Oral Histories

Interview of Joseph Rykwert

University of Pennsylvania professor of architecture with a focus on history and theory.
Art Historian
Art History - Oral Documentation Project
Biographical Note:
University of Pennsylvania professor of architecture with a focus on history and theory.
Smith, Richard Candida
Rykwert, Joseph
Supporting Documents:
Records relating to the interview are located in the office of the UCLA Library's Center for Oral History Research.
Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
Series Statement:
The interviews in the series Art History - Oral Documentation Project are part of a cooperative venture between the Oral History Program and the Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities, documents a generation of scholars who developed and elaborated paradigms of art history established in the late nineteenth century to forge a twentieth-century discipline.
Family background and childhood in Warsaw; family immigrates to England; studies at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University of London; transfers to Architectural Association School of Architecture; Le Corbusier; modern architects in Britain in the forties; The Idea of a Town: The Anthropology of Urban Form in Rome, Italy, and the Ancient World; works for Maxwell Fry and for Richard Sheppard; seminars with Rudolf Wittkower; Domus and Casabella; traveling in Italy and studying Italian architecture; teaches at the Hochschule für Gestaltung in Ulm; Aldo van Eyck and Alison and Peter Smithson; influence of psychoanalytic thought on Rykwert; political sympathies; Mies van der Rohe's approach to architecture; editing Alberti's Ten Books on Architecture; Nikolaus Pevsner; Alphonse Barb; academics in the fifties; attitude toward semiotics in the fifties and sixties; Jacques Lacan; influence of Henri Frankfort and neo-Kantians on Rykwert; serves as librarian at the Royal College of Art; teaches at the University of Essex; the 1968 student uprisings; On Adam's House in Paradise; Manfredo Tafuri; architecture as a political and religious art; writing Church Building; writing The First Moderns; structures Rykwert has designed; London in the sixties; broadcasting for the Open University; architectural theory during the Bauhaus and after; teaching at Cambridge University; teaching at the University of Pennsylvania; postmodern architecture; feminist and neo-European architecture; Rykwert's current writing projects.