Laura Brugger

Laura Brugger

Undergraduate Faculty

After spending most of her childhood in Charlottesville, Virginia, where her parents were professors, Laura Brugger stayed to earn her B.A. at the University of Virginia, studying as an Echols Scholar and graduating Phi Beta Kappa. Her interest in political theory and 19th-century literature as an undergraduate evolved into fascination with the intersection between politics, society and the built environment in graduate school. After working for one year at an architectural firm in Washington, D.C., she moved to New York to attend Columbia University, where she completed Master of Architecture and Master of Historic Preservation degrees. Upon graduation, she worked for two years with an historic preservation consulting firm in Los Angeles, reviewing and assisting in the repair of buildings damaged by the Northridge earthquake, ranging from Frank Lloyd Wright designs to modest Craftsman bungalows. She then returned to the Art History Department at Columbia to earn a doctorate in Architectural History. She specialized in 19th-century English architecture for her oral exams and focused on 19th-century American buildings for her dissertation. Entitled “Constructing Taste: Athenaeums and Academies of Art in the United States, 1805-1865,” her dissertation proposes correlations between changing theories of public art perception and the evolution of architectural styles chosen for public art galleries in early 19th-century America. Laura’s broad teaching experience over the years includes courses on art history as well as architectural history, theory and urbanism at Columbia, Pratt Institute, the State University of New York at Purchase, NY and the California College of Arts. Besides teaching, she happily dedicates her time to her husband, three daughters, running and yoga.