Joseph Rykwert is Paul Philippe Cret Professor of Architecture Emeritus at the University of Pennsylvania. He was born in Warsaw and emigrated to England in 1939. Following his architectural studies at the Bartlett School of Architecture and the Architectural Association, he taught at Hammersmith School of Arts & Crafts and the Hochschule für Gestaltung, Ulm before becoming Librarian and Tutor at the Royal College of Art in London. In 1967 he became Professor of Art at the newly-created University of Essex where he remained until 1981 when he was first Slade Professor in the Fine Arts at the University of Cambridge and then Reader in Architecture. He took up his appointment in Philadelphia in 1988.
Joseph Rykwert has lectured or taught at most major schools of architecture throughout the world and has held visiting appointments in Princeton, the Cooper Union, New York, Harvard Graduate School of Design, the University of Sydney, Louvain, the Institut d’Urbanisme, Paris, the Central European University and others. He has held fellowships at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Visual Arts, Washington and the Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities.
His publications include: The Golden House (1947); The Idea of a Town (1963 and two subsequent editions), On Adam’s House in Paradise (1972 and subsequent editions); The First Moderns (1980), The Necessity of Artifice (1982); The Brothers Adam (1984), a new translation of Alberti’s architecture treatise, On the Art of Building in Ten Books (1989, with Robert Tavernor and Neil Leach), The Dancing Column (1996) and The Seduction of Place 2000. All his books have been translated into several languages.
In 1984, he was appointed Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. He holds honorary degrees from the University of Edinburgh, the University of Cordoba, Argentina, the University of Bath, of Rome and Toronto, and is a member of the Italian Accademia di San Luca and the Polish Academy. In 2000, he was awarded the Bruno Zevi prize in architectural history by the Biennale of Venice.