Lee Gray

Lee Gray
Architecture | CoA+A
Professor of Architectural History
Storrs 264

Faculty Research Connections Profile

Dr. Lee E. Gray is a Professor of Architectural History in the School of Architecture and Interim Dean in the College of Arts + Architecture as of July 2023. Gray received his Ph.D. in architectural history from Cornell University, his Masters in architectural history from the University of Virginia, and undergraduate architecture degrees in architecture from Iowa State University. He is the author of From Ascending Rooms to Express Elevators: A History of the Passenger Elevator in the 19th Century. Since 2003 he has written monthly articles on the history of vertical transportation for Elevator World magazine.  Dr. Gray is an internationally recognized scholar and expert on the history of vertical transportation. Current projects include a book on the history of escalators and moving sidewalks. He has appeared on the History Channel in "Modern Marvels – Building a Skyscraper" (2004), the National Geographic Channel in "Big, Bigger, Biggest – Airport" (2008) and on PBS in "NOVA: Trapped in an Elevator" (2010).

Explore HIS recent work

illustration of elevator

Dr. Gray quoted in Wall Street Journal: "Cars, Tugs—and Elevators? The Changes Coming for Transportation in the Future"
As transportation industries look to reduce carbon emissions and keep up with changing regulations, the vehicles and vessels that carry people and products will evolve in the coming decades. Here are four trends experts in their fields see coming.
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Dr. Gray interivewed on NPR's Here and Now: "What's The Most Efficient Way To Ride An Escalator?"
Are we using escalators most efficiently by standing on the right and walking on the left? A study from 2016 found it's faster for all passengers to stand on both sides.Here & Now's Jeremy Hobson talks about the theory with Lee Gray, a professor of architectural history at the University of North Carolina Charlotte.
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A History of Passenger Elevator in the 19th Century: 
Gray's publication focuses on the history of technological development as well as its impact on office building planning and use patterns, and its social impact and cultural assimilation.The extensive research that went into this publication takes us from the technological origins of the freight hoists in England and the U.S. to the elevators and skyscrapers of 1880 -1900.