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Alexandra Staub

by wav103 Sep 16, 2020
Alexandra Staub

Professor of Architecture

Stuckeman School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture

College of Arts & Architecture

320 Stuckeman
University Park, PA 16802

Office Phone: (814) 865-4239


  1. Ph.D. Brandenburg Technical University at Cottbus
  2. Dipl.-Ing. Architecture, University of the Arts, Berlin
  3. B. A. Columbia University


Faculty Fellowship Project 2019-2020

“Ethics of the Built Environment” by Alexandra Staub
Abstract: Ethics in the built environment spans many thematically interlinked areas, including climate and sustainability, social justice and race, engineering ethics, health ethics, gender ethics, and public life. Building on my research and teaching of the past two years, my Rock Ethics Institute Faculty Fellowship project will adapt both stakeholder theory and principled negotiation theory to examine a broad sweep of ethical issues at the core of built environment design and production. The project will result in a peer-reviewed journal article (to be expanded into an edited book manuscript) and a series of articles aimed at a more general audience.

Professor Alexandra Staub's research centers on how our everyday life is reflected in our built environment and how our built environment shapes our understanding of who we are. As a society, we expend vast resources in shaping our built environment and ethical questions regarding its creation and use are wide-ranging. She understand architectural ethics broadly as questions of agency expressed through power and empowerment. More specifically, the building process presents an opportunity for architects and policymakers to consider ethical questions related to how we create and use space, including design processes and their social implications; the economic, ecological and social sustainability of the built environment; interpretations of private and public spaces, and how class and gender shape our expectations for the use of architecture and urban space.

She is interested in cross-disciplinary work. Her scholarly work, including books, book chapters, and articles, has focused on the creation and use of space in a variety of contexts. Her most recent book, Modernity, Space and Gender, is an edited volume that will appear in 2018. In this wide-ranging compilation authors from a variety of disciplines examine how modernity has been defined in different cultural contexts, how this has been expressed architecturally and spatially, and what effect this has had on the everyday life of women. In her 2015 book, Conflicted Identities: Housing and the Politics of Cultural Representation, she focuses on how political and cultural processes shape our built environment, using post-World War II West Germany as a case study. She concludes that nation states use officially sanctioned architecture to create a national identity that often diverges greatly from an identity represented by the vast realm of domestic space defined largely by those who occupy it.

Further articles have covered topics ranging from research policies in Germany for energy efficient housing, the role of the automobile in shaping housing policies in postwar Germany, and how marketing and consumerism is used to shape housing demand in the United States. As a member of the Department of Architecture’s Culture, Society and Space (CSS) Research Cluster, Alexandra Staub has been involved in research projects that have examined cultural aspects of housing and urban spaces in countries as diverse as the United States, Russia, Germany, China, India, Turkey, and Iran.

With experience as a professional architect and as a researcher, she teaches design studio courses in the professional B.Arch program in Penn State’s Stuckeman School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture as well as a research methods course and a course in architectural ethics at the graduate level.

Professor Staub received her Ph.D. at the Brandenburg Technical University (BTU) at Cottbus, Germany and her architecture degree at the University of the Arts in Berlin, Germany. Before that, she completed undergraduate work in Psychology at Barnard College of Columbia University in New York. She practiced architecture in Berlin and worked as a junior faculty member at the BTU Cottbus before joining Penn State in 2001.