Nathaniel Robert Walker

Associate Professor of Architectural History

Address: Harbor Walk West, Room 306
Phone: (843) 953-8226
E-mail: walkernr@cofc.edu
Curriculum Vitae: Download


Biography:

Dr. Nathaniel Robert Walker is an Associate Professor of Architectural History at the College of Charleston. He earned his Ph.D. at Brown University in the History of Art and Architecture, an MA in Architectural History from the Savannah College of Art and Design, and a BA in History (with a minor in German) at Belmont University. Nathaniel specializes in the history of public space such as squares and streets, and the ways in which architecture has been drafted into the social and political power systems that alternatively divide or unite people across the jagged, intersecting lines of race, gender, religion, class, etc. Many of his studies have focused on the relationships between architecture and the utopian dreams of progress and futurity that proliferated in nineteenth- and twentieth-century literature, film, advertising, and other media. He is inspired by the cross-cultural exchange in architectural aesthetics and believes that buildings and cities are most beautiful when they are built on a gentle human scale and informed by as many noble traditions and smart innovations as possible, as well as by the forms and systems of nature, such as flowers, snowflakes, and butterfly wings.
 
Walker recently published a book on Victorian science-fiction architecture and the fear of cities entitled Victorian Visions of Suburban Utopia: Abandoning Babylon (Oxford University Press: 2020). He also co-edited a book with Elizabeth Darling on powerful female interventions in public space and life entitled Suffragette City: Women, Politics, and the Built Environment (Routledge: 2019). His research has also been published in the Journal of the Society of Architectural HistoriansBuildings and LandscapesUtopian StudiesArris, a number of edited volumes, and was featured in an exhibition he co-curated with Jessica Streit entitled The City Luminous: Architectures of Hope in an Age of Fear, at Charleston's City Gallery in 2019, and at the show Building Expectation: Past and Present Visions of the Architectural Future, which he curated in 2011 at Brown University's David Winton Bell Gallery. He has been fortunate enough to give formal research presentations in many different places, from the American University of Beirut to Oxford University, from the Harvard GSD to the Kanazawa Institute of Technology, from the United Nations Conference Center in Addis Ababa to the Courtauld Institute. He is currently working on a project dedicated to the history of slavery and Charleston's waterfront urbanism, as well as a project on the dreams and nightmares that have grown atop modern roof gardens.

Research Interests

Dr. Walker's book Victorian Visions of Suburban Utopia: Abandoning Babylon is now available from Oxford University Press