Marisa Gomez entered the Ph.D. program in Art History at UW-Madison in 2014, after receiving a B.F.A. in Architectural History from the Savannah College of Art and Design (2007) and an M.A. in Architectural History from the University of Texas at Austin (2014).
Her research interests include synthetic and imitative materials developed in the interwar years, the standardization and prefabrication of building units for domestic spaces in the 19th and 20th centuries, and the collaboration between universities and industrialists to sponsor research on “better living” for American families in the 1930s, 40s, and 50s. Ultimately, her work strives to understand the intersection of technology, modernism, and cultural constructions of domesticity in American society.
Her dissertation will trace the evolution of the stressed-skin panel from its development in the 1930s at the U.S. Forest Products Laboratory in Madison to its application in postwar housing nationwide, to construct a broader history of prefabricated housing in America. The project will consider what the promise of prefabrication held for both builders and consumers, turning a critical eye to why the prefab industry ultimately failed to meet the utopian expectations of either group.