Lydia M. Soo is a historian of architecture and architectural theory, specializing in the early modern period. She teaches courses focused on Renaissance and Baroque buildings and cities, on mathematics in Baroque architecture and prior periods, and on the history of theory. She also teaches introductory courses on the history of architecture and urbanism. Soo received her Ph.D. in Architecture from Princeton University and her M.Arch. and B.S. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she returned during the winter term of 2003 to serve as the Laing Visiting Professor in Architecture.
Soo is internationally recognized for her work on the 17th century English architect Sir Christopher Wren. She has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Graham Foundation, and most recently from the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art to write a new book entitled The Places and Spaces of Architectural Discourse in Restoration London, examining architectural knowledge production and its physical context following the Great Fire of 1666. Her first book, Wren's "Tracts" on Architecture and Other Writings, was published in 1998 (Cambridge University Press). She has written articles examining specific problems of 17th century culture, theory, architecture, urbanism, and maps. They include "A Baroque City?: London After the Great Fire of 1666" in Giambattista Nolli and Rome: Mapping the City before and after the Pianta Grande (forthcoming) and "The English in the Levant: social networks and the study of architecture" in The Mirror of Great Britain: National Identity in Seventeenth-Century British Architecture (2012). Her latest research reassesses early modern English architecture in relationship to pre-orientalist knowledge of buildings in the Levant and beyond.