Architects and Designers Born in June

Architect Birthdays in the Month of June

modest, boxy light-colored two-story building, arched windows, pyramid and hipped roofs
Touro Synagogue, 1763, in Newport, Rhode Island, Designed by Peter Harrison, Born June 14. Paula Lerner/Getty Images

Many of the world's most important builders and designers have June birthdays. The list is illustrious, including a high-tech British designer, a Spanish surrealist, a German-born immigrant who built an iconic bridge, and arguably the most famous architect in American history. If you believe in astrology, you might even suspect that something in the stars equips June-born infants with special creative powers. But, even if you think the shared birthdays are just coincidence, you'll enjoy exploring this list of June-born giants.

June 1

older white man in suit and tie, arms crossed, smiling
Architect Norman Foster at the 1993 Opening of the Carré d'Art, Nîmes, France. Pascal Parrot/Getty Images (cropped)

Lord Norman Foster (1935 - )
Born into a working class family, the 1999 Pritzker Prize-winning British architect Sir Norman Foster is best-known for modernist designs that explore technological shapes and space-age ideas — the Reichstag dome in Berlin; the "Gherkin" in London; Apple Headquarters in California's Silicon Valley. The Foster portfolio of projects shows an array of genuine high-tech designs, with a healthy dose of sustainability.

Toyo Ito (1941 - )
In 2013 Japanese architect Toyo Ito became the sixth Japanese architect to win the prestigious Pritzker Prize. His humanitarian work includes Home-for-All, community spaces designed for the earthquake victims of his homeland.

June 7

detail of painting of pink and white flowers in a sculpted basket, one flower drooped onto a table witha small glass
Detail "Pinks" by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, c. 1920. The Print Collector/Getty Images (cropped)

Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868 - 1928)
Scottish architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh was praised for his elegant detailing and skillful use of light and space. A contemporary of American architect Frank Lloyd Wright, Mackintosh took organic forms and naturalist Japanese influences to design buildings, interiors, and furnishings, including iconic chairs. With his wife, Margaret MacDonald, Mackintosh pioneered modern design in Scotland, and their Art Nouveau works helped transform the Arts & Crafts movement in Britain.

Born in the Townhead area of Glasgow, Mackintosh was inspired by Scottish traditions. One of eleven children, he suffered from a limp and other health problems and was encouraged to spend time in the country, where he developed a love of nature that later found expression in his Art Nouveau designs. During his time at the Glasgow School of Art, he became part of "The Four," a group of designers that included the sisters Margaret and Frances MacDonald and fellow artist Herbert McNair. "The Four" exhibited posters, graphic designs, and furniture in Great Britain and Europe. Along with other artists and designers, they developed the Glasgow Style, known for strong lines and graceful, symbolic shapes. His design of the Library Reading Room at Glasgow School of Art in the early 1900s has been compared with designs by Craftsman and Prairie School architects in the U.S.

The National Trust for Scotland calls Mackintosh's finest residential building, Hill House northwest of Glasgow, "a visually arresting mix of Arts and Crafts, Art Nouveau, Scottish Baronial and Japonisme architecture and design."

Mackintosh married Margaret MacDonald, forming a creative partnership that lasted their lifetimes.  Frustrated by a lack of local recognition, the couple left Scotland for London at the start of World War I. By 1923 they had moved on to southern France, where their days were taken up more with the art of painting than architecture. Today his watercolors of flowers are often the subject of wall calendars and art prints.

June 8

elderly white man, white hair, tweed suit, white shirt, tie, wide-brimmed tan-colored hat
ArchitectFrank Lloyd Wright in 1947. Joe Munroe/Getty Images (cropped)

Frank Lloyd Wright (1867 - 1958)
Frank Lloyd Wright is without a doubt North America's most famous architect. He experimented with unusual shapes and forms, and created the long, low style that set the standard for suburban housing. The Wright biography reads like a textbook of new inventions in building and design — the Prairie house, the Usonian house, organic architecture, and the nature of plasticity — as well as the drama of scandal that forever swirled around his long, productive life.

