Nancy Brcak

Professor Emerita, Art History
Specialty: American Art and Architecture; Modern Architecture

I offer several courses with American subject matter -- including “American Visual Culture,” “Architecture in the United States,” and “Preserving America” --  all of which deal with built form in this country. Recent research into local dwellings yielded important information on early area settlers and their homes, and my readings have taken me from pre-historic caves to twenty-first century Earthships (sustainable, off-the-grid homes) in countries around the world, not just in the US.  Additionally, for many years I have been involved with preservation organizations in Tompkins County, serving first on the Ithaca Landmarks Preservation Commission (an arm of Ithaca’s city government) and more recently on the Advocacy Committee (which I now chair) for Historic Ithaca, serving as a (non-paid) consultant for adaptive reuse projects for older buildings and as an advisor for the creation of new structures in historic districts.  Last year this work related to the restoration and expansion of the Carey Building on State (MLK) Street, downtown, as I worked with the developer and the architect to find the best solutions for greatly expanding a 100-year-old building in a prominent location. I am pleased that my teaching, scholarship, and service have come together in my own situation as a professional.

Current and recent courses

  • Elements of Architecture
  • American Visual Culture
  • Preserving America
  • Introduction to Japanese Culture
  • Form, Function, and Fantasy: Architecture since 1945
  • Architecture in the United States
  • Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Architecture
  • Seminar: Art and Life in America: 1945-65