- Urban parks; chairs and body conscious design; the sociology of taste; ethnography for design; post-occupancy evaluation; sustainability as a social concept; qualitative research methods.
- Ph.D. Sociology, University of Chicago
- M.A. Sociology, University of Chicago
- B.A., Reed College
- Philosophy Statement
Paying close attention to social practices can inspire architectural innovation. Social patterns are not a "straight jacket," but rather a muse. Professor Cranz wants to help students become better artistically by helping them interpret and feel social forces. Her approach to teaching is learning-centered, rather than teaching-centered, so she emphasizes experiential learning. A certified teacher of the Alexander Technique, she is passionate about bringing experience of the unified self back into the classroom and workplace. Professor Cranz is a founding member of the Association for Body Conscious Design.
Professor Cranz is Professor of Architecture, a Ph.D. sociologist, designer, author, lecturer, and certified teacher of the Alexander Technique, a system of body-mind postural education. Her research specialties are urban parks, chairs and body conscious design, and qualitative research methods. She teaches courses in social and cultural processes in architecture and urban design, including research methods. Current research activity includes body conscious design, the sociology of taste, ethnography for design, and post-occupancy evaluation.
Professor Cranz is author of The Chair: Rethinking Culture, Body and Design, which received the Achievement Award from the Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA) in 2004. She is a founding member of the international Association for Body Conscious Design and lectures worldwide on this topic.
The Politics of Park Design: A History of Urban Parks in America has become a classic that exemplifies how physical design expresses and reinforces social forces over time. Professor Cranz's research on parks has led her to a long-standing interest in landscape architecture and public art.
Grants and Awards
Professor Cranz was a Kellogg National Leadership Fellow from 1981-84 and has received two Graham Foundation grants on rooftop usage and defining the sustainable park. She was part of a team that received the American Institute of Architect's Latrobe Research Grant 2005-07 to use an evidence-based design approach to the design of hospitals. Most recently, she received the Environmental Design Research Association's Career Award in 2011.
As a designer, Professor Cranz has won first prize in a national competition for an inner-city park for St. Paul, was part of the Tschumi team that won first prize for Parc La Villette, Paris, and with a team that included Mary Miss won seventh place in the Spectacle Island Design Competition, Boston. She holds two patents for a lounge chair and a bathtub. The lounge chair is on exhibit in the outdoor SEAT exhibit at Fort Mason Cultural Center in San Francisco (June 23, 2011-12). She has designed a house for the elderly after having conducted research on housing for the elderly in New Jersey and San Francisco. She has served as juror for 15 national urban design and public art competitions.
- Courses Taught
- ARCH 110 Social and Cultural Factors in Architecture and Urban Design
- ARCH 211 Social Theory and Research Methods in Architecture and Urban Design
- ARCH 212 Body Conscious Design
- ARCH 216 The Sociology of Taste
- Selected Publications
Environmental Design Research: The Body, The City, and the Buildings in Between (2011)
The Chair: Rethinking Culture, Body, and Design (1998)
The Politics of Park Design: A History of Urban Parks in America (1982)
Galen Cranz with Jess Wendover, Iris Tien, Mark Gillem, and Jon Norman, "College of Environmental Design, UC Berkeley Temporary Home," Designing for Designers, J. Nasar, W. F. E. Preiser & Tom Fisher (Eds.) (New York: Fairchild Books, 2007), pp.
Galen Cranz with EunAh Cha, "Body Conscious Design in a Teen Space: Post Occupancy Evaluation of an Innovative Public Library," Public Libraries, Sept/Nov. 2006, pp. 48-56.
Galen Cranz and C. Young, "The role of design in inhibiting or promoting use of common open space: The case of Redwood Gardens, Berkeley, CA." In S. Rodiek & B. Schwarz (Eds.), The Role of the Outdoors in Residential Environments for Aging (New York: Haworth Press, Inc., 2006), pp. 71-94.
Galen Cranz and Michael Boland, "Defining the Sustainable Park," Landscape Journal, Fall 2004, pp. 102-120.
"A New Way of Thinking about Taste," The Nature of Craft and the Penland Experience (Lark, NY, 2004), pp. 130-136.
"The Alexander Technique in the World of Design: Posture and the Common Chair, Part II: Body-conscious Design for Chairs, Interiors and Beyond," Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, Vol. 4, No. 3 (July 2000), pp. 155-165.
"The Alexander Technique in the World of Design: Posture and the Common Chair, Part I: The Chair as Health Hazard," Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, Vol 4, No. 2 (April 2000), pp. 90-96.
"Now you aren't sitting comfortably," The Independent (UK), Design Notes section, October 3, 1998, p. 11.
Galen Cranz, Amy Taylor, Anne-Marie Broudehoux, "Community and Complexity on Campus. A Post-Occupancy Evaluation of the University of California, Berkeley, Haas School of Business," Places, A Forum of Environmental Design, Winter 1997, Vol. 11, No. 1, pp. 38-51.
"Women in Urban Parks," Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, Vol. 5 No. 3 (Spring 1980) reprinted in Stimpson (Ed.) Women & the American City (University of Chicago, 1981).
"The Useful and the Beautiful: Urban Parks in China," Landscape, Volume 23, No. 2 (1979) pp. 3-10.
"Photography in Chinese Popular Culture," Exposure: Journal of the Society of Photographic Educators, Vol. 16, No. 4 (Winter 1978), pp. 24-29.
"Changing Roles of Urban Parks: From Pleasure Garden to Open Space," Landscape Magazine, Summer 1978, Vol. 22, No. 3, pp. 9-18.