Meredith L. Clausen is a professor in the departments of Art History and Architecture where she has taught architectural history since 1979, with occasional quarters at Stanford, Tokyo Institute of Technology, and elsewhere. She received her M.A. in Gothic architecture and her Ph.D. in modern architecture from the University of California, Berkeley. Her dissertation was on the Samaritaine, a Belle Epoque department store which proved a capstone of the series of great 19th c. Parisian department stores; its fully exposed steel structure was also one of the most radical buildings built in the city at the time; occupying a pivotal site at the end of the Pont Neuf on the Right Bank of the Seine just down from the Louvre, the building has been bought by the luxury enterprise LVMH, and is currently under renovation by Pritzker Prize SANAA Architects. Clausen's research pursuits are broad, and include the department store as a building type, the origins of the regional shopping center, the life and work of the Italian-born, American-based architect Pietro Belluschi, the Pan Am Building in New York, Michael Graves and the controversial postmodernist Portland Building in Portland, Oregon. She has also published on women in architecture, architectural criticism and the career of Ada Louise Huxtable, on the Case Study Houses architect Craig Ellwood, and the Tour Montparnasse in Paris. Her recent work focuses on Le Corbusier's early years in Paris, the Belle Epoque, and the emergence of Modern Architecture; a second area is on Walter Benjamin and the historiography of arcades, department stores, and shopping centers, about which she is currently writing a book chapter. Beyond her publishing, her research interests extend to Asia and the Middle East, especially contemporary developments in China, and the work of Westerners such as Rem Koolhaas, Stephen Holl, and Frank Gehry, abroad.
In addition to her involvement in the professional organization of architectural historians, the Society of Architectural Historians, in the U.S., Clausen is also active in the EAHN, the European Architectural History Network. She has also developed an online database of copyright-controlled images of cities and buildings across time and throughout the world as a multi-disciplinary resource for students, faculty, and others in the academic community (http://content.lib.washington.edu/buildingsweb/index.html). Begun in 1996, the online cities/buildings database has grown steadily with contributions from other faculty members and students, and includes a wide range of images from remote regions in Russia, Tibet, Nepal, Indonesia, Burna, Hong Kong, Cairo, as well as the more customary European and American sites. It is a resource available to anyone free of cost with access to the Web for use in academic pursuits. She has also recently been made an honorary member of the AIA.
Her books include: The Samaritaine: Palimpsest of Paris, ed. by Jean-François Cabestan, Picard, Paris, 2015 (Clausen chapter on the building's history); The Pan Am Building and the Shattering of the Modernist Dream (2005); Pietro Belluschi: Modern American Architect (1994);Spiritual Space: The Religious Architecture of Pietro Belluschi (1992); and Frantz Jourdain, Art Nouveau Theory & Criticism, and the Samaritaine (1987). She has also published numerous articles, in the JSAH (Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians), Casabella, American Historical Review, Architectronic, and theEncyclopedia of Architecture, Design, Engineering and Construction, among others.