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Top 13 American architects of all time

Posted by admin on April 27, 2019

Architects all over the world are making notable positive impacts in the world of architecture. Similarly, American architects are no different.  This is obvious with their sophisticated buildings and designs being seen all over the world. One would wonder what makes the difference in buildings since it uses the same basic components as bricks and cement. I would say the difference is in the architectural mechanism used.

Furthermore, the aesthetics of the building is determined by the style and pattern of architectural design. This is the reason why architects all over the world including the American hunger for mastery in their chosen styles of designs.  Also, if you make the top list of architects in the world today, American architects would come up top. Therefore in recognition of their tremendous efforts to humanity, most American architects have in the past won the famous Pritkers prize award and AIA gold medal awards.

Below are the top 13 American architects in the world.

no   Name of architect Date of birth Institution attended Innovation and achievements Award Won Style or pattern  

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Frank Lloyd Wright

Frank liyod Wright


8th June 1867 University of Wisconsin Madison The Falling water AIA Gold Medals in 1941 nature and humanity

architect, house designs

Philip Johnson

Philip Johnson.


8th July 1906 Harvard school of design The Glass House the Pritzker architectural prize in 1978 Glass, steel and crystal

architecture, architect, house plans

Frank Owen Gehry

Frank Owen Gehry


28th February 1929 University of Southern California Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain Pritzker Prize for Architecture in 1989 Unconventional with bold modern features.

Richard Meier

Richard Meier


12th October 1934. Cornell University Getty Center in Los Angeles.


Gold Medal from the American Institute Of Architect.  geometric architecture

I.M. Pei

26th April 1917 U.S. Pennsylvania University School of Architecture John F Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston 1983, he received the Pritzker Prize Awards geometric forms with an influx in Chinese elements

Walter Gropius

Walter Gropius


18th May 1883 architecture in technical colleges , Groupies House Massachusetts and pan are Building New York.


AIA gold medal in 1959 gothic and rebirth architectural style

Top American architects, famous architects, popular architects of all time, Nethouseplans

Louis Kahn

Louis Kahn


20th February 1901 University of Pennsylvania Yale University Art Gallery AIA Gold Medal avant-garde
8  Top American architects, famous architects, popular architects of all time, Nethouseplans Neri Oxman


6th February 1976. Massachusett Institute of Technology the Silk Pavilion Vilcek Prize in 2008 computation, fabrication and digital materials

Top American architects, famous architects, popular architects of all time, Nethouseplans

Christopher Alexander

Christopher Alexander


4th October 1936 trinity college, Cambridge Linz Café,Austria 1972 he won the AIA Gold Medal the border form of art

Top American architects, famous architects, popular architects of all time, Nethouseplans

Louis Sullivan

Louis Sullivan


3rd September 1856 Massachusetts Institute of technology and beaux-arts in Paris. The Mausoleum Gold Medal by the American Institute of Architects in 1844 The use of ornamentations and the semicircular arch designs
Top American architects, famous architects, popular architects of all time, Nethouseplans

Maya Lin

Maya Lin


5th October 1959. Yale University Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington. DC American Institute Of Architects Gold Medal Award in 2005. natural components such as environmental feature
Top American architects, famous architects, popular architects of all time, Nethouseplans

Henry Hobson Richardson

Henry Hobson Richardson


29th September 1838 Harvard University Trinity Church in Boston Gothic styles and simple contour with horizontal lines.
Top American architects, famous architects, popular architects of all time, Nethouseplans

Robert Stern

Robert Stern


23rd May 1939 the University of Yale  New York City’s New Classical 15 Central Park West  Driehaus Architecture Prize in 2011 new classical architecture


  1. Frank Llyod Wright

Frank Wright is one of the notable famous architects in the world today. Architect Wright was an American, born in Richland’s center, Wisconsin on 8th June 1867. He attended Madison High School and later graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  Wright got motivated into architecture when he assisted Joseph Silsbee with the building of the Unity Chapel.

Frank Wight was not just an architect but also an interior designer. Architect Frank had over the years designed several high profile buildings. Such as schools, museums, offices, hotels, churches, and skyscrapers.  He is best remembered by his innovative design which captures nature, the environment and humanity. The talented architect still lived on to produce outstanding buildings which include: The Falling water, Solomon R.Guggenheim Museum amongst others. The brilliant architect also won for himself, the AIA Gold Medals in 1941, and in 1953 he received the Franklin Institute Frank P. Brown Medal. The legendary architect died on 9th April 1959 in Phoenix in Wisconsin at age 91.


