Famous American Architects

Have you ever passed by a building or a bridge that has a charm of its own? Though it is essentially made of the same brick, stone and cement just as any other building, what makes it different from the rest is its architectural beauty. Architecture in itself today is a multicultural society that has a rich eclectic and innovative tradition to it. What’s more, they are the reflection of the historic past and the contemporary present. The Pyramids of Giza or the Golden Pavilion of Japan or even Taj Mahal of India are few of the most notable early constructions and architectural wonders. What gives them the edge over others is their instant recognition. Architectural marvels are known thus for their ingenious design, cutting-edge innovation and pioneering work of art. America has been home to such innovative and pioneering architects who have added iconic buildings to the world landscape. Be it Frank Llyod Wright and his prairie-styled buildings such as Guggenheim Museum and Fallingwater residence, or Philip Johnson and his forward thinking architectural style in the form of Crystal Cathedral and Seagram building, each of them and many more have created some of the most dynamic, recognizable landmarks and distinctive buildings in and out of America. With this write-up, learn about famous American architects and their life and works.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 

Frank Lloyd Wright
8
Birthdate: June 8, 1867
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Richland Center, Wisconsin, United States
Died: April 9, 1959

Frank Lloyd Wright was an American architect who designed over 1,000 structures in a career spanning 70 years. A pioneer of organic architecture, Wright influenced three generations of architects by playing a critical role in the 20th century's architectural movements. His structure Fallingwater is called America's best architectural work and Wright is considered the greatest architect America has ever produced.

 2 
Frank Gehry
(Architect)

Frank Gehry
4
Birthdate: February 28, 1929
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Toronto, Canada
Canadian-born American architect and designer Frank Gehry is best known for designing the Guggenheim Museum in Spain, the Louis Vuitton Foundation in France, and the Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, U.S. He has won countless awards, such as the Pritzker Architecture Prize and the Praemium Imperiale.

 3 

Buckminster Fuller
5
Birthdate: July 12, 1895
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Milton, Massachusetts, United States
Died: July 1, 1983

Buckminster Fuller was an American systems theorist, architect, designer, inventor, author, and futurist. He is credited with popularizing the geodesic dome, which resembles carbon molecules known as fullerenes. Fullerenes were named after Fuller for their resemblance to geodesic spheres. Fuller's work has influenced several personalities from different walks of life. His work has also inspired a couple of documentary films.

 4 
I. M. Pei
(Architect)

I. M. Pei
6
Birthdate: April 26, 1917
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Guangzhou, China
Died: May 16, 2019

I. M. Pei was a Chinese-American architect who drew inspiration from the garden villas at Suzhou when he was young. He is credited with founding I. M. Pei & Associates, an independent design firm, in 1955. Today, the award-winning firm is known by the name, Pei Cobb Freed & Partners. Pei is known for designing structures like the Mesa Laboratory.

 5 

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
6
Birthdate: March 27, 1886
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Aachen, Germany
Died: August 17, 1969

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was a German-American architect. He is widely considered one of the many pioneers of modernist architecture. After emigrating to the United States, Mies worked on structures like the Promontory Apartments. He is best remembered for serving as the director of a popular German art school named the Bauhaus before its closure in 1933.

 6 
Eero Saarinen
(Architect)

Eero Saarinen
4
Birthdate: August 20, 1910
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Kirkkonummi, Finland
Died: September 1, 1961

Eero Saarinen was a Finnish-American industrial designer and architect best remembered for his impressive designs for monuments and buildings. He is credited with designing important structures, such as the Washington Dulles International Airport, the TWA Flight Center, and the Gateway Arch. He is widely regarded as one of the 20th-century's most prominent American architectures.

 7 
Louis Kahn
(Architect)

Louis Kahn
4
Birthdate: February 20, 1901
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Kuressaare, Governorate of Estonia, Russian Empire
Died: March 17, 1974

Louis Kahn was an American architect who is credited with creating a style that was monolithic and monumental. Regarded as one of the 20th century's most influential architects, Kahn served as a professor at Yale School of Architecture and at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Design. His life and career inspired a documentary titled My Architect: A Son's Journey.

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 8 
Philip Johnson
(Architect)

Philip Johnson
4
Birthdate: July 8, 1906
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Cleveland
Died: January 25, 2005

Philip Johnson was an American architect who organized the Modern architecture's first exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in 1932. A highly influential and respected architect, Johnson was honored with the prestigious AIA Gold Medal in 1978. The following year, he was honored with the first Pritzker Architecture Prize.

