AMES, Iowa — Jessica Garcia-Fritz, an assistant professor of architecture at South Dakota State University whose work focuses on the building arts, will speak about “Specifications and the Written Labor of the Guastavino Company” in a lecture at Iowa State University.

Garcia-Fritz’s presentation will be at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 23, in Kocimski Auditorium, room 101 College of Design. Part of the ISU Department of Architecture’s 2019-2020 Public Programs Series, her talk is co-sponsored by the Central Iowa chapter of the Construction Specifications Institute and co-presented by the ISU Consortium for the History of Technology and Science.

“Specifications, often viewed as the most mundane procedural task of building design, is one of architecture’s most political acts,” Garcia-Fritz said. “While drawing sets and models describe physical work in place, specifications support the set by organizing and directing how architecture is made through units of work completed by a trade.”

In her lecture, Garcia-Fritz will describe how the specifications collected for one 20th-century company, the Guastavino Company, who were master builders of timbrel vaulting systems in the United States, reveal how standards issued over time impacted the company’s role and the traditional construction system they crafted, and possibly led to the company’s demise in 1962.

About the speaker

At South Dakota State, Garcia Fritz teaches design studio, architectural and construction history and a building shop. Her work focuses on the building arts, which forms the intersection between building technologies and the humanities. Along with Federico Garcia Lammers, she is the co-founder and a partner of LAB-OR, a research and design practice in Brookings, South Dakota.

She previously served as an exhibit designer at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian. She holds a bachelor of arts in architecture and a master of architecture from the University of Minnesota.


Thomas Leslie, Architecture, (515) 294-8460, tleslie@iastate.edu
Heather Sauer, Design Communications, (515) 294-9289, hsauer@iastate.edu