Building Brands: Corporations and Modern Architecture by Grace Ong Yan


  • Grace Ong Yan

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Lecture description:

Grace Ong Yan discusses her new book, Building Brands: Corporations and Modern Architecture, which examines how clients, architects, and designers together crafted buildings to reflect the company’s brand, carefully considering consumers’ perception and their emotions towards the architecture and the messages they communicated. As the first in-depth book to explore the role of branding in the design of corporate modernism, Building Brands re-tells the stories of four corporate headquarters in the context of both business and architectural histories: the PSFS Building by Howe and Lescaze, the Johnson Wax Building by Frank Lloyd Wright, Lever House by SOM, and The Röhm & Haas Building by Pietro Belluschi and George M. Ewing Co. In her illustrated talk, Grace Ong Yan explores the development of the branding concept in architecture- a much needed analysis of a widely used concept, thus providing a new perspective of architecture and design in mid-century American modernism.


Grace Ong Yan is Assistant Professor in the College of Architecture and the Built Environment at Thomas Jefferson University in East Falls. As an architectural historian, educator, and architect, her scholarship explores alternate theories of modernism, intersections of media and the built environment, and interdisciplinary collaborations. The author of Architect: The Pritzker Prize Laureates in their own Words, 1st and 2nd editions, she has also contributed to Companion to the History of Architecture, Vol. IV, Twentieth-Century Architecture and the journal Design and Culture. She earned her B.Arch. at the University of Texas at Austin, her M.Arch. at Yale University, and her PhD in Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania.