Award-winning architectural historian Catherine W. Zipf studies the underdogs (and the elites when they were underdogs) of American architectural history. With an interest in race and gender, Zipf reconstructs lost or overlooked histories, providing a new, often surprising, viewpoint on the traditional narrative.
Her latest book, Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater: American Architecture in the Depression Era, picks up the story of America's greatest architect at his absolute lowest point, when his career seemed finished and before he became the architect we know him as today. Zipf examines what Wright did during the Great Depression that led to one of the greatest career comebacks of all time--and the construction of that American icon, Fallingwater.
A graduate of Harvard University and the University of Virginia, Zipf is the author of numerous books and articles, including "Almost as Good as a Frank Gehry: Doris Duke, Maya Lin, and the Gendered Politics of Public Space in Newport, Rhode Island", in Suffragette City, "The Doctor is IN: Gender, Space, and Power in Lucy's Psychiatric Booth", in Peanuts and American Culture, and "Surveys, Seminars and Starchitecs: Gender Studies and Architectural History Pedagogy in American Architectural Education", in A Gendered Profession. Her first book, Professional Pursuits: Women and the American Arts and Crafts Movement, was named Outstanding Academic Book by Choice Magazine.
A prolific author, Zipf has written for The Providence Journal, The National Trust for Historic Preservation, Buildings and Landscapes, Arris, DoCoMoMo, Early American Studies, American Periodicals: A Journal of History and Criticism, Radical Teacher, The Journal of City, Culture and Architecture, and Architexx.org. Also a prolific speaker, she has lectured on a wide range of topics, most recently on buildings listed in The Negro Travelers' Green Book and on the architecture of Cuba's slave-based plantations. Zipf's research has been supported by The National Trust for Historic Preservation, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and The Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation.
Zipf serves as the Executive Director of The Bristol Historical & Preservation Society, in Bristol, RI, a Colonial-era Norman Rockwell-esque town built by money generated from illegal slave trading activities. A woman of many interests, Zipf always has multiple endeavors going at the same time. Forthcoming projects examine Gilded Age women who built houses in Newport, RI, enslaved people who lived in Bristol, the architecture of The Negro Motorist Green Book, and Cuban sugar plantations owned by prominent Bristolians during the 19th century.
Follow her on Twitter to see which one she finishes first.