Joseph L. Clarke

Associate Professor
Sidney Smith Hall, Room 6055


Fields of Study

Areas of Interest

  • Architecture since the 18th century
  • History of architectural theory
  • Media history and sound studies


I am fascinated by the modern built environment and how it has taken shape in dialogue with the evolving methods and intellectual frameworks of architecture as a discipline. Much of my work draws on media theory to explore how architectural ideas are represented and disseminated, and how buildings themselves facilitate (or frustrate) communication. My book Echo’s Chambers: Architecture and the Idea of Acoustic Space (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2021) is the first major English-language study to explore how acoustic experimentation has been entangled with the history of architectural form, type, and visualization.

The architectural legacy of Le Corbusier is an area of particular focus for me. Currently, my main research project looks at postwar corporate architecture and interiors in relation to debates about communication, teamwork, and the knowledge economy. For a parallel line of research, I am studying modern church architecture and related expressions of the sacred. Another of my interests is claims made in the 1970s and 80s for architectural autonomy.

Before becoming an art historian, I was trained as a designer and practiced architecture at Eisenman Architects and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. At the University of Toronto, my teaching and graduate supervision span various topics in nineteenth- and twentieth-century architecture. I organize the Architectural History Working Group.


Recent Courses

  • Introduction to Modern Architecture (undergraduate, FAH272)
  • Architectural Modernism, 1890-1968 (undergraduate, FAH373)
  • Art and Ideas (undergraduate, FAH102)
  • Modern Architecture and its Representations (graduate, FAH1759)
  • Acoustic Space (graduate, FAH1756)
  • Architectural History I (graduate, ARC1031)
  • Architectural History II (graduate, ARC1032)

Selected Publications

  • Echo’s Chambers: Architecture and the Idea of Acoustic Space (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2021).
  • “Too Much Information: Noise and Communication in an Open Office,” Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 82.3 (December 2023).
  • “Ear Building: Zuhören durch moderne Architektur,” in Listening/Hearing, ed. Carsten Seiffarth and Raoul Mörchen (Mainz: Schott, 2022), 235–51.
  • “The Electronic Campanile at Ronchamp,” in The Sound of Architecture: Acoustic Atmospheres in Place, ed. Angeliki Sioli and Elisavet Kiourtsoglou (Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2022), 131–44.
  • “Acoustic Naturalism,” Aeon, October 5, 2021,
  • “That Great Brouhaha: Picturing Sound in Nineteenth-Century France,” in Impressionism in the Age of Industry, ed. Caroline Shields (New York: Prestel, 2019), 50–59.

Honours/Awards or Grants Received

  • Research Fellow, Canadian Centre for Architecture (Montreal), 2021
  • Learning & Education Advancement Fund Grant, University of Toronto, “Canada Constructed: Teaching Canadian Architectural History,” 2020–23 (with Christy Anderson)
  • SSHRC Insight Grant, “Open Office Design and the Acoustics of the Knowledge Economy, 1960–1980,” 2018–22
  • Visiting Scholar, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (Berlin), 2018


Jospeh Clarke Book Covers - Echo's Chambers & Grey Room 60


PhD, Yale University, 2014
MArch, University of Cincinnati, 2006

Administrative Service

Chair, 2024-Present
Associate Chair and Director of Undergraduate Studies, 2022–2023