Vyta Baselice entered the PhD program in Fall 2016. She is interested in the intersecting histories of architecture, materials, historic preservation, capitalism and labor. Her interdisciplinary dissertation traces the evolution of the concrete building industry and its strategic shaping of the built environment in the United States. In addition to interrogating contributions by “master pourers” like Marcel Breuer, Louis Kahn and Paul Rudolph, the project examines roles played by more obscure actors, from manufacturers, laborers, and trade organizations to the New York mafia. Employing critical theory, archival research and phenomenological methodologies, the dissertation considers the complex lives of béton brut landscapes and challenges the notion that concrete was necessary and imminent for American modernity. Vyta also holds a Master's degree in architectural history from the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London and a Bachelor's degree in studio arts/architecture from Wesleyan University.
Prizes, Fellowships, & Grants:
This summer, Vyta presented a paper on concrete construction in Washington, DC at the International Congress on Construction History in Brussels, Belgium. This fall, she presented a research project at the National Academies of Sciences on the way World War I transformed research and engineering of concrete, for which she was recognized as a co-recipient of the grand prize. Vyta also presented a paper on urban renewal films at the Urban History Association conference in Columbia, South Carolina. She is currently preparing that paper for publication in a journal.
Sally Kress Tompkins Fellowship, 2018:
Vyta Baselice was selected as the 2018 Sally Kress Tompkins Fellow, a joint program of the Society of Architectural Historians and the Historic American Buildings Survey. This opportunity will provide resources to document a significant architectural project and write a history that will become part of the permanent HABS collection. Vyta will be researching an architectural project designed by Paul Rudolph, a notable American architect who specialized in concrete design and construction. The summer research effort will therefore directly contribute to her dissertation, which examines the material and cultural history of concrete in the United States. Vyta will receive the award at the SAH’s 71st Annual Meeting held this year in St. Paul, Minnesota, where she will also be giving a presentation on concrete and hygiene.
Vyta Baselice presented “Making the Material Self: Beverly Buchanan’s Concrete Installations in Georgia. ” at the 2017 American Studies Association Conference. She also presented “The National Showroom: Marketing Concrete Construction in Washington, DC, 1950-70” at the Latrobe Chapter Society of Architectural Historians Conference in October 2017.
Jeffrey C. Kasch Foundation Research Grant: Read about Vyta research trip here.