to have thorough grounding in the history and theory of the built environment, because such knowledge fosters a deeper awareness of design’s potential impact on future generations. It also recognizes that architecture is, and has been, a continuously iterative product of our creative, functional, intellectual, and physical natures as human beings.

Research & Creative Work


Prof. McGuire’s research examines the repercussions of migration and exile on twentieth-century architecture and design. Through studies of Central European designers, such as Frederick Kiesler, Alfred Preis, and others, she explores how the displaced and ethnically marginalized have both enriched and challenged dominant design discourses on the mainland United States and in Hawai’i. She also studies the relationships between new media technologies, science fiction, and architectural theory, especially in theatrical and cinematic environments and on film.

Jacques Groag book

Ursula Prokop’s book on Jacques and Jacqueline Groag was edited and translated by Prof. McGuire.


European Immigrant Designers and North American Art Deco, by Prof. McGuire.

To read Prof. McGuire’s recent publications, please visit her page at:

Areas of Interest

History of American Architecture
History of Central European Architecture
History of Industrial Design
Migration and Design
History of Science in Architectural Thought
20th Century Modernism to World War II
Color in Architecture

Professional Experience

Virginia Tech School of Architecture + Design
University of Texas at Austin

Selected Publications

“Immigrant Designers and North American Art Deco.” The Routledge Companian to Art Deco. Eds. Michael Windover and Bridget Elliott. London: Routledge. Forthcoming 2017.

“Automatic Show Windows: Frederick Kiesler’s Retail Display Technology and Consumer Culture.” Display Architectures and Modern Retail. Eds. Ana Lasc, Patricia Lara-Betancourt, Margaret Maille Petty. London: Routledge, 2016.

“Energy, Correalism, and the Endless House.” Endless Kiesler. Eds. Klaus Bollinger and Florian Medicus, 60-88. Basel: Birkhäuser/Edition Angewandte, 2015.

“Universal Theaters: Frederick Kiesler’s Flexible Theater Architecture and the Generation of Creative Space.” Frederick Kiesler: Theatervisionäre—Architekt—Kunstler. Eds. Barbara Lesak and Thomas Trabitsch, 165-177. Vienna: Brandstätter, 2012.

“Space House,” Space House. Ed. Monika Pessler. Vienna: Frederick and Lillian Kiesler Foundation, 2012.

“A Movie House in Space and Time: Frederick Kiesler’s Film Arts Guild Cinema.” Studies in the Decorative Arts 14 (Spring-Summer 2007): 45-78.