Betsy Frederick-Rothwell is a lecturer in the School of Architecture at the University of Texas at Austin and a research fellow of the Consortium for the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine. Her research approaches the study of buildings and spaces with disciplinary tools from the history of technology and the history of medicine, examining the intersections of building environmental systems and physiological theories in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Her dissertation, Internal Economies: Airs, Bodies, and Building Technologies, 1830-1930, investigated the conditioning of architectural space as a deliberately technocratic project. It placed in historical, social, and political context newly proposed systems of building “sustainability,” namely those that associate concepts of well-being, health, and comfort with design and technology, bringing into focus not just the conditions of buildings but also the conditions and contingencies of work.
Betsy received her PhD in Architecture and her M.S. in Historic Preservation both from the University of Texas at Austin. After receiving her master of architecture from the University of California, Berkeley, Betsy worked as an archivist at the UC-Berkeley Environmental Design Archives and as a preservation specialist and project manager for the U.S. General Services Administration in San Francisco, CA. As an outcome of her work at the Environmental Design Archives, Betsy co-edited the 2009 book Design on the Edge: A Century of Teaching Architecture, 1903–2003, chronicling the history of the UC-Berkeley Department of Architecture. Betsy was a University of Texas Donald D. Harrington Master’s Fellow in 2011-2012, and her doctoral work has been supported by fellowships from The University of Texas at Austin Graduate School, PEO International, and the Consortium for History of Science, Technology, and Medicine. Betsy’s current research interests include technology’s effects on design and inhabitation, the human-rights implications of building technology, and preservation’s role in environmental movement.