Mary N. Woods

Both in her teaching and scholarship, Mary Woods has a particular interest in how film and photography shape and mediate our experience and understanding of space and the built environment as well as processes of design and the making of cities, landscapes, and buildings across historical periods and around the world.

Beyond the Architect's Eye: Photographs of the American Built Environment explores tradition and modernity in New York City, the American South, and Miami through art, documentary, and photography. This book received subventions from the Graham Foundation, Andrew Wyeth Foundation for American Art Publications, and, at Cornell, the Clarence Stein Institute and AAP's architecture department.

Woods has organized conferences, exhibitions, and film series at Cornell and is the editor for modern and contemporary South Asian architecture for the SAHARA/ArtStor project funded by the Mellon Foundation. She received her undergraduate degree from Duke University and her Ph.D. from Columbia University.

Academic Research/Specialty Areas

  • Architectural theory and history
  • Urbanism

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Classes (Selected)

  • ARCH 6816 Extreme Urbanisms: Maximum and Minimum Cities
  • ARCH 6816 Cars, Culture, and the City: From Ford to Nano
  • ARCH 3816 Cities on the Edge: New York and Los Angeles on Film
  • ARCH 3810/3811 History of the American Built EnvironmentReview of architecture, building, and responses to the landscape from the prehistoric period to the Civil War. Architecture and building as social and collaborative arts are emphasized and thus the contributions of artisans, clients, and users as well as professional architects and builders are examined. The architectural expressions of Native Americans, African Americans, women, and others are treated in addition to those of European colonists and settlers.
  • ARCH 3819 What Would Gordon (Matta-Clark) Do?This course addresses pertinent issues relative to the subject of History of Architecture and Urbanism. The instructor(s) of the course are drawn from the permanent and visiting faculty who may either broadly or narrowly define the course's scope and content. For precise content please see the Architecture Department webpage .

Awards, Grants, and Fellowships (Selected)

  • Appointment to Michael A. McCarthy Chair of Architectural Theory (2010)
  • Silver Medal, Florida Book Awards, Nonfiction, for New Deal in South Florida: Design, Policy and Community Building 1933–1940, Florida Books Awards Committee (2009)
  • Senior Research Fellowship, American Council of Learned Societies, for women architects in India (2007–08)
  • Senior Research Fellowship, Fulbright Foundation, for women architects in India (2002–03)
  • Research Fellow, Georgia O'Keeffe Museum and Study Center, for Alfred Stieglitz's New York photography (2003)

Exhibitions and Presentations (Selected)

  • Un Passage vers la Modernite: Les Photographies de Luc Durand en Inde, Luc Durand: Itinerarires d'un Architecte, ed., …tienne Desrosiers, Montreal: Imprimerie Groupe (2009)
  • Gordon Matta-Clark: Past, Present, and Future at Cornell, Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art and Cornell Cinema (2007)

Publications (Selected)