Award-winning architectural historian Catherine W. Zipf studies the elites and the underdogs of American architectural history, with a special focus on issues of race and gender.
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 it seemed that his career was finished. Zipf examines Wright's next steps to reveal the strategies he employed during the Great Depression that led to his resurgence and the construction of the 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, Radical Teacher, and Architexx.org. Also a prolific lecturer, she has spoken on a wide range of topics, most recently on buildings listed in The Negro Motorist 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 up using money from the slave trade. 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.