Barry Lewis’ “live” tour of this website
(requires Flash 8 Player Click Here to Get Flash.)

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:

BBC Radio 4 “The Map That Made Manhattan”, Simon Hollis producer
Aired originally, September, 2014. 30 minutes long.

Londoner Simon Hollis, who lived in New York for several years, discusses the Manhattan grid (street system) and how it affects the way we New Yorkers look at our city. Only a foreigner could have been so conscious that "Meet me at 27th and 2nd" is a pure New Yorkism. I'm one of the interviewees and in fact have the "last word" (thank you, Simon).

Direct link for listening:

The City Transformed, Part One, Fall 2015 / New York from the Colonial Days to the 1890s
These dates are tentative; please check Cooper Union Continuing Ed link listed below

Wednesdays, Oct 7 to Dec 1, 2015, 6:30pm-8:00pm at Cooper Union 8 lectures. No class Wed Nov. 24.

Registration for Fall 2015 Continuing Education classes is accessed thru the CU Continuing Ed link listed below.

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

Cooper Union’s Continuing Education website:

A direct link to the "City Transformed" site at Cooper Union will be provided when available.

New York---its buildings, its planning, its evolution, across every era from colonial times to 1890, emphasizing the metro area's growth from a tiny trading post to a modern industrial city of the Victorian era. Through styles like the Greek Revival, the neo-Gothic, the Italianate and the Arts & Crafts, we will see this city evolve from a small town to an industrial metropolis on the cusp of being a capital of the world. One lecture will be devoted to the city planning ideals of the day that emphasized “greening” these burgeoning new metropolises (remember, Brooklyn was an independent city) with parks, parkways and “garden suburbs”

For a detailed course curriculum, click here

New-York Historical Society, “Federalism”
Tuesday, November 17, 2015, 6:30pm

The new American republic of the 1780s and 90s adopted a light, open style, dubbed "Federal" in honor of the new national government. It borrowed ideas from Scots designer Robert Adam who in turn was inspired in the 1750s, 60s and 70s by the simplicity of Roman villa interiors - thanks to the recent discoveries at Pompeii and Herculaneum. All this led to remarkably modern, light-filled New York area homes including the early 19th century Boscobel, Hamilton Grange and Gracie Mansion.

New-York Historical Society, “The Gilded Age;
Tuesday, December 15, 2015, 6:30pm

The years between the end of the Civil War and World War 1, 1865 to 1917, saw America's nouveaux-riche copy the gilded life of the European aristocracy. If in the early years of that era Americans brought a new definition to bad taste, by the 1880s and 90s the first generation of professionally trained American architects infused a refreshing spirit of simplicity, functionalism and innovation into the 400 year old Renaissance tradition of neo-classicism.

New-York Historical Society, “Modernism”
Tuesday March 22, 2016, 6:30pm

Today Mid-Century Modern is all the rage, bringing back the classic designs of the 1950s like the Seagram Building and Lever House. But that era had its roots in the 1920s when a daring young generation of designers including Mies van der Rohe, Gerrit Rietveld and Eileen Gray shook up establishment design. We’ll look at both New York’s classics of the 1950s and 60s and the original 1920s works that inspired them.

Metropolitan Museum of Art, “Central Park”
Thursday, March 24, 2016 6pm

Central Park civilized New York. Built beginning in 1858, it gave all New Yorkers, whatever their class, their own "private country estate" where they could leave the city behind and commune with nature. Designed as a complete artifice-it is naturalistic, not natural-it turned the democratic ideal into a brilliant three dimensional concept of city planning as well as a transcendental vision that would civilize urban life.