 9 
Walter Gropius
(Architect)

Walter Gropius
6
Birthdate: May 18, 1883
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany
Died: July 5, 1969

Walter Gropius was a German architect. Along with Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Alvar Aalto, and Frank Lloyd Wright, he is regarded as a pioneer in modernist architecture. Gropius founded the Bauhaus School. The large-scale housing projects he designed in Berlin, Karlsruhe, and Dessau in the late 1920s and early 1930s became major contributions to the New Objectivity movement.  

 10 
Louis Sullivan
(Pioneering Architect)

Louis Sullivan
4
Birthdate: September 3, 1856
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Boston
Died: April 14, 1924

Louis Sullivan was an architect who became only the second person to be honored with a posthumous AIA Gold Medal. Dubbed the father of modernism and the father of skyscrapers, Sullivan contributed immensely to the Chicago School of architecture. He is also credited with mentoring Frank Lloyd Wright who went on to become a respected architect in his own right.

 11 
Frederick Law Olmsted
(Landscape Architect)

Frederick Law Olmsted
4
Birthdate: April 26, 1822
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Hartford
Died: August 28, 1903

Frederick Law Olmsted was an American journalist, landscape architect, public administrator, and social critic. Dubbed the father of American landscape architecture, Frederick was responsible for co-designing several well-known urban parks including Walnut Hill Park, Prospect Park, Cadwalader Park, and Central Park. He is also remembered for his work on the landscape encircling the US Capitol building.

 12 
Fazlur Rahman Khan
(Structural engineer)

Fazlur Rahman Khan
4
Birthdate: April 3, 1929
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Dhaka, Bangladesh
Died: March 27, 1982

Fazlur Rahman Khan was a Bangladeshi-American architect and structural engineer. Regarded as the father of tubular designs, Khan is credited with designing several skyscrapers, including the Willis Tower and the John Hancock Center. Thanks to his ingenious use of structural systems, Khan is often referred to as the 20th century's greatest structural engineer and the Einstein of structural engineering.

 13 
Neri Oxman
(Architect)

Neri Oxman
6
Birthdate: February 6, 1976
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Haifa

Neri Oxman is an American-Israeli designer best known for combining design, computing, biology, and materials engineering into art and architecture. She also serves as a professor at the MIT Media Lab, leading the Mediated Matter research group. Praised as one of the modern-time greats, Oxman was included in ICON's 20 Most Influential Architects to Shape Our Future list in 2009.

 14 
Daniel Burnham
(Architect, Urban Designer)

Daniel Burnham
5
Birthdate: September 4, 1846
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Henderson
Died: June 1, 1912

American architect Daniel Burnham was one of the pioneering designers of the skyscrapers that populate cities such as Chicago. Part of the Beaux-Arts movement, he had been the director of the World’s Columbian Exposition. He also formed his own firm, Burnham & Root with John Wellborn Root.

 15 
Nancy Allen
(Actress)

Nancy Allen
7
Birthdate: June 24, 1950
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: The Bronx, New York City, United States

Nancy Allen is an American actress who is regarded as the muse of director Brian De Palma; she appeared in several of De Palma's films throughout the 1970s and the early-1980s. In addition to acting, Allen also dedicates her time to cancer support. She works closely with the weSPARK Cancer Support Center, where she was named executive director in 2010.   

 16 
Stanford White
(Architect, Painter)

Stanford White
4
Birthdate: November 9, 1853
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: New York City
Died: June 25, 1906

Stanford White was an American architect who designed several important monuments including the Washington Square Arch. He also helped construct Nikola Tesla's Wardenclyffe Tower, which happens to be his last design. Although White was an influential and prominent designer of his time, he is best remembered for his illicit relationship with Evelyn Nesbit which has inspired several works of art.

 17 
Robert Moses
(Architect, Urban planner)

Robert Moses
4
Birthdate: December 18, 1888
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: New Haven, Connecticut, United States
Died: July 2, 1981

Robert Moses was an American public official. Often referred to as the master builder, Moses is credited with influencing the creation of the modern suburbs of Long Island, which in turn influenced a generation of urban planners, architects, and engineers. Robert Moses is widely regarded as one of the most polarizing personalities in urban development history in the US.