  1. Philip Johnson.

Philip Johnson his a renowned American architect born in Cleveland on 8th July 1906. He studied architecture at Harvard school of design. Architect Johnson adopted a postmodern approach in his architectural designs. He made a difference in his style of designs which is literally, glass, steel, and crystal. His immense contributions to architecture made him popular and also won him awards. Also, at some point in his career, he collaborated with famous architect Mies Van der Rohe and John Burgee. He was honored in 1978 with the AIA gold medal awards and the Pritzker architectural prize in 1978. Philip Johnson’s indelible designs include: The Glass House, the Crystal Cathedral, the Seagram building in New York City, amongst others famous architect Philip Johnson closed his eyes to death on 25th January 2005 at New Canaan, Connecticut.


  1. Frank Owen Gehry

Frank Gehry another incredible American architect was born in Toronto, Ontario Canada on 28th February 1929. His architectural career started at Southern California University. His inspiration in architecture came from childhood, as he often imagined and constructed buildings from wears in his home. Frank Gehry style of design can be described as out of the ordinary, but with bold modern features. Furthermore, in 1956 Frank relocated to California where he went into furniture designs and learned on Easy Edges. This knowledge he used in renovating his home in Santa Monica. However, his interest in architecture made him famous, and he was honored with some awards. In 1989 he was awarded the prestigious Pritzker Prize for Architecture. Also, in 1999 he was honored with a Gold Medal from the American Institute of Architects. Thereafter in 2003, he was given the title The Campion of the Order of Canada. His designs are outstanding, and they include EMP Museum in Seattle, Washington, and Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain.

  1. Richard Meier

Richard Meier is an American architect born in Newark, New Jersey on 12th October 1934. Richards’s Meier s choice of style is geometric architecture. His work set the pace for a new design in the 1980s with his introduction of the principles of classic modernist architecture. Richard Meier is highly placed in his group called the New York five. Members of his prodigious group include Charles Gwathmey, John Hejduk, Peter Eisenman, and Michael Graves. His immense contributions in architecture have made him receive the Gold Medal from the American Institute Of Architects. He also received the Praemium Imperiale from the Japan Art Association. Some of his finest designs are the Museum Of Decorative Arts in Frankfurt, Germany, The Museum of Contemporary Art in Barcelona, Spain. Furthermore, Atheneum in New Harmony, Indiana, U.S and Getty Center in Los Angeles.

  1. I.M. Pei

Architect I. M. Pei is an American by nationality. He was born in Suzhou, China in 26th April 1917. Architect Pei is popularly regarded as the father of modern architecture. Pei has designed most of the outstanding buildings in the world today with his skills in geometrics architecture. He studied architecture at the U.S. Pennsylvania University School of Architecture. Pei is a unique and creative architect that has changed the norms in architecture through his incredible designs. Some of his indelible masterpieces can be seen in Washington D.C, Hong Kong, Paris, Dallas, and New York City. His contributions to architecture are undeniable; as such, he received the following awards as evidence for incredible works. In 1979, he received both the gold medal for the architecture of the American Academy of Arts and letters and AIA Awards. Similarly, in 1983, he received the Pritzker Prize Awards, and in 2003 he got the lifetime achievement Award from the Smithsonian Institutes Cooper Hewitt National Des. His undeniable masterpieces are the Bank of China Tower in Hong Kong, John F Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston. Furthermore, the National Gallery of Arts in Washington D.C, Dallas City Hall, and the Louvre.

  1. Walter Gropius

Walter Gropius was a German American born in Berlin, Germany on 18th May 1883. He studied architecture in technical colleges, both in Munich and Berlin. Architect Walter is one among the founders of modern day architecture. His approach to architectural designs is gothic and rebirth architectural style. He instituted the Bauhaus Design School in Weimar. Over time the school was known for its outstanding art and architecture. Walter’s goal was hinged on creating a modern building that would suit the needs of the modern day. However, he achieved his goals as is creative designs stood out and won him the AIA gold medal in 1959. His designs include: John Kennedy Federal Office Building, Boston, Groupies House Massachusetts and pan am Building New York.

