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Passing: Vincent Scully


December 1, 2017
by Canadian Architect

This week marked the passing of Vincent Scully, widely considered one of the world’s foremost architectural historians and educators. A winner of the National Medal of Arts in 2004, Scully served as the Sterling Professor Emeritus of the History of Art in Architecture at Yale University, and was described by Pritzker prize winner Philip Johnson as “the most influential architecture teacher ever.” Scully died on November 30, at the age of 97.

Vincent Scully in 2006. Photo by Vivian Ronay, courtesy of the National Building Museum

Vincent Scully in 2006. Photo by Vivian Ronay, courtesy of the National Building Museum

Born in New Haven, Connecticut in 1920, Vincent Scully served as part of the Yale faculty since 1947. In an academic career that spanned over 60 years, Scully’s impassioned lectures lectures proved enormously popular and influential, usually beginning in jam-packed packed lecture halls and often ending in standing ovations.

Complementing an unparalleled teaching career, Scully was also a widely published writer and editor, authoring books on Louis Kahn, Frank Lloyd Wright, and numerous other topics in modern architecture and urbanism. In 1995, the National Endowment for the Humanities selected Scully to deliver the annual Jefferson Lecture — considered the U.S. government’s highest federal humanities honour — and in 1999, the Urban Land Institute (ULI) awarded Scully the J.C. Nichols Prize for Visionary Urban Development.

Scully has been remembered with obituaries in the New York Times, Washington Post, and Yale News, among others. Yale University is also collecting remembrances of Scully for publication on a special website.