 18 
Maya Lin
(Designer)

Maya Lin
7
Birthdate: October 5, 1959
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Athens

Maya Lin is an American sculptor and designer whose competition-winning design for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial earned her national recognition when she was still an undergraduate. Her life and career inspired an Oscar-winning documentary titled Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision. Maya Lin has won prestigious awards, such as the National Medal of Arts and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

 19 
Robert Venturi
(Architect)

Robert Venturi
3
Birthdate: June 25, 1925
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: September 18, 2018

Robert Venturi was an American architect who founded the successful architectural firm, Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates. One of the 20th century's leading architectural figures, Venturi helped shape the way that students, planners, and architects think about architecture. Renowned for designing buildings like the Vanna Venturi House, Robert Venturi was honored with the prestigious National Medal of Arts in 1992.

 20 
Daniel Libeskind
(Architect, Musician, University teacher)

Daniel Libeskind
4
Birthdate: May 12, 1946
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Łódź

Daniel Libeskind had initially moved to New York on a music scholarship. However, he later deviated to architecture and also taught for a while. One of his most celebrated designs is the Jewish Museum in Berlin. He also won a contest for a proposed design for rebuilding the World Trade Center.

 21 
Richard Meier
(Architect & Abstract Artist)

Richard Meier
3
Birthdate: October 12, 1934
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Newark, New Jersey, U.S.

Richard Meier is an American architect and abstract artist who is credited with designing many iconic buildings, such as the San Jose City Hall, the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Getty Center, Los Angeles. Over the years Richard Meier has won several prestigious awards like the Pritzker Prize and the American Academy of Achievement's Golden Plate Award.

 22 
Minoru Yamasaki
(Architect, best known for designing the original World Trade Center in New York City)

Minoru Yamasaki
4
Birthdate: December 1, 1912
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Seattle, Washington, United States
Died: February 7, 1986

Architect Minoru Yamasaki was known for his signature style that was far removed from austerity of modern architecture. He is best remembered for designing New York’s famed World Trade Center, or the Twin Towers, destroyed later in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He had previously worked as a draftsman and an engineer.

 23 
Donald Judd
(Artist, Architect, Sculptor, Painter)

Donald Judd
6
Birthdate: June 3, 1928
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Excelsior Springs
Died: February 12, 1994

Donald Judd was an American artist widely regarded as one of the most prominent international exponents of minimalism. He is credited with founding a contemporary art museum named Chinati Foundation which houses the collection of popular artists like Carl Andre, Ilya Kabakov, Richard Long, and John Wesley. Judd also contributed as a teacher at many academic institutions in the USA.

 24 
Barnett Newman
(Painter, Sculptor, Visual artist, Architect)

Barnett Newman
4
Birthdate: January 29, 1905
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: New York City
Died: July 4, 1970

Barnett Newman was an American artist widely regarded as one of the most prominent figures in abstract expressionism. Although his work was unappreciated for much of his life, it served as a major influence on several younger artists like Bob Law, Frank Stella, and Donald Judd.

 25 

Mary Richardson Kennedy
4
Birthdate: 1960 AD
Birthplace: Bayonne, New Jersey, United States
Died: May 16, 2012

Mary Richardson Kennedy, who was married to Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., the brother of Kerry Kennedy, was associated with green building practices and food allergy research in the U.S. She made headlines with her suicide in 2012. She was apparently found hanging in the garage of her Bedford home.

 26 
Julia Morgan
(Architect)

Julia Morgan
3
Birthdate: January 20, 1872
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: San Francisco
Died: February 2, 1957

Julia Morgan was an American engineer and architect who is credited with designing over 700 buildings in California. She was the first woman to study at the Beaux-Arts de Paris and the first woman to be honored with the AIA Gold Medal, which was conferred upon her posthumously. She also received a posthumous induction into the California Hall of Fame.

 27 
Lewis Mumford
(Architect, Historian of technology, Historian, Sociologist, Screenwriter, Literary critic, Philosopher, Journalist)

Lewis Mumford
4
Birthdate: October 19, 1895
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New York City
Died: January 26, 1990

Lewis Mumford was an American sociologist, historian, literary critic, and philosopher of technology. He made significant contributions to American literary and cultural history, social philosophy, and the history of technology. His works also influenced a number of thinkers and authors like Jacques Ellul and Amory Lovins. Lewis Mumford also had a strong influence on American cellular biologist Barry Commoner.

