Jan Jennings

Web Bio Page

Current Activities

Current Professional Activities
Jennings is a former co-editor of Buildings & Landscapes: Journal of the Vernacular Architecture Forum (2002-2006). She continues her service with the Vernacular Architecture Forum as a member of the Special Series in Vernacular Architecture publications committee. She is a former chair of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Interior Design and a former president of the Society for Commercial Archeology.

Current Research Activities
The Intypes Project (Interior Archetypes Research and Teaching Project), initiated in 1997 at Cornell University, creates a typology of contemporary interior design practices derived from reiterative historical designs that span time and style and cross cultural boundaries. The project identifies design traits that have not been named, providing designers with an interior-specific, historical, and contemporary design vocabulary. The project’s methodological and theoretical approaches create new knowledge from the creative dimension of design rather than from behavioral studies. In concert with its founding partner, the International Interior Design Association, the research will be disseminated through an open searchable web database to be launched in June 2009 as a free site. To date approximately 100 intypes have been developed by the principal investigators, graduate students and an interdisciplinary research group of design educators.
Jennings also directs an Exhibition and Installation Design Program for undergraduate and graduate students. The 2008 exhibition, ROOM | UN-ROOM established a dialectical stance between room as a fundamental building block of architecture and a new term, un-room, to define evolving iterations, interventions and inventions of design.


Biographical Statement
Jan Jennings, a Professor in the Department of Design and Environmental Analysis, is a multi-disciplinarian by education, training and work experience in the fields of interior design, historic preservation and urban planning. From 1969 to 1973 she was one of three principal planners with the Tulsa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission who directed the preparation of the metropolitan area's Comprehensive Plan update (Vision 2000) and designed and administered the citizen participation element of the Plan revision. She opened and directed Oklahoma’s first city-supported preservation office for the City of Tulsa. From 1979 to 1993, Jennings was a principal in the historic preservation firm Jennings.Gottfried.Cheek. In 1991 Jennings studied at the Winterthur Museum and Library as a Benno M. Forman Fellow. Prior to Cornell Jennings taught interior design at Iowa State University in the Department of Art, College of Design.

Jennings' research interests focus on ordinary American buildings and interiors, as well as contemporary interior design history, theory and criticism. In 2007 she was awarded a Faculty Innovation Grant for the Interior Archetypes Research and Teaching Project.

At Cornell, in addition to the field of Design and Environmental Analysis, Jennings belongs to the graduate fields of Architecture and Landscape Architecture.


Courses, Websites, Pubs

Courses Taught
DEA 201. Design Studio 3
DEA 251. History & Theory of the Interior [lecture]
DEA 460. designCity [field study]
DEA 668. Design Theory & Criticism [graduate seminar]

Related Websites

www.intypes.cornell.edu (will launch at NEOCON June 2009 as a free & open web site)

Selected Publications


Gottfried, Herbert and Jan Jennings. American Vernacular Buildings and Interiors, 1870-1960. New York: W.W. Norton (in press, release fall 2009).

Jennings, Jan. Cheap and Tasteful Dwellings: Practical Architects and The Convenient Interior, 1879-1909. Knoxville, Tenn.: University of Tennessee Press, 2005. [nominated for the 2007 Alice Davis Hitchcock Award with the Society of Architectural Historians, the 2006 and 2007 Abbott Lowell Cummings Award for excellence in scholarly writing about vernacular architecture]

Jennings, Jan, ed. Roadside America: The Automobile in Design and Culture. Ames, Iowa: Iowa State University Press, 1993.

Jan Jennings and Herbert Gottfried. American Vernacular Interior Architecture, 1870-1940. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1988; rpt. Iowa State University Press, 1993.

Gottfried, Herbert and Jennings, Jan. American Vernacular Design, 1870-1940. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1985; rpt. Iowa State University Press, 1988.

Recent Work

(refereed paper) Jan Jennings, “Naming Design Practices: Producing a Body of Knowledge of the Creative Dimension of Interior Design,” Communicating (By) Design, International Conference on Research and Practice in Architecture and Design; April 2009; Brussels, Belgium.

(refereed article) "A Case for Typology: The Interior Archetypes Project,” Journal of Interior Design 32, no. 3 (2007): 48-68.