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

Frank Lloyd Wright
Famous As: Architect
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 Buckminster Fuller

Buckminster Fuller
Famous As: Architect
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.

 3 Louis Kahn

Louis Kahn
Famous As: Architect
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.

 4 Philip Johnson

Philip Johnson
Famous As: Architect
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.

 5 Louis Sullivan

Louis Sullivan
Famous As: Pioneering Architect
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.

 6 Daniel Burnham

Daniel Burnham
Famous As: Architect, Urban Designer
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.

 7 Frederick Law Olmsted

Frederick Law Olmsted
Famous As: Landscape Architect
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.

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 8 Neri Oxman

Neri Oxman
Famous As: Architect
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.

 9 Yahya Abdul-Mateen II

Yahya Abdul-Mateen II
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: July 15, 1986
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

Yahya Abdul-Mateen II is an American actor best known for playing Black Manta in the 2018 superhero film Aquaman. He is also renowned for portraying Doctor Manhattan in the superhero drama limited series Watchmen for which he was honored with the prestigious Primetime Emmy Award in September 2020.

 10 Nancy Allen

Nancy Allen
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: June 24, 1950
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: The Bronx, New York City, U.S.

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.   

 11 Robert Venturi

Robert Venturi
Famous As: Architect
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.

 12 Stanford White

Stanford White
Famous As: Architect, Painter
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.

 13 Maya Lin

Maya Lin
Famous As: Designer
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.

 14 Richard Meier

Richard Meier
Famous As: Architect & Abstract Artist
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.

 15 Minoru Yamasaki

Minoru Yamasaki
Famous As: Architect
Birthdate: December 1, 1912
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Seattle
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.

 16 Mary Richardson Kennedy

Mary Richardson Kennedy
Famous As: Architect
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.

 17 Barnett Newman

Barnett Newman
Famous As: Painter, Sculptor, Visual artist, Architect
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.

 18 David Childs

David Childs
Famous As: architect
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.

 19 Jed Johnson

Jed Johnson
Famous As: film director, film editor, cinematographer, interior designer
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.

 20 Robert Moses

Robert Moses
Famous As: Architect, Urban planner
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.

 21 Edmund Norwood Bacon

Edmund Norwood Bacon
Famous As: Urban Planner
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.

 22 Rachel Lambert Mellon

Rachel Lambert Mellon
Famous As: Art collector
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.

 23 Donald Judd

Donald Judd
Famous As: Artist, Architect, Sculptor, Painter
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 Christopher Alexander

Christopher Alexander
Famous As: Architect
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.

 25 Lewis Mumford

Lewis Mumford
Famous As: Architect, Historian of technology, Historian, Sociologist, Screenwriter, Literary critic, Philosopher, Journalist
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.

 26 Jeanne Gang

Jeanne Gang
Famous As: architect
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.

 27 Julia Morgan

Julia Morgan
Famous As: Architect
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.

 28 Steven Holl

Steven Holl
Famous As: Architect, University teacher
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.

 29 Adrian Smith

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

 30 Dara Huang

Dara Huang
Famous As: Founded the architecture and design firm Design Haus Liberty
Birthdate: 1983 AD
Birthplace: United States

 31 Michael Graves

Michael Graves
Famous As: Architect
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.

 32 Peter Eisenman

Peter Eisenman
Famous As: Architect, University teacher
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.

 33 Nicholas Negroponte

Nicholas Negroponte
Famous As: Computer scientist, Architect, Investor, University teacher
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.

 34 Richard Morris Hunt

Richard Morris Hunt
Famous As: Architect
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.

 35 Denise Scott Brown

Denise Scott Brown
Famous As: Architect
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.

 36 Thom Mayne

Thom Mayne
Famous As: Architect, University teacher
Birthdate: January 19, 1944
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Waterbury

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.

 37 Dan Flavin

Dan Flavin
Famous As: Artist, Sculptor, Architect
Birthdate: April 1, 1933
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New York City
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.

 38 Lloyd Wright

Lloyd Wright
Famous As: Architect
Birthdate: March 30, 1890
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Oak Park
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.

 39 Tom Kite

Tom Kite
Famous As: Golfer, Architect
Birthdate: December 9, 1949
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: McKinney, Texas, United States

Tom Kite is an American golfer who ranked among the top 10 in the world for 175 weeks between 1989 and 1994. Kite has won 19 PGA Tour events, including the 1992 U.S. Open. He has also won three European Tour events and 10 PGA Tour Champions. In 1979, Tom Kite was honored with the prestigious Bob Jones Award.

