Sarah is currently the project researcher for the Society of Architectural Historian’s SAH Data Project. In that role she is helping gather quantitative and qualitative data about the status of architectural history as a discipline in higher education in the United States. The study is supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and will issue its report in mid-2021.

As a historian and educator, Sarah has focused on the connections between architecture and modernity since the industrial and scientific revolutions of the late-18th century. She is also a digital humanist with projects that include a limited-run podcast series and an interactive timeline.

Humanities Commons administrators highlighted Sarah’s The Vanishing Porch in Perspective and Afterimages endeavors during their session at CAA’s 2018 annual conference (see slides 28 & 29 here for more details). You can also listen to Sarah talk about her project site design in this Platypus blog post: HC User Spotlight: Sarah M. Dreller.

Sarah is a proud member of the Women Also Know History network and the SAH Women in Architecture Affiliate Group.

She also had an award-wining predoctoral career was a historic preservation project manager. She is a qualified Architectural Historian under the United States Secretary of the Interior’s Professional Qualification Standards 36 CFR Appendix A to Part 61(c).

Read more about Sarah in this July 2017 interview by Design Feast.

Sarah owns a historic farmhouse and spends a lot of time and energy trying to make good stewardship decisions. She’s also a runner, enjoys following tennis and Formula 1, and loves anything having to do with space—especially sci-fi films of all kinds. Sarah is determined to attend NASA Space Camp one day.


PhD – Department of Art History, University of Illinois at Chicago
MArchHist – Department of Architectural History, University of Virginia
BA – International Affairs (history & economics), Florida State University

Editing Certificate – Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies, University of Chicago
International Certificate of Spanish Language – Department of Philology, Universidad Complutense de Madrid

Additional Coursework
architectural design studio, design theory, and materials & methods – School of Architecture & Community Design, University of South Florida
studio art photography – School of Art & Art History, University of South Florida

Other Publications

Selected scholarship authored individually
Guest Editor, Special Virtual Issue: Skyscrapers, and “Introduction: Thoughts on Two Generations of Skyscraper Scholarship in JSAH.” Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians (October 2019). Introduction republished in its entirety as “Aspire Higher: Exploring the History of the Skyscraper.” UC Press Blog. October 28, 2019. https://www.ucpress.edu/blog/46859/aspire-higher-exploring-the-history-of-the-skyscraper/.

Review of Building the Skyline: The Birth and Growth of Manhattan’s Skyscrapers, by Jason M. Barr. Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 76, no.4 (December 2017): 562-64.

“Curtained Walls: Architectural Photography, the Farnsworth House and the Opaque Discourse of Transparency.” ARRIS: The Journal of the Southeast Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians 26 (2015): 22-39.
— CORE persistent link: https://hcommons.org/deposits/item/hc:18089
— #MeToo/#TimesUp-inspired companion website: The Vanishing Porch in Perspective

Architectural Forum, 1932-64: A Time Inc. Experiment in American Architecture and Journalism,” Ph.D. diss. University of Illinois at Chicago, 2015. CORE persistent link: https://hcommons.org/deposits/item/hc:18087

“Henry R. Luce: The Personal and the Professional.” Review of The Publisher: Henry Luce and His American Century, by Alan Brinkley. Jhistory, H-Net Reviews. February, 2011. CORE persistent link: https://hcommons.org/deposits/item/hc:18097

“Architectural Photography.” In The Encyclopedia of 20th Century Architecture Vol. 1, edited by R. Stephen Sennot, 59-61. New York: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 2004. http://bit.ly/2DOYv4r

“Bertram G. Goodhue’s ‘Alexandrian’ Style: The National Academy of Sciences Building, 1919-24,” Master’s thesis. University of Virginia, 1999.

[contact Sarah for complete list]

Selected preservation planning documents authored collaboratively
Primary author/architectural historian for “IBM/Hitachi Campus Historic Resource Evaluation” Vol 1 & 2. Carey & Co. Architecture, Preservation & Planning, San Francisco: 2003-04.

Primary author/architectural historian for award-winning “San Jose Japantown Historic Context and Reconnaissance Survey” Vol 1 & 2. Carey & Co. Architecture, Preservation & Planning, San Francisco: 2003-04.

Architectural historian for award-winning rehabilitation and adaptive reuse project, including a National Register of Historic Places nomination, a Federal Historic Preservation Tax Credit application and a California Mills Act Property Tax Abatement Program application. “Old Engine Co. No. 2.” Carey & Co. Architecture, Preservation & Planning, San Francisco: 2002-03.

Dreller, Sarah M. “West Grounds.” In “Evolution of the University of Virginia Grounds, 1917-31” University of Virginia Historic Cultural Landscape Survey. Office of the University Architect, Charlottesville: 1999.

Dreller, Sarah M., Fiona Robertson and Martha Teall. “Meriwether House, Keswick, Albemarle County, VA” (a.k.a. Cloverfields). Historic American Building Survey, Number: HABS VA-1358. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.: 1998. http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/va1821/

[contact Sarah for complete list]


Contingent Talk, a limited-run podcast series about precarious academic labor produced for the College Art Association’s CAA Conversations initiative [launched February 2019, project role: producer, web site designer, author]

The Vanishing Porch in Perspective, a #MeToo/#TimesUp-inspired companion website for “Curtained Walls” hosted by Humanities Commons [launched February 2018, project role: author]
— COMING SOON! watch Sarah’s talk: “The Vanishing Porch in Perspective: A Case Study of Public Architectural History Scholarship” (Architectural History at UVA: Richard Guy Wilson + Our Community of Scholars, 15-16 November 2019, Charlottesville, VA, RGW Symposium website)

Afterimages, an online exhibition about the intersection of democratic free expression and historic preservation in Chile, hosted by Humanities Commons [launched November 2017, project role: digital humanities advising & editing]
— Sarah’s Platypus blog post about Afterimages

In Development
FONDEF Built Heritage Reference Collection, an online presentation of historical information about four Chilean national monuments, hosted by Humanities Commons [launch anticipated May 2019, project role: web site designer and editor]


College Art Association
Landmarks Illinois
Society for American City and Regional Planning History
Society of Architectural Historians

Sarah M Dreller

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