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Johnathan Puff

Current Student—Ph.D in Architecture

Johnathan Puff

jspuff@umich.edu
Specialization: History and Theory
Advisor: Prof. Claire Zimmerman

My project examines safety and risk in 19th and 20th century American buildings. During this period, disasters—particularly conflagrations—plagued the hastily constructed urban areas that were expanding in cities across the country. Critics of the time believed that vulnerability to fire resulted from rampant real estate speculation and the proliferation of "jerry-built" structures. My research concentrates on a countervailing vision for the design of a "City Unburnable." This urban ideal combined the masonry expertise of Pre-Raphaelite architects, the use of non-combustible industrial building products like iron and terra cotta, and functional circulation planning derived from the École des Beaux-Arts.