 28 
David Childs
(architect)

David Childs
3
Birthdate: April 1, 1941
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Princeton

Architect and chairman of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, David Childs is best known as the designer of the One World Trade Center in New York. While he initially studied zoology, he later deviated to architecture. His projects also include the Changi Airport in Singapore and the National Geographic headquarters.

 29 

Pierre Charles L'Enfant
4
Birthdate: August 2, 1754
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: June 14, 1825
Born to a famous French painter in Paris, Pierre Charles L'Enfant later joined the rebels in American Revolutionary War. While working as a military engineer in the U.S., he changed his name from Pierre to Peter. He was hired by George Washington to design the L'Enfant Plan for establishing Washington D.C.

 30 
Rachel Lambert Mellon
(Art collector)

Rachel Lambert Mellon
3
Birthdate: August 9, 1910
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Princeton
Died: March 17, 2014

Horticulturalist Rachel Lambert Mellon, or Bunny Mellon, is best remembered for designing the White House Rose Garden. She was the wife of banking heir and philanthropist Paul Mellon. Apart from several apartments, she also owned a huge collection of paintings and artifacts, which fetched $158.7 million at a Sotheby's auction.

 31 
James Hoban
(Architect, best known for designing the White House in Washington, D.C)

James Hoban
3
Birthdate: 1755 AD
Birthplace: Callan, County Kilkenny, Ireland
Died: December 8, 1831

 32 
Edmund Norwood Bacon
(Urban Planner)

Edmund Norwood Bacon
4
Birthdate: May 2, 1910
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Pennsylvania, United States
Died: October 14, 2005
Architect Edmund Norwood Bacon initially worked as a designer in Shanghai. He then joined Philadelphia Housing and worked with architects such as Louis I. Kahn in giving shape to the Better Philadelphia Exhibit and designing the major landmarks of Philadelphia. He is the father of actor Kevin Bacon.

 33 

Christopher Alexander
3
Birthdate: October 4, 1936
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria

Christopher Alexander is a British-American design theorist and architect whose theories have had influences on several fields, such as sociology, software, and urban design among others. An influential personality, Christopher Alexander's works have contributed immensely to the development of the technology behind Wikipedia and agile software development. He is also known for his 1977 influential book A Pattern Language.

 34 
Dara Huang
(Founded the architecture and design firm Design Haus Liberty)

Dara Huang
0
Birthdate: 1983 AD
Birthplace: United States

 35 
Adrian Smith
(Architect)

Adrian Smith
0
Birthdate: August 19, 1944
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States

 36 
Steven Holl
(Architect, University teacher)

Steven Holl
3
Birthdate: December 9, 1947
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Bremerton

Steven Holl drew on phenomenology for his architectural designs. The Alvar Aalto Medal-winning architect has built museums, commercial buildings, and residential complexes across the world, most notably the Linked Hybrid in China, the renovated American Memorial Library in Berlin, and a horizontal skyscraper in Shenzhen, named the Vanke Centre.

 37 
Robert Trent Jones
(Golf course Architect)

Robert Trent Jones
3
Birthdate: June 20, 1906
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Ince-in-Makerfield, United Kingdom
Died: June 14, 2000

Robert Trent Jones had designed more than 250 golf courses across 40 countries. Born in England, he moved to the U.S. and later worked as a caddie. He began by designing the golf course at Cornell, his alma, and his name is now a trademark in the golf circuit.

 38 
Jed Johnson
(film director, film editor, cinematographer, interior designer)

Jed Johnson
4
Birthdate: December 30, 1948
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Alexandria
Died: July 17, 1996

Initially a sweeper at Andy Warhol's Factory, Jed Johnson later also edited some of Warhol’s films. He later drifted to interior designing and partnered with fellow architect Alan Wanzenberg on many designs. He died at 47, when a Trans World Airlines flight he was traveling in, crashed.

 39 
Jeanne Gang
(architect)

Jeanne Gang
3
Birthdate: March 19, 1964
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Belvidere

American architect and the founder of Studio Gang Architects, Jeanne Gang is best known for her sustainable designs. The Aqua Tower in Chicago was designed by her and thus became the tallest building ever designed by a woman. She has also penned books such as Reverse Effect.

 40 
Michael Graves
(Architect)

Michael Graves
3
Birthdate: July 9, 1934
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
Died: March 12, 2015

Michael Graves was an American architect, educator, and designer. He is credited with influencing many architectural movements, such as Postmodernism, New Classicism, and New Urbanism. Recognized as one of America's most prolific and prominent architects of the 20th century, Michael Graves was honored with several prestigious awards including the National Medal of Arts and the AIA Gold Medal.

