Esther Hagenlocher

Esther Hagenlocher

Associate Professor of Architecture and Interior Architecture | 541-346-3292 | 264 Onyx Bridge

ACADEMIC AREAS: Efficient use of Space, Color in Basic Design, Aesthetic Education, Colorreflectivity in the Context of Small Spaces

Teaching Philosophy

The course is structured by a historical timeline that the instructor has developed to show the evolution of thinking about color and how art and science have interacted over time to change our understanding of it.

Students will devote time to both reading and writing and to class exercises designed to help them arrive at their own interpretations of color. In incorporating a studio element along with traditional seminar techniques, the course will both resemble and differ from typical honors college colloquia.

As part of our investigations, students will look at color in art—including installations, painting, and sculpture—and in literature and film as well. A major focus will be color used in architecture and how this informs our daily life.

Opportunities for Students

My research on Color in Basic Design and Aesthetic Education has focused on the work of Fritz Seitz, my former professor, who made substantive contributions to studies in these fields.

Background: Adolf Hölzel (1853-1934) reinterpreted the artistic doctrine/pedagogy of the 19th century and helped shape that of the 20th century (The Teaching of Means). In 1905 he painted one of the first abstract paintings. Willi Baumeister (1889-1955) is one of the most important painters of German classical modernism. He studied at the Art Academy in Stuttgart with Hölzel. Baumeister opened and generalized Hölzel’s pedagogy and theory and propagated them practically and theoretically (The Unknown in Art, 1947). Fritz Seitz (1926-2017) was a student of Baumeister in Stuttgart, who took his teaching approach and opened it to applied art. He demonstrated his pedagogy in many practical symposia and was able to describe it in numerous texts and visual graphics.

This triangle: Hölzel - Baumeister - Seitz, which has its roots at the State Academy in Stuttgart, needs to be traced and is the central idea of this research project. The purpose is twofold: to introduce Baumeister and Seitz to my audience as a scholar and teacher, and to rediscover their pedagogy of color, which has not lost its viability, which was new at the time and could still be new today. The research is a collaboration with the Baumeister Foundation will allow access to everybody, enabling cooperation between scholars, faculties, and universities.

Academic Background

  • Masters of Architecture, the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London, United Kingdom, 1998
  • Diplom-Ingenieur (Uni): Architecture and Design. State Academy of Art and Design, Stuttgart, Germany

I foster multicultural approaches in my design/research, teaching and service to introduce international thinking and social and cultural questions. My courses strive to educate our students about the power of design by re-thinking the architectural traditions of nations throughout the world, by examining issues regarding the meaning of color in different cultures and the interculturalism of color. I strive to enhance my classes and to teach the ethics surrounding architecture, as well as encouraging discussion on social sustainability by looking at works from other cultures and recognizing that every good design idea is based on a social demand. My goal is for our students to meet, and work with, contemporary needs and to develop a form of empathy and curiosity that is necessary at a time of fast change, to strive to become a valuable member of a global world.

Research Interests & Current Projects

I am an architect, scholar and practitioner, studying the intersection of architecture and interior architecture, which is typically associated with issues of scale and generally understood to be largely a matter of material and detail. My current research at this intersection speaks to the efficient use of space, with a focus on color studies—how to apply and how to teach it. My research primarily focuses on two topics: Color in Basic Design and Aesthetic Education; and Colorreflectivity in the Context of Small Spaces. The qualities of color in architecture are neither widely applied nor taught in the field. The color studies of color theorists and teachers Adolf Hölzel, Willi Baumeister and Fritz Seitz, as well as those of Joseph Albers, represent an untapped potential to further expand upon color studies in architecture as more variables are introduced.