Sarah Whiting

Presentation Abstract

Countering the assumption that architecture is either autonomous or contextual, "Engaging Autonomy" asserts that architecture can be -- indeed, must be -- at once singularly unique while also being engaged within a larger context. Whiting will address this topic through readings of historical and contemporary examples, including projects from her own practice, WW, based in Houston, Texas.


Sarah Whiting possesses an indefatigable curiosity about how individuals constitute a public and, more specifically, through what forms (architecture and urbanism) that public manifests itself and is, in turn, formed. In her writing, her teaching and her practice, Whiting focuses on architecture's public audience and how architecture can engage that collective subject.

Whiting is Dean and William Ward Watkin Professor of Architecture at Rice University. She taught previously at Princeton, Harvard's GSD, the University of Kentucky, I.I.T., and the University of Florida. Whiting received her B.A. from Yale , her M.Arch. from Princeton, and her Ph.D. from M.I.T. Whiting's writing and editing has been published in numerous magazines and books ranging from Assemblage to Wired. Whiting co-founded WW with her partner, Ron Witte, in 1999. Some of their projects include the Lavenda-Escobar house in Houston, the master plan for St. Stephen's church and school in Houston, the Kaihui Business Center in Changsha, China, and the Golden House in Princeton, N.J.

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