MArch, University of Oregon, 1981
AB (Fine Arts), UC Berkeley, 1975
Virginia Cartwright, associate professor of architecture and the director of the UO Baker Lighting Lab, explores light, form, and space through her research and practice, as well as in her design studios and seminars on the architecture of Alvar Aalto and on architecture in the cinema. She also teaches courses in daylighting, electric lighting, site and climate, and media.
A long-standing focus of Cartwright's research is the relationship between light and form in the work of Finnish architect Alvar Aalto. She has presented segments of her research in lectures and papers, including presentations of "A Lexicon of Light, Themes in Aalto's Libraries" in Dresden, Germany, and "From the Earth to the Sky; Tracing the Development of Luminous themes in Mt. Angel Abbey Library" at the Centenary Celebration of Alvar Aalto's Birth at Mt. Angel Abbey Library. Her research areas also include climate-responsive design and daylighting strategies, including atria, courtyards and light wells.
An accomplished designer, Cartwright has collaborated on competition entries selected for exhibition with the sponsorship of Boston's Public Facilities Department and the Boston Society of Architects ("Raising the Roof, Opening Doors"), the New York Municipal Arts Society and the National Endowment for the Arts ("Manhattan Waterfront Competition"), the Minneapolis College of Art and Design ("A New American House," award of merit), and the City and County of Milwaukee ("Milwaukee Lakefront Competition," award of merit).
Since 1998, Cartwright has focused on developing a small architectural practice, which was recipient of a Meta Design Award in 2003. She is currently designing a small residential development on the California coast. She also continues to work as a daylighting consultant; past projects include the award-winning Emerald People's Utility District Headquarters Building, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, the Portland Art Museum, and the Springfield Metropolitan Waste Management Facility.
Cartwright's publications include chapters on daylighting in Architectural Design Portable Handbook, (McGraw-Hill, 2001)and Architecture 101: A Guide to the Design Studio (John Wiley and Sons, 1993) and comprehensive illustrations in Sun, Wind and Light: Architectural Design Strategies (John Wiley and Sons, 1985).
A visiting professor at Cornell University in 1995, Cartwright also taught at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Kansas State University prior to joining the faculty at the University of Oregon in 1986. Cartwright is a member of the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America and the Society of Building Science Educators.