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Faculty + Staff Profiles

Phil Gruen

Phil Gruen

Associate ProfessorArchitecture 509-335-2309 Daggy Hall 318 PO Box 642220

Phil Gruen brings a wide-ranging, interdisciplinary perspective to the school. An historian of the built environment with expertise in American architecture and urbanism of the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries, Gruen’s courses employ the interdisciplinary methods of the cultural landscape while emphasizing interpretation, story, and narrative as crucial tools for reading the built environment. At WSU, he has taught lecture courses and seminars in modern architecture, historic preservation, tourism and travel, vernacular architecture, the cultural landscape, and the global history of design, and he has garnered several awards for teaching excellence. He was awarded as an Honors College Faculty Fellow in 2017 and taught courses in the Honors College in spring of 2019 and 2020. Gruen also served as SDC director from 2015-17 and interim director from 2014-15.

Gruen has published nearly seventy peer-reviewed articles, encyclopedia entries, and book reviews and presented at more than forty conferences and events on a range of topics: from Charles Rennie Mackintosh to Disneyland, San Francisco’s Chinatown, land-grant university campuses, modern stadiums, and the re-creation of the mining frontier in Virginia City, Montana. His first book, Manifest Destinations: Cities and Tourists in the Nineteenth-Century American West (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2014), explores the frequent disconnect between the promotion of the built environment and its encounter in four western cites: Chicago, Denver, Salt Lake City, and San Francisco. Gruen’s current research is focused in the Pacific Northwest: he co-coordinated the Society of Architectural Historians’ Archipedia “100 Classic Buildings” project for the state of Washington, investigated the Sunrise development at Mount Rainier National Park, and is conducting research on the buildings and landscapes of the WSU campus. Gruen serves on the Historic Preservation Commission for the city of Pullman and the Historic Preservation Committee and the UCORE Committee for WSU. He is also a member of the Board of Directors for the Vernacular Architecture Forum and the Marion Dean Ross / Pacific Northwest Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians.


Doctor of Philosophy in Architecture, University of California, Berkeley.

Master of Arts in History of Architecture and Art, University of Illinois, Chicago.

Bachelor of Arts in Art History and Criticism (Cum Laude), University of California, San Diego.