Richard Etlin



Richard Etlin has been writing architectural history primarily within the context of the French school of mentalités, with a focus on cultural meaning. Within this outlook he has also concentrated on various sub-themes, principally symbolic meaning and the phenomenological experience of architecture. With respect to the history of structure and construction, he studied the cultural meaning of the expression of structure within the modern movements of Italian architecture in Modernism in Italian Architecture, 1890-1940 (1991), a book that won the 1991 Most Outstanding Book in Architecture and Urban Planning from the Professional and Scholarly Publishing Division of the Association of American Publishers, Inc.; the 1992 Alice Davis Hitchcock Award from the Society of Architectural Historians; and a 1992 International Architecture Book Award from the American Institute of Architects. In Frank Lloyd Wright and Le Corbusier: The Romantic Legacy (1994), Etlin explored the importance of the primacy of structure in nineteenth- and twentieth-century architectural discourse. More recently, he has been extending the late Curt Siegel’s notion of Strukturformen to historical architecture, as well as considering the significance of cultural practices to the history of stereotomy. He is currently engaged in a monograph on Philibert Delorme’s Château d’Anet and a study of the iconography of stereotomic vaulting.


Etlin’s approach to architectural history was formed at Princeton University where he earned an A.B. cum laude (1969) in French literature with a sub-specialization in European intellectual and cultural history, a professional degree in architecture (M. Arch. 1972), and a Ph.D. in architectural history (1978). A Fulbright-Hays Full Grant for France (1973-74) enabled him to study in Paris for two years and the combination of an American Academy in Rome Fellowship in Italian Studies (National Endowment for the Humanities Post-Doctoral Fellowship), in conjunction with a Fulbright-Hays Junior Research Fellowship for Italy (1980-81) enabled him to live in Rome and Milan for a year. Other fellowships include a Guggenheim, National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, and Dumbarton Oaks-Harvard University. He is currently Distinguished University Professor at the School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation of the University of Maryland in College Park.


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