Michael J. Waters

Assistant Professor of Art History and Archaeology

Renaissance Architecture; Print Culture; Reception of Antiquity; Building Technology

Michael Waters studied at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Virginia, and the Institute of Fine Arts, NYU, where he earned his Ph.D. Before coming to Columbia, he was a Research Fellow at Worcester College, University of Oxford. He has also held fellowships at the Villa I Tatti, American Academy in Rome, Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, and Sir John Soane’s Museum.

His first book, Renaissance Architecture in the Making, focuses on fifteenth-century Italian building culture and issues of materiality. This includes the significance of materials, methods of facture, and processes of construction; the development of building technology; the production of knowledge through architectural practice; questions of architectural exchange and mimesis; and the dynamics of architectural reuse. He is similarly interested in issues of architectural mobility in the pre-industrial world from the movement of materials to the prefabrication and transportation of whole buildings.

Waters has also worked extensively on the study and graphic reconstruction of antiquity in the Renaissance as well as the use and transmission of early modern architectural prints, drawings, and treatises. In 2011, he co-curated the exhibit Variety, Archeology, and Ornament: Renaissance Architectural Prints from Column to Cornice at the University of Virginia Art Museum. His current research on this subject broadly traces the origins, production, circulation, replication, and transformation of mechanically produced architectural images over the long sixteenth century. In doing so, this project seeks to understand how prints were integrated into the inherently transmedial processes of architectural design, production, and exchange.