Faculty Profile

Simon Sadler
Chair of Design Department
Professor of Design


How has design shaped us collectively and individually, from cities to scooters, and what alternatives might there be? This is something I explore through teaching and research. Some publications are available to download at ucdavis.academia.edu/SimonSadler. Recent publications include: 

  • “That Sea Ranch Feeling,” in Jennifer Dunlop Fletcher and Joseph Becker, eds., The Sea Ranch: Architecture, Environment, and Idealism (San Francisco: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art / DelMonico / Prestel, 2018) 
  • “How to Play the Environment Game,” in Eeva-Liisa Pelkonen, Exhibit A: Exhibitions that Transformed Architecture, 1948-2000 (London: Phaidon, 2018)
  • “How and When was Architecture Socially Engaged?,” in Farhan Karim, ed., The Routledge Companion to Architecture and Social Engagement (New York: Routledge, 2018) 
  • “Tools of Oneness,” in Justin McGuirk, Brendan McGetrick, eds., California Designing Freedom (London: Design Museum / Phaidon Press, 2017)
  • “The Naked City: Why Put a Collage in a Book on Modern Architecture?,” in David Leatherbarrow and Alexander Eisenschmidt, eds., Twentieth-Century Architecture (vol. 4 of The Companions to the History of Modern Architecture, Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2017) 
  • “The Cult of Elon,” Icon magazine (August 2017) 
  • “Notes Toward a History of Change,” Places (February 2016) 
  • “The Bateson Building, Sacramento, California, 1977–81, and the Design of a New Age State,” Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 75. 4 (December 2016)
  • “Theo Crosby’s Environment Games, 1956-1973,” in Eeva-Liisa Pelkonen, ed., Exhibiting Architecture: A Paradox? (New Haven: Yale School of Architecture, 2015) 
  • “Mandalas or Raised Fists? Hippie Holism, Panther Totality, and Another Modernism,” in Andrew Blauvelt, ed., Hippie Modernism: The Struggle for Utopia (Minneapolis: Walker Art Center, 2015)
  • “Equalitarianism,” in Juliet Odgers, Mhairi McVicar and Stephen Kite, eds., Economy and Architecture (New York: Routledge, 2015) 
  • “The Hammer and The Garrote: A Parable Of ‘Tool Globalism’,” in Valerio Borgonuovo and Silvia Franceschini, eds., Global Tools 1973-75 (Istanbul: SALT/Garanti Kültür AŞ, 2015) 
  • Inserts into Lionel Devlieger / Rotor, ed., Behind the Green Door: A Critical Look at Sustainable Architecture through 600 Objects (Oslo: Oslo Architecture Triennale, 2014)
  • “TEDification versus Edification,” Places (January 2014)
  • “Autonomy’s Ghost and General Education,” Architectural Histories 1.16 (2013)
  • “Steve Jobs: Architect,” Places (March 2013)
  • “The Varieties of Capitalist Experience” and “Spectacular Failure: The Architecture of Late Capitalism at the Millennium Dome, 2000 CE,” in Peggy Deamer, ed., Architecture and Capitalism (New York: Routledge, 2013)
  • “Archigram’s Los Angeles: Sentimentality for the Future,” in Sylvia Lavin and Kimberli Meyer, eds., Everything Loose Will Land: 1970s Art and Architecture in Los Angeles (Los Angeles: MAK Center and Verlag für moderne Kunst Nürnberg, 2013)
  • “A Container and Its Contents: Re-Reading Tomás Maldonado’s Design, Nature, and Revolution: Toward a Critical Ecology,” Rm 1000, 1 (Spring / Fall 2013)
  • “Plug-in City,” Beyond Sant’Elia: A Hundred Years of Urban Visions (Como: Villa Olmo, 2013)
  • “Architecture—An Art of Alteration,” Nordic Journal of Architecture, 2.3 (2012)
  • “Diagrams of Countercultural Architecture,” Design and Culture, 4.3 (2012) 
  • “A Culture of Connection,” Boom: A Journal of California, 2.1 (2012)
  • “The Dome and the Shack: The Dialectics of Hippie Enlightenment,” in Iain Boal, Janferie Stone, Michael Watts, Cal Winslow, eds., West of Eden: Communes and Utopia in Northern California (Oakland: PM Press / Retort 2012)
  • “Warren Chalk” and “Archigram,” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011)
  • “Matrix vs. Möbius: An Architectural Historian’s Guide to Recycling,” Dédalo, 8 (2011)
  • L’Architecture dans le Salon: The Civic Architecture of a Projective Modernism,” in Mark Crinson and Claire Zimmerman, eds., Architecture from Neo-Avant-garde to Postmodern in Britain and Beyond (New Haven: Yale, 2010)
  • “An Architecture of the Whole,” Journal of Architectural Education, 61.4 (2008)
  • “Drop City Revisited,” Journal of Architectural Education, 58.1 (2006) 


