Mary McLeod in conversation with Salomon Frausto and Leá-Catherine Szacka


  • Mary McLeod



In February 1989, architectural historian and theorist Mary McLeod published her now seminal essay entitled ‘Architecture and Politics in the Reagan Era: From Postmodernism to Deconstructivism’ in Assemblage 8. In the essay, she examined the relationship between architecture and politics in the 1980s, a time of unprecedented change. The following conversation discusses the circumstances under which the essay was originally written and offers her reflections thirty years later to think about the relationship between architecture and populism today.

Author Biography

Mary McLeod

Mary McLeod is a Professor of Architecture at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservations, where she teaches architecture history and theory, and occasionally studio. Her research and publications have focused on the history of the modern movement and on contemporary architecture theory, examining issues concerning the connections between architecture and ideology.


Jameson, Fredric, ‘Architecture and the Critique of Ideology’, Architecture, Criticism, Ideology (Princeton: Princeton Architectural Press, 1985).

Maldonado, Tomás, ‘Las Vegas’, in La Speranza progettuale, ambiente e società (Turin: Einaudi, 1970), translated by Mario Domandi as Design, Nature, and Revolution: Towards a Critical Ecology (New York: Harper & Row, 1972).

Pommer, Richard, ‘The Architecture of Urban Housing in the United States during the Early 1930s’, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians (JSAH) 37, no. 4 (December 1978): 235–64.

Sorkin, Michael, ‘The Donald Trump Blueprint,’ The Nation, 26 July 2016.

Venturi, Robert and Denise Scott Brown’s essay ‘A Significance for A & P Parking Lots, or Learning from Las Vegas,’ Architectural Forum 12, no. 2 (March 1968): 37–43.