Barry Lewis’ “live” tour of this website
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Barry Lewis is available for lectures, conferences, seminars and other types of speaking engagements.

Possible lecture topics
Past speaking engagements

The Avant/Garde Diaries

Barry Lewis - The Jefferson Market Courthouse

Barry Lewis fell in love with architecture in 1960s France. Admittedly, one would be hard pressed not fall in love with the architecture of that famed city, in any decade or century. But when he returned to New York, Lewis found a similarly rich, if less celebrated, history in that city's Greenwhich Village neighborhood. For The Avant/Garde Diaries, Lewis takes us on a jaunty tour of the famed Jefferson Market Courthouse, a striking building known for exposing its structure of unadorned bright red brick. Back in the 1870s, he says, that was a shocker. It laid down the principle of today's design: treat your materials with respect.

Produced by Kitty Bolhoefer / Filmed by Fridolin Schoepper / Editing by Konterfei / Music by Carlos Bruck

Upcoming events for the public:

The City Transformed, Part Two, Spring 2014 / New York from the 1890s to the 21st Century
(Series of 8 lectures / series only available)

Wednesdays 6:30pm-8:00pm March 5-April 23, 2014

Registration for Spring 2014 Continuing Education classes begins January 6, 2014 and ends January 27, 2014.

The Cooper Union switchboard, 1-212-353-4195, is open Mon-Fri 10:30am-5:30pm.

Cooper Union’s Continuing Education website:

New York — its buildings, planning and growth from the 1890s to the present. Emerging by 1900 as a world capital of one of the globe's most important economic and political powers, New York has used successive styles every generation to re-make its skyline: the Beaux-Arts (the 1890s-1920s), the Art Deco (the 1920s), the Art Moderne (the 1930s), the Mid-Century Modern (1950s-70s), the Post-Modern (1980s-90s) and finally the current Modern Movement Revival. These styles have expressed in their different ways the city's particular vibrancy. We will be looking at that ever evolving phenomenon called New York thru the lens of architectural history so we can "read" the skyline images as well as the ordinary buildings that crowd our city's streets.

For a detailed course curriculum, click here

Sunday, March 9, 2014, 5:00pm
New-York Historical Society

In a basically segregated city, and because of overbuilding from real estate speculation, Harlem by the 1910s became New York's premier African-American neighborhood. From its streets and buildings came new kinds of music, dance, political theory and literary achievement. From this vibrancy and new sense of pride in their own heritage, Harlem's political thinkers and cultural innovators would set the path for the civil rights movement of the 1960s and today's melding of what used to be called "race music" – and the black "take" on ideas of race and minority rights–into mainstream American culture.
Harlem with Barry Lewis

Sunday, April 6, 2014, 5:00pm
New-York Historical Society

London and its metropolitan area is the source of much of our own American modern architectural and interior design. Whether arts & crafts or metallic "modernist", London's designers of the 19th century paved the way for our 20th century ideals of "honest" design. John Soane, William Morris, Owen Jones, Joseph Paxton—these and others inspired Americans to embrace modernisms long before Mies van der Rohe was even born.
Around the World with Barry Lewis: London

Sunday, May 4, 2014, 5:00pm
New-York Historical Society

In the Old City of Jerusalem, especially in the Muslim quarter, we can see examples of the "Moorish" style that inspired 19th Western architects, including the New York avant-garde of the 1860s to 80s period, to embrace new ideas of how buildings should be designed.
Around the World with Barry Lewis: Jerusalem

Central Park
Sunday, May 18, 2014, 5:00pm
New-York Historical Society

Central Park's design was democracy in three dimensions. No one understood that better than its creators, Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux. With their talented team, they gave us a slice of the American countryside–accessible to all–that looks completely natural but is a brilliantly crafted artifice that helps us achieve the "American" dream.
Around the World with Barry Lewis: Central Park

Tuesday, June 3, 2014, 6:30pm
New-York Historical Society

The French were pioneers in the 19th century of iron and glass construction. By first building shopping gallerias in the early 19th century, then Henri Labrouste's magnificent iron-framed Saint Genevieve and National Libraries in the mid-century, then the celebrated Eiffel Tower and the Grand Palais at the century's end, the French showed us how to "love" metallic construction and embrace its new aesthetic.
Around the World with Barry Lewis: Paris