Richard Saul Wurman

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Richard Saul Wurman
Richard Saul Wurman2 (cropped).jpg
Born (1935-03-26) March 26, 1935 (age 87)
Alma materUniversity of Pennsylvania (B.Arch, M.Arch)
OccupationArchitecture, information architecture, design
Known for19.20.21; TEDMED; WWW Conference; 555 Conference

Richard Saul Wurman (born March 26, 1935) is an American architect and graphic designer. Wurman has written, designed, and published 90 books and created the TED conferences,[1] the EG Conference,[further explanation needed] TEDMED, and the WWW Conference.[further explanation needed]

Education and honors[edit]

Wurman received both his B.Arch. and M.Arch. degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, completing his graduate degree in 1959,[2] with the highest honors; he was awarded the Arthur Spayed Brooks Gold Medal. He has been awarded several honorary doctorates, Graham Fellowships, a Guggenheim and numerous grants from the National Endowment for the Arts as well as the Distinguished Professor at Northeastern University. He is the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. Wurman has also been awarded the Annual Gold Medal from Trinity College, Dublin, a Gold Medal from AIGA and received the Boston Science Museum's 50th Annual Bradford Washburn Award in October, 2014. He is also a Fellow of the AIA and in the Art Director's Club Hall of Fame.


Wurman chaired the IDCA Conference in 1972, the First Federal Design assembly in 1973, and the annual American Institute of Architects (AIA) Conference in 1976. He created and chaired several conferences: TED from 1984 through 2003, TEDMED from 1995 through 2010, and the WWW conference.

He continues to work with Esri and RadicalMedia on his comparative cartographic initiative for mapping urban settings, 19.20.21, which will culminate in the creation of a network of live Urban Observatories around the world.

Wurman also supports SENS Research Foundation, a nonprofit biotechnology organization that seeks to repair the damages of aging and extend healthy lifespan.[3]


Wurman has written, designed, and published nearly a hundred books on divergent topics. These include the Notebooks and Drawings of Louis I. Kahn (1963) and What Will Be Has Always Been (1986), the seminal collection of the words of Kahn.

Wurman's map-oriented and infographic guidebooks include the Access travel series (starting with Access/LA in 1980), several books on healthcare, and Understanding USA (1999). Wurman's influential Information Anxiety was published in 1989, with a second edition in 2000. His books about information architecture and information design include Information Architects (1996) and UnderstandingUnderstanding (2017).

Personal life[edit]

Wurman lives in Golden Beach, Florida with his wife, novelist Gloria Nagy, and their two dogs. They have four children and six grandchildren.

He is Jewish.[4]


  1. ^ "The 30th birthday of TED: Richard Saul Wurman at TED2014". 2014-03-17. Retrieved 2014-07-20.
  2. ^ "Richard Saul Wurman". AIGA: the professional association for design. Retrieved 2016-11-03.
  3. ^ "Get Involved". SENS Research Foundation.
  4. ^ "TED Founder Richard Saul Wurman to Discuss TED, Judaism at Hillel". The Cornell Daily Sun. January 30, 2018.

External links[edit]