Carson Chan is the director of the Emilio Ambasz Institute for the Joint Study of the Built and the Natural Environment, and curator in the Department of Architecture and Design. He develops and leads the institute’s manifold research initiatives through a range of programming, including exhibitions, public lectures, discussions, and fellowships.
In 2012 Chan co-curated the 4th Marrakech Biennale, and in the following year he served as executive curator of the Biennial of the Americas in Denver. Much of his curatorial work explores the disciplinary boundaries of architecture. In 2004 he co founded PROGRAM: Initiative for Art and Architecture Collaborations, a project space and residency program in Berlin. In 2013 he co-convened a three-day conference at Yale School of Architecture called Exhibiting Architecture: A Paradox?, which was anthologized by Actar Publishers.
Chan regularly contributes to several publications, including Art Papers, Frieze, Log, Texte zur Kunst, and 032c, where he was formerly editor-at-large. He has contributed to several catalogues and monographs, and most recently he edited Richard Hamilton and Sigfried Giedion: Reaper (2017), a volume of commissioned essays about the architectural and artistic significance of early technological developments in farm machinery; and Life Forms: Essays on the Artwork of Andreas Greiner and the Display, Synthesis, and Simulation of Life (2020), the first book-length study of Andreas Greiner’s scientifically informed art.
Chan’s academic research focuses on the 20th-century convergence of architecture, ecology, climate, and media. His doctoral work at Princeton tracks the architecture of postwar public aquariums in the United States during the rise of environmentalism, and examines how these institutions evolved with the advancing discourse on Cold War statecraft, civil rights, environmental racism, and food security. Together with Dalal Musaed Alsayer and Daniel A. Barber, Chan is founding editor of Current: Collective for Architecture History and Environment, an online publishing and research platform that aims to foreground the environment in the study of architecture history.
Dewi Tan is the research assistant at the Ambasz Institute. She oversees the planning and implementation of programs and conducts research to develop initiatives related to advancing the relationship between the built and natural environment. She joins the institute with a background in anthropology and environment science from the Yale School of the Environment, and her research focuses on sociocultural and environmental issues surrounding modernity, urban inequality, and water-related crises in Southeast Asia. As a filmmaker, she also seeks to complement her research with visual media in hopes of engaging with a wider audience through “multilingual” dialogue.
Matthew Wagstaffe is a research assistant at the Ambasz Institute. He helps to plan exhibitions and publications and researches the history of ecological design. For the past ten years he has worked with Salvage Art Institute, an organization dedicated to exploring the status of “totaled” artworks. He studied at the Yale School of Architecture, where he investigated the relationship between catastrophe modeling and the built environment. Currently he is the editor of Perspecta 55: Futures Index, an issue of Yale’s annual architectural journal focused on the competing projections that designers utilize to measure the impacts of their built works.