Honoring the Legacy of Urban Design Pioneer Jaqueline Tyrwhitt
The GSD renamed the 50th Anniversary of Urban Design Program Lecture for Jaqueline Tyrwhitt, a GSD associate professor who worked to establish and fortify the urban design program during its founding years. The Jaqueline Tyrwhitt Urban Design Lecture will be delivered each year by a visionary urban planner, designer, scholar, or leader who has opened novel directions in urban-design thinking and traced new intersections between urban design and other disciplines. Moshe Safdie, Lee Cott MAUD ’70, and Jay Chatterjee MAUD ’65 played a key role in establishing the original lecture in 2010 and fortifying its energy since.
About Professor Jaqueline Tyrwhitt
Written by Sarah M. Whiting, Dean and Josep Lluís Sert Professor of Architecture
Professor Tyrwhitt (1905–1983) served as an Associate Professor at the GSD between 1955 and 1969, and worked to establish and fortify the urban design program during its founding years. Professor Tyrwhitt—or Jacky, as she preferred to be called by friends—spent her early years in London and the English countryside. While taking a course at the Architectural Association, she found inspiration in the work of Patrick Geddes and his view of urban planning as organic rather than predetermined; her study and illumination of Geddes’s ideas would later prove seminal. After World War II, Tyrwhitt would stake out a transformative role in shaping the post-war Modern Movement toward decentralized urban, community, and residential design. She left England for Canada in 1951, working to establish a graduate program in city and regional planning at the University of Toronto. She arrived at the GSD in 1955, teaching here until her retirement in 1969.
Central forces throughout Professor Tyrwhitt’s pedagogy include her humanistic approach to urban planning and design, and her commitment to communicating and sharing design discourse. She translated and edited all major works by Swiss art historian Sigfried Giedion, and in 1955 launched a journal titled Ekistics to activate the influence of Greek architect and planner Constantinos Doxiadis. She moved to Greece after her GSD retirement, settling on an Attic hillside near the village of Peania; she passed away there in 1983, working on her final book. Our Frances Loeb Library offers a number of Professor Tyrwhitt’s publications; additionally, she was a focus of the library’s 2018 exhibition “Feminine Power and the Making of Modern Architectural History.”