Martin and Margy Meyerson Professor of Urbanism;
Professor of Real Estate at Wharton, University of Pennsylvania
Witold Rybczynski, of Polish parentage, was born in Edinburgh, raised in London, and attended Jesuit schools in England and Canada. He studied architecture at McGill University in Montreal, where he also taught; he is currently the Martin and Margy Meyerson Professor of Urbanism at the University of Pennsylvania. His architectural experience has included designing and building houses as a registered architect, as well as researching low-cost housing for which he received a 1991 Progressive Architecture award. In 1993, he was made an Honorary Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, and he has received honorary doctorates from McGill University and the University of Western Ontario. In 2007, he received the Vincent Scully Prize, the Seaside Prize, and the Institute Collaborative Honors from the AIA. He serves on the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts.
Described as “one of our most original, accessible, and stimulating writers on architecture” by Library Journal, Rybczynki is currently architecture critic for the on-line magazine Slate. He has written twelve books on subjects as varied as the evolution of comfort, a history of the weekend, American urbanism, a search for the origins of the screwdriver, and the life of America’s greatest landscape architect. Home has been translated into ten languages, and was nominated for a Governor General’s Literary Prize, while A Clearing in the Distance, a biography of Frederick Law Olmsted, received the J. Anthony Lukas Prize, a Christopher Award, a Philadelphia Athenæum literary award, and was shortlisted for the Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Nonfiction.
His essays appear regularly in the New York Review of Books, and The New York Times, and he has written for The New Yorker and The Atlantic. His latest book (written with Laurie Olin) is Vizcaya: An American Villa and Its Makers. His new book, on real estate development, Last Harvest, will be published in 2007.
Witold Rybczynski lives with his wife Shirley Hallam in Chestnut Hill in Philadelphia.