Architecture Lab

Site Plan, Chinchero, Peru (Stella Nair)

Architecture Lab: Fowler Building, Room A332
Faculty Director: Stella Nair
Lab Coordinators: AJ Meyer and Kevin Torres-Spicer
Graduate Students: Diana Blanco, Alex Benjamin CasteelGeorgi KyorlenskiAJ Meyer, Alba Menendez Pereda, Rachel Schloss, Kevin Torres-Spicer, Syon Vasquez
Undergraduate students: Camille Neira
Research Affiliates: Paul Burtenshaw
Alumni: Kevin Hill, C. J. Zepeda, Erica LuedtkeTori Schmitt, Louise Deglin, Amy CrumSergio Alarcón RobledoElizabeth Friedman

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Mailing address:
Cotsen Institute of Archaeology
308 Charles E Young Dr N
Los Angeles, CA 90024

Phone (Cotsen Main office): 310-206-8934

Mudéjar-style ceiling in the Catedral Metropolitana de Quito, Ecuador. Image credit: Kevin Torres-Spicer

Longhouse, Iceland

Longhouse, Iceland. Photo credit: Mosfell Archaeological Project

Tenochtitlan Calmecac (institution for religious learning)

Tenochtitlan Calmecac (institution for religious learning), late 15th to early 16th century. Photograph by Anthony Meyer.

The Architecture Lab is directed by Stella Nair, Associate Professor of Indigenous Arts of the Americas in the Department of Art History. Nair was trained as an architect and architectural historian, and she specializes in the study of materials, construction technology, and spatial practices. 

Metal Tools for flattening a stone (Stella Nair)

The focus of the lab is on architectural design, construction, materials, and conservation. Graduate and undergraduate students and affiliated scholars conduct research in the facilities. Current projects include Afro-Belizian architecture and urbanism, Islamic influences in Latin American architecture, Mexica (Aztec) educational and ritual spaces, Inca architecture and soundscapes, adobe construction in the Andes, Icelandic architecture and landscape, the architecture of the Inca Civil War, and community focused conservation projects.


Architecture Working Group

Also housed in the Architecture Lab, the Architecture Working Group brings together faculty and doctoral students from across campus and beyond who are working on Architectural history topics, ranging from design and construction studies, to larger critiques of the built environment across time and space. The group meets for lecture presentations, informal discussions, shared readings, and workshops. For more information on past lectures and events organized by the working group, see this linkDoctoral students interested in participating should contact Kevin Torres-Spicer (Art History) and Syon Vasquez (Archaeology) for further information.

Collaboration with the Digital Lab

The Architecture Laboratory works closely with UCLA’s Digital Archaeology Lab and the Digital Research Consortium to share resources as well as facilitate and coordinate architectural research for members of the Cotsen community.


The Architecture Lab offers workshops on relevant topics.

Events include:

  1.  "Digital Sketches: Creating Qualitative, Humanistic Maps & Visualizations in Inkscape," led by Dr. Jeremy Mikecz, Dartmouth College (May 2022)

  2. The Architecture Lab collaborated with the Scholarly Innovation Lab (YRL) for a two part workshop on Architectural Drawings: A) Vectorworks B) Advanced Drawing in the Field (coming soon!).

  3.  The Architecture Lab teamed up with the Institute for Digital Research and Education and the Digital Archaeology Lab to offer a 2-day workshop on ArcGIS for Archaeologists (Day 1 and Day 2 along with a 3D component).


Kanaraqay, Peru panorama

Kañaraqay, Peru (Georgi Kyorlenski)

In the News

Sergio Alarcón Robledo conducting an experiment on the mechanical properties of mud bricks built with different recipes.