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Nicholas Risteen

Assistant Teaching Professor of Architecture
Headshot of Nicholas Risteen
225 Stuckeman

Nicholas Risteen is an architectural historian and theorist. His research encompasses the intersection of architecture, media studies, literature, history of science, and critical theory as it pertains to ruins and theories of ruination. Focusing on 19th—21st century architecture and urbanism in Japan, his book project “After the Disaster: Architecture and Ruination in Twentieth Century Japan” explores the developing relationships between architectural experimentation, large-scale urban destruction, and trauma studies between the Great Kantō Earthquake of 1923 and the end of the Shōwa Period in 1989. A second research project explores the expansion of architectural criticism in postwar Japanese print culture through the work of Nishiyama Uzō, Taki Kōji, Isozaki Arata, and others.

Prior to teaching at Penn State, Risteen taught in the Writing Program at Princeton University as well as in the graduate architecture program at Pratt Institute. Before engaging his graduate work in history and theory, he was an architect and urban designer in New York, Paris, and Philadelphia.

  • Education
    • Ph.D. from Princeton University
    • M.Arch. from Rice University
    • B.A. from Brown University
  • Courses Taught
    • ARCH 210: Ideas Across Time in Architecture and Urbanism
    • ARCH 311W: Architectural and Planning Theories
    • ARCH 511: Theoretical Perspectives in Architecture
  • Honors + Awards
    • Fulbright Fellowship-IIE to Japan 2016-17
    • Toshizo Watanabe Foundation Grant 2014-15
    • Toshiba International Foundation Grant 2015
    • Kathryn Davis Foundation Fellowship for Peace Studies 2013
  • Expertise

    Architectural history and theory, architecture and urbanism of Japan, media studies, ruins