Katherine Solomonson

Associate Professor, Architecture

Katherine Solomonson teaches architectural and urban history in the Department of Architecture, and also holds positions in the Departments of American Studies, Art History, and Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature. Her teaching and scholarship address issues concerning the complex roles built environments (and the processes involved in shaping them) play in the production of values, identities, and social relations.

She has a particular interest in the ways in which histories of cultural landscapes intersect with contemporary planning, policy, and historic preservation. Before coming to the University of Minnesota she taught at Stanford University and co-directed a study of the cultural landscape of East Palo Alto, CA. At the University of Minnesota she has worked with the Design Center for American Urban Landscape on public housing and on postwar suburbia, including the national conference, “Reframing the 1945-65 Suburb.” Her recent book, The Chicago Tribune Tower Competition: Skyscraper Design and Cultural Change in the 1920s (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001), examines the ways in which the competition and resulting building became engaged in the growth of consumer culture and the production of national identity.

Katherine Solomonson currently serves on Minnesota State Review Board for National Register Nominations; the board of Buildings of the United States (Society of Architectural Historians); and on the University of Minnesota Press's Committee on the Press. She has received CALA's Ralph Rapson Award for Distinguished Teaching, and Roy Jones Award for Outstanding Research, as well as the Society of Architectural Historians' Alice Davis Hitchcock Award for her book on the Chicago Tribune Tower Competition.

Read more


Ph.D., History of Art, Stanford University

Teaching Areas

  • History of American and European architecture, ca. 1700-present
  • History of suburbia
  • American housing

Current Research

The early work of Cass Gilbert: the designs for houses, churches, schools, office buildings, railroad depots, and public buildings he produced while he was based in St. Paul, Minnesota (see publications, below).

Expand all


  • The Chicago Tribune Tower Competition: Skyscraper Design and Cultural Change in the 1920s. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001.
  • "Remnants of a Failed Utopia: Reconstructing Runnymede's Cultural Landscape," in Shaping Communities, eds. Elizabeth Cromley and Carter Hudgins. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1997.
  • "The Chicago Tribune Tower: Patronage, Reception, and Cultural Authority," in The Skyscraper Culturally Considered, ed. Roberta Moudry. New York: Cambridge University Press, forthcoming.
  • Cass Gilbert's Architecture in the Great Northwest: Constructing a National Landscape , (with Janet Whitmore, and contributions by Charles Lockes and Thomas Blanck), to be published in 2006 by the University of Minnesota Press.

Katherine Solomonson


151K Rapson Hall
89 Church Street SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455
Map address