 40 Vito Acconci

Vito Acconci
Famous As: Architect
Birthdate: January 24, 1940
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: New York City

Vito Acconci was an American installation artist whose works had a profound influence on other popular artists like Karen Finley, Bruce Nauman, Laurie Anderson, and Tracey Emin. Acconci is credited with developing several public parks, artificial islands, airport rest areas, and other architectural projects across the United States.

 41 Elsie de Wolfe

Elsie de Wolfe
Famous As: Actor, Architect, Socialite
Birthdate: December 20, 1865
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: New York City
Died: July 12, 1950

One of the first female interior designers of her time, Elsie de Wolfe was largely known for her anti-Victorian elements in her designs. She was also a professional stage actor and had also launched her own theater company. Her works include the Colony Club, New York’s first women’s club.

 42 Helmut Jahn

Helmut Jahn
Famous As: Architect
Birthdate: January 4, 1940
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Nuremberg

German-American architect Helmut Jahn was a significant figure of postmodern movement and is remembered for his steel-and-glass structures. His best-known works include Thailand’s Suvarnabhumi Airport and Germany’s Munich Airport Center. A yachting enthusiast, he owned three yachts named after his nickname, Flash Gordon. He died in a bicycle accident.

 43 William Wesley Peters

William Wesley Peters
Famous As: Engineer, Architect
Birthdate: June 12, 1912
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Indiana
Died: July 17, 1991
After spending 2 years at MIT, William Wesley Peters joined Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin Fellowship, becoming his apprentice. He married Wright's step-daughter, Svetlana. He played a major role in designing the Guggenheim Museum and later chaired Taliesin Associated Architects. He also taught at the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture.

 44 Addison Mizner

Addison Mizner
Famous As: Architect
Birthdate: December 12, 1872
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Benicia
Died: February 5, 1933

Society Architect Addison Mizner is remembered for designing resorts and Palm Beach mansions for the rich. He developed much of Boca Raton and also designed structures such as the Everglades Club and John F. Kennedy's Winter White House. His designs remain archived at the Society of the Four Arts Library.

 45 Henry Hobson Richardson

Henry Hobson Richardson
Famous As: Architect
Birthdate: September 29, 1838
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Priestly Plantation, St. James Parish, Louisiana, U.S.
Died: April 27, 1886

Architect Henry Hobson Richardson is best remembered for introducing what later came to be known as Richardsonian Romanesque. The great-grandson of scientist Joseph Priestley, he was educated at Harvard. Initially an aspiring civil engineer, he later drifted to architecture. His works included libraries, commercial buildings, and the Trinity Church.

 46 Paul Rudolph

Paul Rudolph
Famous As: architect, university teacher
Birthdate: October 23, 1918
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Elkton
Died: August 8, 1997

Paul Rudolph was an American architect best known for his most popular work Yale Art and Architecture Building which is also known as the Rudolph Hall. Widely regarded as one of the pioneers of Sarasota Modern, Rudolph influenced many architects from the Sarasota School of Architecture.

 47 Gordon Bunshaft

Gordon Bunshaft
Famous As: Architect
Birthdate: May 9, 1909
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Buffalo
Died: August 6, 1990

Recipient of numerous awards and honors, architect Gordon Bunshaft is remembered for ushering in a new era dominated by Modernist skyscraper designs. As a partner and lead designer of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, he is credited with designing magnificent buildings like Lever House in New York, Manuscript Library at Yale University, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C. etc.

 48 Gustav Stickley

Gustav Stickley
Birthdate: March 9, 1858
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Osceola
Died: April 21, 1942

Furniture designer Gustav Stickley, best known for the Mission style of design, grew up on a farm and worked at his father’s stonemasonry. He was then apprenticed at his uncle’s Pennsylvania chair factory. He later launched the Craftsman Workshops and The Craftsman magazine and led the Arts and Crafts movement.

 49 Walter Burley Griffin

Walter Burley Griffin
Famous As: Architect, Landscape architect, Urban planner
Birthdate: November 24, 1876
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Maywood
Died: February 11, 1937

American architect Walter Burley Griffin is best known for designing cities such as Canberra, Griffith, and Leeton. His early projects were inspired by the Prairie house style. He is also believed to have developed the concept of the L-shaped floor plan. He died in India, while working on his commissions.

 50 John Wellborn Root

John Wellborn Root
Famous As: Architect
Birthdate: January 10, 1850
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Lumpkin, Georgia, United States
Died: January 15, 1891

One of the founders of Chicago school of commercial architecture, John Wellborn Root is remembered for his innovative techniques and aesthetic designs. As chief designing partner of Burnham and Root, he paved the way for modern day skyscrapers. He developed floating raft system to support tall buildings on Chicago's marshy soil. He designed National Historic Landmarks like Rookery Building and Monadnock Building.