Carolyn Yerkes  Assistant Professor


Carolyn Yerkes

Assistant ProfessorEarly Modern Architecture


Ph.D., Columbia University, 2012; M.Arch., Princeton University, 2005

Carolyn Yerkes specializes in Renaissance and Baroque architecture. Focusing on European buildings from the 15th through 18th centuries, much of her latest research investigates relationships between architectural theory and techniques of architectural representation. Her first book, Drawing after Architecture: Renaissance Architectural Drawings and Their Reception, appeared in 2017, and is a finalist for the Charles Rufus Morey Book Award from the College Art Association. It investigates the nature of architectural evidence to understand how early modern architects used images to explore structures, create biographies, and write history. The book won the James Ackerman Award in the History of Architecture and was published by Marsilio as the eighth volume in that series.

Now Yerkes is working on a book about early modern architectural experiments. The book examines how architects used buildings to explore the natural world, including such phenomena as acoustical echoes, gravity, optics, and time. Another study in progress, tentatively entitled “From Solomon to Sonograms,” deals with the juridical anomaly of forced looking in episodes when images are a form of punishment. Together with John Pinto and Heather Hyde Minor, she is writing a book and developing an exhibition about the architect and printmaker Giovanni Battista Piranesi that focuses on his polemical publications. 

Yerkes joined Princeton’s faculty in 2014. Before that she was curator of rare books at Columbia’s Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library. She also taught classes in art history and architecture in Columbia’s Department of Art History and Archaeology. At Princeton, she currently holds the William G. Bowen Presidential Preceptorship.

Teaching Interests

Yerkes is interested in advising graduate students pursuing dissertations across the field of Early Modern Architecture. Her own teaching interests include modes of architectural representation (books, drawings, models), the role of antiquity in the Renaissance, architectural objects, the history of acoustics, infrastructure and subterranean construction, architecture and law, and the concept of error in architecture.

Selected Publications

Drawing after Architecture: Renaissance Architectural Drawings and Their Reception. Marsilio, 2017.

“The Grand Escalier at the Château de Versailles: The Monumental Staircase and Its Edges,” Princeton University Library Chronicle 75, no. 1 (Spring 2015).

“The Lost Octagons of the Pantheon: Images and Evidence,” Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 77 (December 2014).

“Drawings of the Pantheon in the Goldschmidt Scrapbook at the Metropolitan Museum of Art,” Metropolitan Museum Journal 48 (December 2013).

Essays and entries in The Greatest Grid: The Master Plan of Manhattan, ed. Hilary Ballon (Columbia University Press,  2011), published in conjunction with the Museum of the City of New York’ s exhibition.

“Worcester College Ms B 2. 3 and Its Sources: Seventeenth-Century French Drawings of Ancient and Modern Roman Architecture,” Annali di Architettura 23 (December 2011).