May 5, 2015
2015 Fellows of the Society of Architectural Historians
The Board of Directors names as Fellows of the Society of Architectural Historians individuals who have distinguished themselves by a lifetime of significant contributions to the field. These contributions may include scholarship, service to SAH, or stewardship of the built environment.
Citation by Dietrich Neumann
David Brownlee received both his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Harvard in 1973 and 1980. He was immediately hired by the University of Pennsylvania where he has taught for the last 35 years, since 2003 as the Frances Shapiro Weitzenhoffer Professor. Most of us have several of his books on our bookshelves: be it the sumptuous exhibition catalogues on Louis Kahn or Robert Venturi with David De Long, books on Friedrich Weinbrenner or George Edmund Street or publications that reflect his interest in local buildings—about the architecture of the University of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Museum of Art or the new Barnes Foundation. His engagement as a teacher has been honored twice by Penn’s highest teaching awards from the undergraduates—and if his 29 PhD students were giving out awards, he would surely receive one from them as well.
David has been immensely generous with his time and engagement for our society—I have to greatly abbreviate here—he was, for example, the central figure organizing the publication and symposium “The Architectural Historian in America” celebrating the SAH’s 50th birthday—25 years ago. He was the editor designate and then editor of the SAH Journal [JSAH] from 2007–2011—certainly the most time-consuming volunteer job this society has to offer—in particular during a time when the journal migrated from one press to another and launched an online version. I know from my own experience that David’s boundless, youthful exuberance helps to make any board meeting a pleasure, and we all know and love him as a man of great generosity, kindness, and integrity. And, David is always willing to put his booming voice in the service of SAH when it is time to move attendees from the reception area to the plenary lecture.
David has won pretty much every award our society can bestow, from the Founder’s Award and Ann Van Zanten Medal in 1984, to the Alice Davis Hitchock Award from both the SAH and SAH Great Britain in 1986 (he was the only one ever to equally impress the juries of both societies) and the Philip Johnson Award in 1993. Tonight it is time for another.
It is a great personal pleasure to read this citation declaring David Brownlee a Fellow of the Society of Architectural Historians.