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Witold Rybczynski

An architect and professor of urbanism at the University of Pennsylvania, Rybczynski is also an accomplished author of many award-winning, engaging, and provocative books that have become bestsellers among nonspecialist readers. As a historian of architecture with a deep understanding of social and cultural history, Rybczynski brilliantly explores the influence of prevailing historical ideas and attitudes on the architectural trends and solutions of different periods. Among the subjects he has addressed in his books are the evolution of the notion of home and domestic comfort in Western culture, the development of American cities and city life, and the significance of style and fashion in architecture. He has also published an acclaimed biography of Frederick Law Olmstead, the creator of Central Park (and the Seattle's Arboretum), and a small but intriguing surprise: the history of one of the most useful tools of the second millennium - the screwdriver and the screw. In 2002 he published Perfect House: A Journey with the Master Architect Andrea Palladio a book based on Palladio, considered by many the most influential architect of all time, who lived in sixteenth century Renaissance Italy. He found fame as a designer of country houses, called "villas," seventeen of which survive to this day in the provinces around Venice and Vicenza.

The above short bio is an edited version of one originally posted on the website of the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Washington


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