Professor, Program Head, Architecture
Office: CARP 114
Cohen’s research explores the subtle and complex proportional systems embedded in the 15th century buildings in Florence designed by Filippo Brunelleschi, the originator of Renaissance architecture. His new, broadly applicable method of recording building measurements and physical characteristics is a significant contribution to the field, which architectural researcher and colleague David Wang has termed “acute observation.”
Cohen’s methodology and findings challenge longstanding preconceptions about Renaissance architecture and proportional systems. Although widely used throughout history, for example, Cohen contends that proportional systems have never actually fulfilled the purposes that either their designers or later historians have claimed they have, such as contributing structural stability and beauty to architecture. Their primary function, according to Cohen, has been to imbue architecture with meaning, one of the major qualities that distinguishes architecture from mere building. Cohen believes that this fundamental importance of meaning applies to architecture of all periods, and he uses it as a common thread to draw history into the design studio. There he helps students develop modern design work imbued with meaning appropriate to contemporary society.
View more at https://wsu.academia.edu/MatthewACohen
Ph.D, Architectural History, Leiden University, The Netherlands.
Master of Architecture, Graduate School of Design, Harvard University
Master of Arts (Renaissance Art and Architecture), Syracuse University
Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies, University of Vermont
School of Design + Construction
Washington State University
100 Dairy Road
PO Box 642220
Pullman , WA 99164-2220