Elizabeth Golden is an architect and an Associate Professor in the Department of Architecture at the University of Washington, where she teaches in the areas of design, materials, and building technology. Her teaching, academic research, and creative work are dedicated to revealing the systemic complexities that shape our physical and cultural realities. Golden investigates the relationship between people and their environments, both at the micro and macro scales, analyzing architecture as an index to its larger cultural context.
Golden is a licensed architect in Washington and New York state and has practiced nationally and internationally for over 25 years. She holds a Master of Science in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University GSAPP and a Bachelor of Architecture (professional degree) from the University of Arkansas. She currently serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Architectural Education. Underpinning her practice is an ongoing analysis of the complex relationship of architecture and the built environment to systemic issues such as social marginalization and economic globalization. Together, her built and speculative work, research, and community activism demonstrate architecture’s dynamic potential to drive social change.
Research + Practice
Golden cultivates a reciprocal relationship between her research and practice, treating them as integral parts of an interconnected feedback loop. She frequently collaborates on design initiatives that combine expertise from the University of Washington, local nonprofits, governmental agencies, and other educational institutions. A recent example is the Seattle Street Sink and Clean Hands Collective, a community effort to promote hand hygiene in the midst of COVID-19. Her collaborative projects have received numerous honors including a National Honor Award from the American Institute of Architects (AIA), an Award of Merit from AIA Seattle, and an R+D Award from Architect Magazine. They have been published internationally including features in Architectural Record, Architectural Review, and the BBC World Service.
Across her research and teaching, Golden is committed to transforming the discipline of architecture by building productive connections between academia and professional practice. Her recent book Building from Tradition: Local Materials and Methods in Contemporary Architecture (Routledge, 2018) offers a critical analysis of traditional building practices and their contemporary resurgence in the context of globalization. A belief in the power of collective intelligence drives the practice, with the expertise of local professionals, craftspeople, and user groups integral to each project. Ultimately, Golden is concerned with the mutual exchange between people and place, studying ways in which architecture can evoke our shared humanity.