Robert Robinson Taylor (1868 - 1942)
Robert Robinson Taylor spent most of his professional life building and teaching at Tuskegee Institute. As the first Black graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1892, Taylor became one of the most famous Black American architects in the U.S.,

June 8

twirly, modernist, organic dwelling looking more like a cone-shaped tent than a house
The Bavinger House Designed in the 1950s by Bruce Goff. Jones2jy via Wikimedia Commons, released to public domain by author

Bruce Goff (1908 - 1982)
Kansas architect Bruce Goff designed expressive and original buildings using throw-away materials such as cake pans, steel pipe, rope, cellophane, and ash trays. Taking mid-century modernism to new extremes, Goff worked with artistic homeowners to create organic strucures for the private sector. Many of these buildings have not been maintained and are at risk. With its snail-like helix sail shell, the award-winning Bavinger House in Norman, Oklahoma, was destroyed in 2016.

June 12

Bridge With Sign "John A. Roebling Bridge 1867"
The John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge, Spanning the Ohio River Between Cincinnati, Ohio and Covington, Kentucky. Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

John Augustus Roebling (1806 - 1869)
Born in Saxony, Germany, architect and civil engineer John Roebling found ingenious uses for wire rope. He is best known for designing one of the world's greatest bridges, the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City. At nearly six thousand feet, the cable stayed suspension bridge over the East River opened to great fanfare in 1883. Roebling didn't start at the top, however. A more important bridge may be the one thousand foot prototype bridge Roebling built spanning the Ohio River between Cincinnati and Covington, Kentucky — a suspension bridge that opened in 1866. But nevermind the bridges — the Roebling firm is said to have provided the wire for the amusing toy, the Slinky.

June 14

older white man with glasses, striped shirt, blue tie, red suspenders
Architect Kevin Roche. Nathan Benn/Corbis via Getty Images (cropped)

Kevin Roche (1922 - )
Irish-born Kevin Roche is known for large, sophisticated, sculptural buildings such as the Oakland Museum in California (1968), the Ford Foundation headquarters in New York City (1968), and UNICEF Headquarters (1984-1987). He's also the 1982 Pritzker Laureate. After a 1945 B.Arch degree in Dublin, he moved to Chicago to study with Mies van der Rohe at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Roche then began a long association with Eero Saarinen and Associates in Michigan. When Saarinen died unexpectedly in 1961, Roche and John Dinkeloo (1918-1981) finished the projects associated with the company, including  the TWA Flight Center in New York City (1962), the Dulles Airport Terminal in Virginia (1962), and the Gateway Arch, St. Louis (1964). Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates LLC (KRJDA) became a highly respected architectural firm for years after.

Peter Harrison (1716 - 1775)
Although born in England, Peter Harrison is often called America's first professional architect. He was inspired by England's grand Baroque buildings and taught himself architecture through books. In the U.S. he's best known for rebuilding King's Chapel in 1754 Boston and for designing America's oldest synagogue, the 1763 Touro Synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island.

June 15

Linocut print of Federal style church with 1930s-era cars in the foreground
Old West Church in Boston by Architect Asher Benjamin. Linocut by Federal Art Project/PhotoQuest/Getty Images 

Asher Benjamin (1773 - 1845)
Although not a household name in today's architectural world, the New England-born Asher Benjamin was one of the first Americans to influence the architectural designs of the newly formed United States. His adaptations of neoclassic designs are still evidenced in meeting houses and public buildings throughout New England. His design for the 1806 Old West Church in Boston brought the new Federalist style to the forefront of what was being established as American architecture.

When the United States was a new country, guides for builders contained drawings and ideas by English authors. Asher Benjamin's 1797 book, The Country Builders Assistant, was the first truly American work on architecture. Benjamin's guide influenced architectural design throughout New England.

June 17

Molded Plywood chair, curved and smooth, light-colored wood
DCW or “Dining Chair Wood,” 1946 Prototype by Charles and Ray Eames. Indianapolis Museum of Art/Getty Images (cropped)

Charles Eames (1907 - 1978)
Charles Eames and his wife Ray Eames were among America's most important designers, celebrated for their contributions to architecture, industrial design, and furniture design. The couple shared credit for their projects, as Charles was a trained architect but Ray was a sculptor and artist. No doubt, we have all sat in a mass-produced Eames chair at some point in our lives.

