Top Ten American Architecture thru history
 
1885 America's Favorite Architecture
Results of the 1885 architecture poll conducted by American Architect & Building News.
 
1. Henry Hobson Richardson: Trinity Church, Boston, 1872-77.
2. Various architects: U.S. Capitol, Washington, DC
3. Richard Morris Hunt: Vanderbilt House, New York City.
4. Richard Upjohn: Trinity Church, New York City, 1846.
5. Calvert Vaux & Frederick Withers: the Jefferson Market Courthouse, New York City, 1875-77.
6. Richard Upjohn: Connecticut State Capitol, Hartford, 1873-79.
7. Henry Hobson Richardson: Albany City Hall, New York, 1880-83.
8. Henry Hobson Richardson: Sever Hall, Harvard University, 1878-80.
9. Henry Hobson Richardson: New York State Capitol, Albany, (Richardson was one of four architects), 1875-86.
10. Henry Hobson Richardson: Oakes Ames Memorial Hall, North Easton, MA, 1879-1881.
 
Special thanks to http://www.aia150.org/
1976 America's Favorite Architecture
Results of Poll of Architects, Historians and Critics by AIA Journal published July 1976 for Proudest Achievements of American Architecture in the Nation’s first 200 Years(only the first ten are listed)


1. University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, Thomas Jefferson


2. Rockefeller Center, Reinhard & Hofmeister; Corbett Harrison McMurray (56 on 2007 list)


3. Dulles International Airport, Chantilly, VA, Eero Saarinen


4. Kaufmann Residence (Fallingwater)  Bear Run, PA, Frank Lloyd Wright  (29 on 2007 list)


5. Carson, Pirie, Scott and Company Building , Chicago, IL, Louis Sullivan, Daniel Burnham (145 on 2007 list)


6. Seagram Building, New York, NY, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Philip Johnson (interiors) and Kahn & Jacobs


7. Philadelphia Savings Fund Society, Philadelphia, PA, George Howe & William Lescaze


8. (tie) Boston City Hall, Kalman McKinnell & Knowles; Cambell Aldrich & Nulty
Trinity Church, Boston, MA, H.H. Richardson (25)


8.  (tie) Lever House, New York City, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, Gordon Bunshaft as chief designer


9. Brooklyn Bridge, New York City-Brooklyn, John Augustus Roebling, completed by son, Washington Augustus Roebling (20 on 2007 list)


10. Robie House , Chicago, IL, Frank Lloyd Wright  (138 on 2007 list)


11. Johnson Wax Administration Building, Racine, WI, Frank Lloyd Wright


12. Ford Foundation Building, New York, Roche Dinkeloo

In reviewing the recent poll of America's Favorite Buildings for the AIA150 program, my curiosity was aroused as to how the poll compared to previous ones that I was aware of. In addition to the 150 poll, I knew of a poll be the AIAJournal in 1976 of architects, historians and critics to select the "proudest achievements of American architecture over the past 200 years", as well as a poll of architects in 1885 by the trade journal, American Architect & Building News. So attached is the comparison of the three polls using only the top ten in each, which I thought may be of interest to you. (There was also a poll by The AIA Journal in 1948, but I only know that the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington DC was first and don't have the other results.)

It is interesting to note that to the best of my checking, only Trinity Church in Boston by H.H. Richardson appears on all three polls. It was first in the 1885 poll, tied for 8th in the 1976 poll, and 25th in the 2007 poll.

There were five other buildings from the ten of the 1976 poll that also appeared in the 2007 poll. Rockefeller Center was 2nd in 1976 and 56th in 2007. Falling Water was 4th in 1976 and 29th in 2007. Carson Pierie Scott was 5th in 1976 and 145th in 2007. Robie House was tied for 10th in 1976 and 138th in 2007. The Brooklyn Bridge was tied for 10th in 1976 and was 20th in 2007. There are also a few below the top ten in 1976 that also appear on the 2007 150 list.

It is interesting to note that the landslide first place winner in 1976, Thomas Jefferson's University of Virginia campus, failed to even make the Favorite 150 building list in 2007. However, two other TJ projects did make the 2007 list. His Monticello was 17th, and his Virginia State Capitol was 50th.

It is also interesting that a former AIA president's firm, Shreve Lamb and Harmon did the Empire State Building which ranked first in the 2007 poll. R.H. Shreve, FAIA was president 1941-1943.

This recent poll for AIA150 seems to highlight the fact that the public's opinion of architecture is considerably different than most architects viewpoint. This obviously indicates that we must do a better job in our schools and with the public in explaining "architecture" and good design. Of course, there is also a difference between "favorite" and "best", which would impact on results. And without question, the PR and publicity the AIA received with the release of this 150 poll was outstanding and undoubtedly helped in raising awareness of architecture with the public.

Randy Vosbeck, FAIA
1986 America's Favorite Architecture
 Poll conducted by the American Institute of Architects:


1. Kaufmann Residence (Fallingwater)  Bear Run, PA, Frank Lloyd Wright


2. Seagram Building, New York, NY, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Philip Johnson (interiors) and Kahn & Jacobs


3. Dulles International Airport, Chantilly, VA, Eero Saarinen


4. University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, Thomas Jefferson


5. Robie House , Chicago, IL, Frank Lloyd Wright


6. Henry Hobson Richardson: Trinity Church, Boston, 1872-77.


7. I.M. Pei & Partners: East Wing, National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., 1976.


8. Rockefeller Center, Reinhard & Hofmeister; Corbett Harrison McMurray


9. Johnson Wax Administration Building, Racine, WI, Frank Lloyd Wright, 1936.


10. Thomas Jefferson: Monticello , Charlottesville, VA, 1770-74; 1796-1809.
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