  1. Louis Kahn

Louis Kahn is one of the renowned architects of his time. He was born on 20th February 1901. He gained his architectural skills from the University of Pennsylvania, and later become a professor at Yale school of design. Kahn adopted several styles and designs, and most of them were extremely avant-garde. Kahn affected his world positively through architecture and received several awards. One of such awards is the prestigious AIA Gold Medal. Some of his designs are Yale University Art Gallery, The Salk Institute, The urban Traffic Study and The Indian Institute of Management Ahmadabad. Architect Louis Kahn died in New York City on 17th March 1974.

  1. Neri Oxman

Neri Oxman is an American Israeli architect and professor. She was born in Haifa Israel on 6th February 1976. She graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of technology. Architect Neri choice of design is material ecology, which captures computation, fabrication and digital materials. She is currently the associate professor of media arts and sciences at the MIT media lab. Her innovation in architecture and design won her several awards such as the Vilcek Prize and Earth Awards in 2014 and 2008 respectively. Some of her innovations are the Silk Pavilion, Imaginary Beings, Ocean Pavilion, Synthetic Apiary, and the Wanderers Collection.

  1. Christopher Alexander

Architect Christopher is an Austrian American born in Vienna, Austria on 4th October 1936. He attended Trinity College, Cambridge. His design focuses on the border form of art.  Architect Christopher believes the best way to improve human life and cities are innovative architectural creations. Alexander achieved this in his designs as it gives the user a sense of physiological connection, which makes his designs notable. In 1972 he won the first gold medal for research, by the American Institute Of Architects. His innovations include Linz Café, Austria, Emoto Apartment Building, Tokyo, Julian Street Inn, California, amongst others.

  1. Louis Sullivan

Architect Louis Sullivan also was known as the father of skyscrapers, was born in Boston on 3rd September 1856. He studied both at the Massachusetts Institute of technology and beaux-arts in Paris. Sullivan made history with his high rise innovative creations and the use of ornamentations and the semicircular arch designs. In the course of his career, he partners with Dankman Adler and together they made great buildings.  Sullivan contributions to architecture were honored with a Gold Medal by the American Institute of Architects in 1844. His designs include The Auditorium Building in Chicago, The Wainwright Tomb, and The Mausoleum. Architect Sullivan died in Chicago on 14th of April 1924.

  1. Maya Lin

Maya Lin is an American architect and designer by birth. She was born in Athens, Ohio in 5th October 1959. Maya attended Yale University where she studied architecture. Mayas style and designs are born out of natural components such as environmental feature. In an attempt to make more impact on humanity, she also ventured into glass sculptures and art installation. Her indelible contributions to architecture were recognized with several awards. In 2005, she received the prestigious American Institute Of Architects Gold Medal Award, among others. One of her masterpiece that raised her to stardom is the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington. DC. Also, she built The Civil Rights Movement building.

  1. Henry Hobson Richardson

Henry Hobson Richardson was one of the famous American architects in the 19th century. He was born on 29th September 1838. He studied architecture at Harvard University. His choice of designs reflects high Victorian gothic styles and simple contour wit horizontal lines. The nature of his buildings includes commercial buildings, libraries, educational buildings, residences and lots more. Some of our architectural set up include Trinity Church in Boston, Thomas Crane Public Library in Quincy, Massachusetts. Also, John J. Glessner House in Chicago and Old Colony Railway Station in North Easton, Massachusetts. Architect Richardson died in Brookline on 27th April 1886.

  1. Robert Stern

Robert Stern is another renowned American architect born in 23rd May 1939.  He studied architecture from the University of Yale in 1965. Architect stern was motivated into architecture by the likes of Vincent Scully and Philip Johnson. Stern mode of designs is new modernity and new classical architecture. He’s also described as a modern traditionalist, and presently, the Dean of Yale School of Architecture.  In 2011 he received the Driehaus Architecture Prize for his immense achievements in architecture. His designs of valor include New York City’s New Classical 15 Central Park West. Also, the late Modern Comcast Center Skyscraper in Philadelphia.


An architectural profession like most professions is unending as long as the earth exists. In the course of this article, we have seen American architects who have changed the world’s view as it concerns designs.  Their choice of designs and application sets them apart from other architects around the world.  These architects didn’t just make a name for themselves but also, set the pace for prospective architects.  Their tremendous architectural achievements live on even after their death. These famous architects would forever be remembered for their undeniable contributions to humanity.

Acknowledgements: Images by Wikipedia.


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