Spitzer Faculty Among Brinck Book Award Winners

Catherine Seavitt Nordenson, director of Spitzer’s Master of Architecture Landscape program was named as one of the winners in the University of New Mexico School of Architecture’s book and lecture award, On The Brinck.

In conjunction with the award, Professor Seavitt Nordenson will be part of a book talk, held by UNM SA+P on Monday, Feb. 7 at 7:30pm EST, together with one of her co-awardees, Charles Davis, who was recognized for his book, Building Character: The Racial Politics of Modern Architectural Style. Anticipated theme of the talk will be a discussion on buildings, landscapes, the construction of the state, and the construction of national character.


Seavitt Nordenson was awarded for her book Depositions: Roberto Burle Marx and Public Landscape Under Dictatorship. University of Texas Press, 2018.

The jury made the following comments on Depositions and Building Character:

“Depositions, by Catherine Seavitt-Nordenson ‘is a creative, rich and multi-disciplinary book that integrates original documents, critical discussion and close observation of Brazilian landscape architect, Roberto Burle Marx’s design work. This volume is seamless and well written, accessible and explorable. It reveals the contemporary relevance of landscape architecture and public space through a historical study. It discusses profound societal and cultural change, similar to the contemporary issues we face, like the pandemic and our political situation. Implications of this volume are present for moral and ethical contributions to design disciplines. The way the author contextualizes the politics and ethics as the context for Burle Marx’s work is a clever way to deal with a messy situation; the author is not an apologist for the regime. The volume is decentered from the West, and it contextualizes design as heritage.'”

“Building Character, by Charles L. Davis, ‘explores cultural biases in design by reinvestigating prominent voices in architecture and planning. This retelling of a familiar story in new ways is good for teaching as it brings up valuable and difficult questions—what assumptions do we have as we read this? What is American nationalism and naturalism? What is it that we want to bring attention to?'”

“The criteria for book nominations [were]: 1) The book should break new ground, be a trailblazer, a new study or area that takes the reader past former work; 2) The book should contribute to the creative arts in an integrative way, across the three disciplines of architecture, landscape architecture and urban planning and design; and 3) The book should be approachable to students with writing that is relevant, and offers contemporary understanding (to the issues of our times, with voice as much as subject).”

Read more about the BRINCK Book and Lecture Award here.