Don Choi (Kuhn-Choi)


Don Choi

Position Professor
Phone 805.756.2490
Office 21-209

Areas of Expertise

Architectural History: modern architecture; architecture of Japan


Dr. Don Choi specializes in the history of modern architecture. In particular, he researches the development of architecture in Japan since the 1800s, examining how Japan developed a distinct architectural culture. He is currently working on a book-length manuscript on architecture in modern Japan.

In addition to teaching seminars on modern architecture, Dr. Choi teaches architectural history survey courses and second- and third-year design studios. He is also the coordinator for the Architecture Department’s Japan Study program and will spend fall 2016 in Tokyo.

Teaching Philosophy

Through classes in history, theory, and design, Dr. Choi encourages students to examine the richness and complexity of the built environment. He seeks to integrate various types of learning and experience to further flexible, contextual approaches to design and research.


Educational Credentials:

Ph.D. in architectural history, University of California, Berkeley
M.Arch., Rice University
A.B. in economics, Princeton University

Teaching Experience:

2015-present: Professor, Cal Poly
2009-2015: Associate Professor, Cal Poly
2003-2009: Assistant Professor, Cal Poly

Professional Experience:

Overseas Research Fellow, Institute of Industrial Science, Tokyo University  2011-present
Visiting Collaborative Researcher, Institute of Industrial Science, Tokyo University  1998-2000


Overseas Research Associate, Muramatsu Laboratory, Tokyo University Institute of Industrial Science.


Selected Publications and Recent Research:

  • "Fast Forward: The Architecture of William F. Cody," July 10 - September 25, 2016, Architecture and Design Museum, Los Angeles. Co-curated exhibition and supervised student exhibits.
  • Architecture and Modern Japan: History, Technology, and Nation, 1850-1920, under contract with Routledge
  • “Minka: Vernacular Houses in Japan.” In Vernacular Buildings: A New World Survey, edited by Sandra Piesik. Forthcoming from Thames & Hudson.
  • “Abroad in the World: Some Thoughts on Ever-Expanding Off-Campus Programs.” In Globalizing Architecture/Flows and Discourses, Proceedings of the 102nd ACSA Annual Meeting (ACSA Press, 2014): 604-611.
  • “Meiji Restorations: Defining Preservation, Education, and Architecture for Modern Japan,” Preservation Education & Research 2 (2009): 1-14.
  • “The End of the World as They Knew It: Architectural History and Modern Japan,” in Seeking the City: Visionaries on the Margins, Proceedings of the 96th ACSA Annual Meeting (Washington: ACSA Press, 2008): 736-742.
  • “Non-Western Architecture and the Roles of the History Survey,” in Fresh Air: Proceedings of the 95th ACSA Annual Meeting (Washington: ACSA Press, 2007).
  • “Scales and Meanings of Architecture and Urbanism in Sapporo,” in Reassessing East Asia in the Light of Urban and Architectural History, proceedings of the International Conference on East Asian Architectural Culture, Kyoto 2006, vol. 2: 275-281.


  • Center for Teaching and Learning Faculty Development Grant, 2009-2010
  • Hearst Student Scholar Award, Cal Poly, 2016-2017

Updated 09.01.16

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