Anthony Alofsin (born June 22, 1949 in Memphis, Tennessee) is an architect, artist, art historian, writer, and professor. Educated at Memphis Academy of Art and Phillips Academy, Andover, he received from Harvard College and the Harvard Graduate School of Design, respectively, a Bachelor Arts (1971) and Master of Architecture (1981). From Columbia University, he obtained a Ph.D. in Art History and Archaeology (1987).
Alofsin has written books on modern architecture and published numerous essays on architecture, art, and culture that have appeared in a variety of journals and reviews including The Times Literary Supplement, the Burlington Magazine, the New Criterion, and American Art. He has taught for over twenty-five years at the University of Texas at Austin.
He is the author of Dream Home, What You Need to Know Before You Buy, a guide for consumers buying a home in the suburbs. He wrote Frank Lloyd Wright, Art Collector, the first publication of Wright's unknown collection of German and Austrian art prints. His book When Buildings Speak: Architecture as Language in the Habsburg Empire and its Aftermath, 1867-1933 won the Vasari Award from the Dallas Museum of Art .; a German language edition was published by the Verlag Anton Pustet in 2011. He is editor of A Modernist Museum in Perspective: The East Building, National Gallery of Art. He is the author of The Struggle for Modernism: Architecture, Landscape Architecture, and City Planning at Harvard, the history of the Harvard Graduate School of Design from its beginnings through the 1960s.
Much of his scholarly writing has focused on issues of influence, how ideas are transmitted and transformed, on the concept of artistic transition as well as reception as an index of cultural and social meaning. He conducts a broad range of research activities including American modernism, Central European modern architecture, the history of ornament, the history of design education in architecture, landscape architecture, and city planning as well as ongoing research on Frank Lloyd Wright. He has written on the role of narrative in architecture and on the origins of regionalism in modern architecture.
Alofsin is internationally recognized as one of the world's leading authorities on the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright and as an expert on modern architecture. In 2006, he received the Wright Spirit Award from the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy. The award honors an individual who, through artistic, architectural, scholarly, professional or other endeavors embodies the spirit of Frank Lloyd Wright. ' His pioneering study, Frank Lloyd Wright: the Lost Years, 1910-1922, is acknowledged to be one of the most important books on Wright in the last forty years; the book was a winner in the monograph category in the American Institute of Architects International Book Awards. Alofsin’s other publications include the five-volume reference work, Frank Lloyd Wright: An Index to the Taliesin Correspondence, which won the Vasari Award of the Dallas Museum of Art.
Alofsin was ranked “Best of the Best” and in the 90th percentile of research professors, academics,and dons among an international evaluation of schools of architecture by the Key Centre for Architectural Sociology.
Alofsin has been named a Fellow, Helen Riaboff Whiteley Center; Fellow, Bogliasco Foundation, Liguria Study Center for the Arts and Humanities; Ailsa Mellon Bruce Senior Fellow, Center for Advanced Studies in the Visual Arts, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C; Fellow, MacDowell Colony; Fellow, the Internationales Forschungszentrum Kulturwissenschaften, Vienna; Visiting Scholar, the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation; Visiting Fellow, Harvard Graduate School of Design; and Fulbright Professor, Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. In 2017 Alofsin was elected a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, one of the highest honors given by the profession.
Advise and practice
He has also been active as a curator and adviser to several architectural exhibitions. He was consulting curator for the major retrospective Frank Lloyd Wright, Architect at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He curated Prairie Skyscraper on Wright’s Price Tower in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, and the exhibition Wright's Wasmuth Folios: Representing the Ideal, at the Ross Gallery, Columbia University.
Alofsin maintains an architectural practice and his projects, which range in scale and style, have been frequently published. The sites of his projects include New Mexico, New York, and Texas. He also lectures internationally and is the Roland Roessner Centennial Professor of Architecture at the University of Texas at Austin where he founded and directed the Ph.D. program in architectural history. .
Excerpt from a review of his book, Frank Lloyd Wright, Art Collector: "Whether they form a collection or represent a memento, Alofsin accords them painstaking study, pointing to 21 artists who are mostly little known today but were widely published in European journals and folios around the turn of the last century."
Print Quarterly, June 2013.
Excerpt from a starred review of Dream Home: What You Need to Know Before You Buy: "Alofsin provides a chatty, informed look at the tension between the persistent goal of home ownership and the gap between dreams and possibilities.....Potential home buyers will find his suggestions about how to define a dream house worth pondering, and find reassurance in his belief that the quality of U.S. homes is improving at all price levels.”