 41 
Richard Neutra
(Architect)

Richard Neutra
3
Birthdate: April 8, 1892
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: April 16, 1970

Born into an affluent Austro-Hungarian family, Richard Neutra later moved to the U.S. Best known for imparting the International Style in American architecture, he had previously worked on an award-winning project in Palestine. He created iconic buildings such as the Lovell House and also penned books such as Survival Through Design.

 42 
Lloyd Wright
(Architect)

Lloyd Wright
3
Birthdate: March 31, 1890
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Oak Park, Illinois, United States
Died: May 31, 1978

American architect Lloyd Wright is best remembered for his Prairie style of architecture predominant in the 20th-century American residential buildings. A proponent of organic architecture, he also delivered talks on architecture. He made headlines when a staff set fire to his Taliesin studio and murdered seven people.

 43 

Denise Scott Brown
3
Birthdate: October 3, 1931
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Nkana
Though Denise Scott Brown had mostly been known as the wife of postmodern architect Robert Venturi, she too was a talented architect. She also taught at UCLA and Yale. After Robert Venturi was announced as the winner of the 1991 Pritzker Architecture Prize, Denise snubbed the award ceremony in protest.

 44 

Richard Morris Hunt
3
Birthdate: October 31, 1827
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Brattleboro, Vermont, United States
Died: July 31, 1895

Architect Richard Morris Hunt is largely credited with bringing in the French Beaux-Arts style to the U.S. He was also a major force behind the formation of the American Institute of Architects. His creations include the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s façade and the Statue of Liberty’s pedestal.

 45 
Peter Eisenman
(Architect, University teacher)

Peter Eisenman
3
Birthdate: August 11, 1932
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Newark

One of the New York Five group of architects, Peter Eisenman heads Eisenman Architects and has designed urban projects. He has also taught at institutes such as Harvard and Princeton, and has penned books such as Eisenman: Inside Out. His creations include the City of Culture of Galicia.

 46 
Thom Mayne
(Architect who helped establish the Southern California Institute of Architecture in 1971)

Thom Mayne
3
Birthdate: January 19, 1944
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Waterbury, Connecticut, United States

Pritzker Prize-winning architect Thom Mayne had a major role behind the formation of the Southern California Institute of Architecture. He also taught at UCLA and the California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. He later co-established his own firm, Morphosis Architects, which fellow architect Michael Rotondi joined later.

 47 

Albert Kahn (Architect)
3
Birthdate: March 21, 1869
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Rhaunen, Germany
Died: December 8, 1942

Foremost industrial architect and planner of his time, Albert Kahn began his career as an apprentice under a leading Michigan architect. Having little schooling, he mostly learned on the job, eventually establishing his own company, designing most of the large automobile companies in USA, including the Ford River Rouge automobile complex.  Working abroad, he also designed 521 factories in  U.S.S.R.

 48 
Massimo Vignelli
(Graphic designer, Architect, University teacher)

Massimo Vignelli
3
Birthdate: January 10, 1931
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Milan
Died: May 27, 2014
Italian designer and co-founder of Vignelli Associates, Massimo Vignelli had designed everything from dinnerware to furniture. Known for experimenting with geometric shapes, he also had a long association with Unimark. His own home interiors had been designed by him. He had also designed the New York City subway map.

 49 
Nicholas Negroponte
(Computer scientist, Architect, Investor, University teacher)

Nicholas Negroponte
3
Birthdate: December 1, 1943
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: New York City

Computer scientist and architect Nicholas Negroponte founded the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Laboratory and the non-profit One Laptop per Child. Born into an affluent Greek family, he was educated at MIT and later taught at both MIT and Yale. He also penned the bestseller Being Digital.

 50 
Dan Flavin
(Minimalist Artist Famous for Creating Sculptural Objects & Installations from Fluorescent Light Fixtures)

Dan Flavin
3
Birthdate: April 1, 1933
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Jamaica, New York, United States
Died: November 29, 1996
American minimalist artist, Dan Flavin was a leading exponent of Minimalist art and his works offered formal and conceptual investigation of space and light. He was famous for creating sculptural objects and installations by arranging commercial fluorescent bulbs into differing geometric compositions. Today, his works are displayed in the Art Institute of Chicago, Dia: Beacon in New York, among others.