June 21

white man with thinning dark hair standing in desert with organic structure in the background
Architect Paolo Soleri, Arizona, 1976. Santi Visalli/Getty Images

Paolo Soleri (1919 - 2013)
Architect and visionary Paolo Soleri worked with Frank Lloyd Wright in the 1940s, but went on to develop his own ideas. Soleri coined the term arcology to describe the interrelationship of architecture and ecology. The desert community of Arcosanti in Arizona is a laboratory for Soleri's ideas.

Smiljan Radic (1965 - )
Although he may be a rock star architect in his native Chile, the South American Radic is best known in the Western world for the 2014 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion in London.

June 24

detail of modernist wooden chair with a high red flat back and a blue flat seat
The Red-Blue Chair by Gerrit Rietveld, 1917. Sean Gallup/Getty Images (cropped)

Gerrit Thomas Rietveld (1888 - 1964)
Known for his minimalist "Red and Blue Chair" and "Zig Zag" designs, Gerrit Rietveld readily adopted the Dutch abstract De Stijl principles of his native Netherlands to create modernist architecture and art. The Rietveld Schröder House in Utrecht is a prime architectural example of modern architecture's variation called De Stijl, or "the style."

June 25

asymmetrical, curved roof and towers with crosses, colorful tiles of green, blue, gold, and red
Gaudi-Designed Tile Roof at Casa Batllo in Barcelona. Guy Vanderelst/Getty Images

Antoni Gaudí (1852 - 1926)
Born in Catalonia, Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí became known for his sensuous, curving buildings. Standing at the forefront of the Spanish Art Nouveau movement, Gaudí challenged our expectations of visual order and developed a distinct and original style. The Gaudi portfolio of architecture is filled with magical modernism.

Joseph Eichler (1901 - 1974)
Eichler may not be an architect, but as a real estate developer he changed the way people lived in California after World War II. Many historians have said that it was Joseph Eichler who made the West Coast modern.

Robert Venturi (1925 - )
Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1991 Pritzker Laureate Robert Venturi and his wife, Denise Scott Brown, founded Venturi, Scott Brown & Associates (VSBA). One of their first projects was a house for his mother, the Vanna Venturi House, which they call "a seminal work" that has influenced their other designs. The architectural couple wrote the book on Postmodern design.

June 26

Overhead photo of towering monument north of the Charles River and downtown Boston
Bunker Hill Monument in Charlestown, Massachusetts, Designed by Solomon Willard. Brooks Kraft LLC/Corbis via Getty Images

Solomon Willard (1783 - 1861)
A leading architect in Boston, Solomon Willard designed the "Egyptian revival" granite obelisk known as Bunker Hill Monument. Willard also carved architectural details for many important buildings in Boston, but the 221-foot monument in nearby Charlestown may be Willard's lasting impression. Dedicated June 17, 1843, Bunker Hill is a monument to the first battles of the American Revolution in June 1775.

June 30

A white, quiet, country church with a red roof in Bavaria, Germany
Wieskirche Designed by Dominikus Zimmerman, c. 1750. Markus Lange/Getty Images

Dominikus Zimmerman (1685 - 1766)
German architect Dominikus Zimmerman spent his life designing rural churches in the exuberant Rococo style. The Wies Pilgrimage Church (Wieskirche) was designed by Dominikus Zimmerman and his brother Johann Baptist, who was a fresco master. The simple exterior belies the lavish stucco interior, which makes this Bavarian church one of the most important sacred buildings anywhere on earth.
 

Sources

  • The Hill House, National Trust for Scotland, http://www.nts.org.uk/property/the-hill-house/ [accessed June 4, 2014]
  • Additional Photo Creidts: Hill House, Jeff Hart, hartjeff12 via flickr.com, Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0); Mackintosh-designed chair, De Agostini Picture Library/Getty Images (cropped}; Library reading room, Leemage/Gatty Images
  • venturiscottbrown.org, PDF at href="http://venturiscottbrown.org/pdfs/VannaVenturiHouseChestnutHillPA02.pdf [accessed August 13, 2012]