Publisher's Weekly Select, August 2013.
Excerpt from a review of his book, When Buildings Speak: Architecture as Language in the Habsburg Empire and its Aftermath, 1867-1933: “…this book marks an undisputable contribution not only to the knowledge of the Central European architecture, but also to the ongoing remapping of modern architecture. Alofsin introduces a new reading of the architecture of the region and supports it with an extremely rich use of illustrations, including many large color photographs of breathtaking quality….Alofsin demonstrates here that modern architecture implies several and different means of expression, all of which are equally worth investigating. While certainly contributing to the continuing shifts of historiography of modern architecture, this book will also open pathways to the study of even more ‘adventurous’ territories that have yet to be considered by mainstream architectural history.”
Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, June 2008.
- Alofsin, Anthony Dream Home: What You Need to Know Before You Buy, Austin:InnerformsLtd.com, 2013. ISBN 978-0982063033.
- Alofsin, Anthony Frank Lloyd Wright, Art Collector, Austin: University of Texas Press, 2012. ISBN 978-0292737211
- Alofsin, Anthony Architektur beim Wort nehmen. Bildhaft sprechende Baukunst des Habsburgerreiches und seiner Nachfolgestaaten 1867-1933, Salzburg: Verlag Anton Pustet, 2011. ISBN 978-3-7025-0630-8.
- Alofsin, Anthony Halflife, A Fictive Memoir. Austin, TX: InnerformsLtd.com, 2009. ISBN 978-0-9820630-0-2.
- Alofsin, Anthony, editor and essayist, A Modernist Museum in Perspective: The East Building, National Gallery of Art (Studies in the History of Art Series). Editor and essayist. New Haven: Yale University Press and National Gallery of Art, 2009.
- Alofsin, Anthony, When Buildings Speak: Architecture As Language in the Habsburg Empire and Its Aftermath, 1867-1933, University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London 2006, ISBN 0-226-01506-8
- Alofsin, Anthony, editor/co-author Prairie skyscraper: Frank Lloyd Wright's Price Tower, Price Tower Arts Center, Bartlesville OK; Rizzoli, New York 2005, ISBN 0-8478-2754-2
- Alofsin, Anthony, The Struggle for Modernism: Architecture, Landscape Architecture, and City Planning at Harvard, W. W. Norton, New York and London 2002, ISBN 0-393-73048-4
- Alofsin, Anthony, editor, Frank Lloyd Wright: An Index to the Taliesin Correspondence, Garland Publishing, New York 1988 [five volumes]
- Alofsin, Anthony, editor, Frank Lloyd Wright: Europe and Beyond, University of California Press, Berkeley CA 1999, ISBN 0-520-21116-2
- Alofsin, Anthony, Frank Lloyd Wright--The Lost Years, 1910-1922: A Study of Influence, University of Chicago Press, Chicago 1993, ISBN 0-226-01366-9
- Who's Who in America - 2012, 66th Edition (pub. 2011), Marquis Biographies on Line. http://search.marquiswhoswho.com/profile/100023439524
- "[UTSOA] people :". Soa.utexas.edu. Retrieved 2012-10-09.
- "Two Receive Vasari Awards in 2007: Anthony Alofsin and Randall C. Griffin". Retrieved 2012-09-09.
- ""Frank Lloyd Wright scholar wins Wright Spirit Award" Oct. 3, 2006 News release, University of Texas". Utexas.edu. 2012-07-24. Retrieved 2012-09-09.
- "The American Institute of Architects - Awards Program , Awards". Aia.org. 2011-12-13. Retrieved 2012-09-09.
- "Previous Winners of the Vasari Award - Dallas Museum of Art". Dm-art.org. Retrieved 2012-09-09.[permanent dead link]
- Gary Stevens, "Rating the Architecture Academics,Professors, and Dons in Research: 2010-13 Final Report." Key Centre for Architectural Sociology,2012. http://www.archsoc.com. See also http://www.archsoc.com/kcas/researchschool.html Retrieved 2012-11-19
- Judith Brodie, “Frank Lloyd Wright’s Secessionist Prints,” Print Quarterly 33:2 (June 2013): 202-203.
- Publisher’s Weekly Select (August 2013), p. 19.
- Carmen Popescu, “When Buildings Speak: Architecture as Language in the Habsburg Empire and Its Aftermath, 1867-1993” Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, 67:2 (June 2008): 288-289.