Education: University of Michigan, PhD; University of Michigan, M.A.; University of Colorado, B.A.
Richard Guy Wilson’s specialty is scholarship involving the architecture, design and art of the 18th to the 21st centuries in America and abroad. His research, publications and also exhibitions that have ranged from the architecture of Thomas Jefferson to the Arts & Crafts and related (Art Nouveau, etc.) movements in the United States and Europe, the history of cities and especially the American suburb and utopian plans, the foundations of Modernism, the revival of classicism in the later 19th century, and mid-20th century modern houses and furniture design. Very important has been his research on the connections in architecture with literature and poetry.
Wilson aims to engage students through lectures, class discussions, and also actually seeing the building and field trips. He has taught a wide variety of courses that range from the global history of cities, surveys of architectural history, historic preservation and then more specialized courses on Thomas Jefferson’s architecture, the American architecture of the 19th century, the 20th century, and seminars that treat the American Renaissance and the Beaux-Arts, the Arts & Crafts Movement, mid-20th century modernism, and others, He also has run summer schools that are located in Newport, RI, Chicago, and other locations such as London and Paris. He is a frequent lecturer (more than 600) at other universities, museums and historical societies.
In addition to the projects noted above, Wilson has other areas of research and specialization that include a major new essay on the firm of McKim, Mead & White for Oxford University Press, classicism in America and others. Of special importance has been his role in historic preservation that began with writing one of the earliest National Register nominations for an Ann Arbor, Michigan neighborhood in 1970. He has served on many boards including the National Historic Landmarks, the Virginia State Board, and also on many historic site advisory boards, such as the Preservation Society of Newport County (RI), Monticello, Preservation Piedmont, and others. Well known as an expert lecturer he gives about 15-20 guest talks around the US and abroad every year. He appears frequently on television as a commentator and has done about 75 different TV programs.
Wilson has been the author, or co/author of 13 books, the editor and contributor to 5 other books, he has been the curator or co/curator of 11 exhibitions, he has published 111 articles in periodicals, academic journals, encyclopedias, and collections of essays, and has published more than 130 short pieces of 1 to 3-4 pages for introductions, and short essays.
Edith Wharton at Home (Monticelli, 2012)
Harbor Hill: Portrait of a House (Norton, 2008)
The Colonial Revival House (Abrams, 2004)
Buildings of Virginia: Tidewater and Piedmont (editor and contributor),
Society of Architectural Historians Buildings of the US
Oxford University Press, 2002
Richmond’s Monument Avenue, (with Sarah Shields Driggs and Robert
Winthrop) University of North Carolina Press, 2001
The Campus Guide: University of Virginia, (with Sara A. Butler) New York:
Princeton Architectural Press, 1999, 2d ed. (with Butler and
The Making of Virginia Architecture, (with Charles Brownell, Calder Loth
and William Rasmussen) Charlottesville: University Press
of Virginia, 1992.
The Machine Age in America, 1986 (with Dianne Pilgrim and Dickran
Tashjian) New York, Abrams, (Japanese Translation,
1988) Reissue, Abrams, 2001.
McKim, Mead & White, Architects, New York: Rizzoli, 1983
The AIA Gold Medal, New York, McGraw-Hill, 1984
“From the Grounds UP: Thomas Jefferson’s Architecture and Design”
Curator, Fralin Art Museum, January 26-April 29, 2018
“From Village to Grounds: Architecture at the University after Jefferson”
Curator, Special Collections Library, Sept 2009-June 2010
“Thomas Jefferson's Academical Village: The Creation of an Architectural
Masterpiece, "Curator. Sept 2009- Jan. 2010, University Art Museum, Univ of Virginia.
“Jefferson’s Design University of Virginia” October 7, 1993-January 9, 1994,
Bayly Art Museum, University of Virginia; Heinz
Architecture Center-Carnegie Museum and Art,
Pittsburgh, Oct. 27, 1994-Jan. 8, 1995; The Octagon,
Washington, D.C., March 1, - June 4, 1995
"The Making of Virginia Architecture", exhibition, Co-curator, Nov.- Dec.
1992 at Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond.
"The Art That is Life: The Arts and Crafts Movement in America", Guest
Curator. Funded by grants from the National
Endowment for the Humanities and the Henry Luce
Foundation. Itinerary: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston,
March 4 - June 6, 1987; The Los Angeles County
Museum of Art, August 12 - November 1, 1987; The
Detroit Institute of Art, December 9, 1987 - February 28,
1988; The Cooper-Hewitt Museum, New York, April 5 –
June 26, 1988
Distinguished Lecture, A&S, Student Selection Univ. of Virginia Feb 2011
Southeastern Society of Architectural Historians Lifetime Scholar Award,
Distinguished Professor Award, University of Virginia Alumni
Association, April 2001
Doctor (Honorary) of Fine Arts, Salve Regina University, 1999
Best Essay, 1994, (“Jefferson’s Lawn: Perceptions, ...” in TJ’s Academical Village, catalogue) Southeast Society of Architectural
Society Honors for Contributions to Architecture, 1994, Virginia Society American Institute of Architects
Best Essay, 1993, ("The Historic Present in Virginia Architecture," in Making of
Virginia Architecture), Southeast Society of Architectural
Award of Excellence, 1993, (Making of Virginia Architecture,) Southern Library Association
Outstanding Architecture Catalogue Award, 1993, (Making of Virginia Architecture) Society of Architectural Historians
Best Book of Year 1986, [Machine Age] American Library Association 1987
Honorary Member, American Institute of Architects, 1986
Koontz Prize "Best Article 1985", [Hoover Dam] Pacific Coast Branch
American Historical Association, 1986
Ray Billington Prize "Best Article Any Journal 1985", [Hoover Dam] Western
Guggenheim Fellow, 1984-1985