MArch, Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Columbia University; Bachelor of Environmental Design, North Carolina State University
Robert McCarter is a practicing architect, professor of architecture, and author. He is the Ruth and Norman Moore Professor of Architecture at the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, Washington University in St. Louis. From 1991-2007, he was professor of architecture, and for ten years he was director of the School of Architecture, both at the University of Florida. From 1986-1991, he was associate professor and assistant dean at the Graduate School of Architecture, Columbia University, New York. He was appointed as the Frederic Lindley Morgan Distinguished Professor of Architectural Design at the University of Louisville; he has taught as visiting studio critic at North Carolina State University; and he has been appointed as a Visiting Scholar at the American Academy in Rome on three occasions. During his 26 years in academia, including 17 years in leadership roles at three institutions, McCarter has taught at least one design studio every semester, and he has taught more than 1,250 students.
McCarter has practiced architecture continuously since he began his internship in 1977, and has been a licensed architect since 1982. From 1991-2007, he was president of D-Mc2 Architecture, P. A., in Tioga, Florida, during which time his firm had twelve buildings constructed to their designs. He has his own architectural practice in St. Louis, Robert McCarter, Architect, and he is currently involved, in association with Alfonso Architects of Tampa, Florida, in the renovation of Le Corbusier's Atelier and Apartment, and the garage conversion of Alvar Aalto's Maison Louis Carre, both in Paris, France.
McCarter is the author of Wiel Arets: Autobiographical References (Birkhauser, 2012); Understanding Architecture: A Primer on Architecture as Experience, with Juhani Pallasmaa (Phaidon, 2012); Frank Lloyd Wright: Critical Lives (Reaktion Books, London, 2006), translated into four languages; Louis I. Kahn (Phaidon Press, London, 2005); On and By Frank Lloyd Wright: A Primer of Architectural Principles (Phaidon Press, London, 2005); William Morgan: Selected and Current Works (Images Press, Sydney, 2002); Frank Lloyd Wright (Phaidon Press, London, 1997); Unity Temple: Frank Lloyd Wright (Phaidon Press, London, 1997); and Fallingwater: Frank Lloyd Wright (Phaidon Press, London, 1994). Currently at press are the following books he authored: Alvar Aalto: Art & Ideas (Phaidon Press), Carlo Scarpa (Phaidon Press), and Aldo van Eyck (Yale University Press). He is currently under contract for the books Marcel Breuer (Phaidon), On and By Louis Kahn: A Primer on Architectural Principles, with Michael Merrill (Phaidon), Marcel Breuer: Koerfer House, with Michael Merrill (Phaidon), and Interiority: The Primacy of Interior Spatial Experience in Architecture (Reaktion Books). He is also currently working on monographs on a number of contemporary architects as well as a study of the relationship between painting and architecture from 1900 to today. He edited and contributed essays to Frank Lloyd Wright: A Primer on Architectural Principles (Princeton Architectural Press, New York, 1991), Constructions: Studio Work from the University of Florida (University of Florida, Gainesville, 1993), ABSTRACT 1987-88, 1988-89, 1989-90, 1990-91 (Columbia University, New York, 1987-91), and Building: Machines – Pamphlet Architecture 12 (Princeton Architectural Press, New York, 1987).
McCarter has contributed articles and chapters to numerous professional and scholarly publications, including The Encyclopedia of 20th Century Architecture; The Oxford Companion to United States History; The Great Builders; The Oxford Encyclopedia of Aesthetics; L'architrave, le plancher, la plate-bande; A New History of Construction, Volume II; 50 Key Thinkers on the Environment; The Limits of Form: Enrique Norten TEN Arquitectos; A Living Tradition: KPF Arkitekter; Common Places: Brian Healy; Dean-Wolf Architects: Constructive Continuum; Allied Works Architecture: Clyfford Still Museum; Wendell Burnette: Dialogues in Space; Ghost: Building an Architectural Vision; Archipelago: Essays on Architecture; Roma Razionalista: Roberto Caracciolo; Constructed Reality: The Architecture of Tanner Leddy Maytum Stacy; Concrete Places in a Landscape of Illusions: The Architecture of Donald Singer; Frank Lloyd Wright: Windows of the Darwin Martin House; Four Florida Moderns; Masters of Concrete; and to the professional and scholarly journals Ptah: Architecture Design Art (Finland); Global Architecture: Houses (Japan); Architektur & Bauforum (Austria); The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians; Progressive Architecture; The Senses and Society (Canada); Contract; Hise (Slovenia); Architecture Today (UK); Ehituskuust (Estonia); Theology Today; Architect's Bulletin (Slovenia); Progetti (Italy); and Concrete International, among others.
McCarter was selected as one of the "Ten Best Educators" in American schools of architecture in the education issue of Architect magazine, December 2009. Among other awards, two books by McCarter, Louis I. Kahn and On and By Frank Lloyd Wright, were finalists for the inaugural Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) International Book Awards, 2006; McCarter received the Rotch Foundation Traveling Studio Award in 2003 (one of only ten awarded nationally), with which he took a graduate studio to Finland; in 1989, he received a Graham Foundation Grant in support of his work on Frank Lloyd Wright; and he was awarded first prize in the SOM Traveling Fellowship National Design Competition in 1983.
As a practicing architect, professor, and author, Robert McCarter analyzes architecture as it is experienced by the inhabitant, with particular emphasis on the occupation of interior space, the methods and materials of construction, and their interrelationship. In the overwhelming majority of existing architectural studies, critical events in the history of architecture, and the buildings that embody them, have most often been scripted in stylistic or purely formal terms. Yet in order to make an appropriate and comprehensive analysis of architecture, another definition is required—a definition much less concerned with style and form, and much more concerned with the tradition of building and the making of places. In this understanding, architecture is concerned much less with what a building looks like, and much more with how its spaces are ordered, with how it is built, and how these affect what is experienced by those who inhabit it. It is this comprehensive analysis of the experience of inhabitation, and of the design process that leads to its realization in architecture—the beginning and the end of architectural design—that has been the focus of McCarter's teaching, research, and scholarly publications.