  • Archigram: Architecture without Architecture (MIT Press, 2005)
  • Non-Plan: Essays on Freedom, Participation and Change in Modern Architecture and Urbanism (Architectural Press, 2000, co-editor, Jonathan Hughes)
  • The Situationist City (MIT Press, 1998)

Recent talks

  • Keynote, Design History Society annual conference, University of Oslo, Norway, 2017 
  • “Michael Pollan and Simon Sadler in Conversation,” Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, 2017 
  • “Pancho Guedes’ and Angela Ferreira’s Zip-Zap Circus,” DePaul University Art Museum, Chicago, 2017 
  • “Be Here Now? The Lama Foundation,” Domestic Affairs 4: Communal Living, California College of the Arts, 2017
  • Keynote, Aquarius Redux conference, School of Architecture, Design and Planning, University of Sydney, 2016 
  • “The Governance of Immanent Urbanisms,” Red Victorian lecture series, San Francisco, 2016 
  • “Mandalas or Raised Fists? Hippie Holism, Panther Totality, and Another Modernism,” Opening Day Panel of “Hippie Modernism: The Struggle for Utopia,” Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, 2015
  • “Archigram’s Los Angeles,” Graham Foundation, Chicago, 2014
  • “Holism: An Incomplete History,” College of Environmental Design, University of California, Berkeley, 2013 
  • “4D to -1D: Design from Optimism to Nostalgia,” San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 2012
  • Keynote, “Architecture—A Hermeneutics of Alteration?” and “A Natural History of the City,” Moderna Museet, Stockholm, 2011
  • Keynote, “Delirious California,” Architectural Humanities Research Association, Cardiff, 2011
  • Keynote, “Better City, Better Life: New Babylon and Beyond,” University of Minho, Guimarães, Portugal, 2010
  • “After Archigram,” Escola Tècnica Superior d’Arquitectura de Barcelona, 2009 
  • “What the Hippies Did for Architecture,” New Jersey Institute of Technology, 2009 
  • “The Whole Earth as a Public Sphere,” Department of Art and Art History, Stanford University, 2008


Simon Sadler teaches the history and theory of architecture, design and urbanism in the Department of Design and the Program in Art History. He is affiliated faculty with the Graduate Programs in Cultural Studies, Performance Studies, Art History, Transportation Studies, and the Environmental Humanities Supercluster. 

His current courses at UC Davis include DES 221, Theory and Issues in Design; DES 40B, History of Design: Ideology; AHI 168, Great Cities; AHI 184, Twentieth-Century Architecture; and AHI 187, Contemporary Architecture.


He is a former Mellon Researcher at the Canadian Center for Architecture (CCA), UC Davis Chancellor’s Fellow, a Fellow of the University of California Humanities Research Institute, and a Fellow of the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, London. He serves as an advisor to the California AIA’s ArcCA publication and has served on the editorial board of Architectural Research Quarterly, the Journal of Architectural Education, the Advisory Board of The Architect’s Newspaper, and the Advisory Board to the Architectural Humanities Research Association.

For a Discovering Academia podcast with Sadler about his work in the Department of Design, see https://www.discoveringacademia.com/episodes/simon-sadler

(530) 754-2605
Room 229, Cruess Hall

View all UCD Arts departments and programs

Melody Chiang


Melody Chiang


Melody Chiang

Cinema and Digital Media

Melody Chiang


Melody Chiang


Melody Chiang

and Dance

Melody Chiang

Performance Studies

Melody Chiang


Melody Chiang


Melody Chiang

UC Davis Arts