Robert A.M. Stern, Traditionally Modern and Classic

b. 1939

Robert A.M. Stern in 2013 at age 74
Robert A.M. Stern in 2013 at age 74. Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images Entertainment Collection/Getty Images for Architectural Digest (cropped)

He's been called a Postmodernist and also a New Urbanist. He may be a Modern Traditionalist and a New Classicist.  Robert A.M. Stern, certainly a Master Planner and architect/teacher of the 21st century, designs seemingly simple buildings that express affection for the past.


Born: May 23, 1939, New York City

Full Name: Robert Arthur Morton Stern


  • 1960: Columbia, Bachelor's degree
  • 1965: Yale, Master's degree in architecture

Selected Buildings:

Product Design:

The firm of Robert A.M. Stern Architects employs hundreds of architects, interior designers, and support staff. Product designs include furniture, lighting, fabrics, and other decorative household items. Visit Robert A.M. Stern Architects, LLP for information on product furnishings as well as an extensive display of architectural projects.

Urban Planning:

Although well-known for his house designs, Robert A.M. Stern has been involved in vast urban planning projects such as the 1992 renovation of 42nd Street theater block in New York City. Along with architect Jaquelin Robertson, Robert A.M. Stern was the master planner for Celebration, Florida.

Other Works:

Robert A.M. Stern has served as dean for the Yale School of Architecture since 1998. Stern has written or edited dozens of books about design, including the PBS television series and companion book Pride of Place: Building the American Dream.

Books by Stern and Partners at Robert A.M. Stern Architects (RAMSA):

  • Robert A. M. Stern: Houses and Gardens, Monacelli Press, 2005
  • Robert A. M. Stern: Buildings & Projects 2004-2009, Monacelli Press, 2009
  • Robert A. M. Stern: Buildings and Projects 1999-2003, Monacelli Press, 2004
  • Robert A. M. Stern Architects: Buildings and Projects 2010-2014, Monacelli Press, 2015
  • Robert A. M. Stern: On Campus, Monacelli Press, 2010
  • Designs for Living: Houses by Robert A. M. Stern Architects, Monacelli Press, 2014

Related People:

  • After graduating from Yale, Stern briefly worked as a designer in the office of architect Richard Meier.
  • Architect and urban designer Andres Duany once worked for Stern.
  • Tom Piper of the Checkerboard Film Foundation made a documentary film in 2011 entitled Robert A.M Stern: 15 Central Park West and the History of the New York Apartment House
    Buy on Amazon

Robert A.M. Stern Architects, LLP:

460 West 34th Street
New York, NY 10001

Web Site:
Robert A.M. Stern Architects, LLP

About Robert A. M. Stern:

New York architect Robert A. M. Stern takes history to heart. A postmodernist, he creates buildings that express affection for the past. Stern served on The Walt Disney Company Board of Directors from 1992 to 2003 and has designed many buildings for The Walt Disney Company.

Robert A.M. Stern's Boardwalk at Disney World suggests an American seaside village from the early 20th century. The buildings illustrate the evolution of architectural styles from the Victorian to the Vienna Secessionist movement. The mini-village is not intended to be historically exact -- rather, it presents a dream-like walk past artifacts from several eras. There is an ice cream parlor, a piano bar, a 1930s dance hall, a vintage roller-coaster, and an authentic 1920s carousel.

Across Crescent Lake from Boardwalk, the Yacht and Beach Club hotels were also designed by Robert A.M. Stern. The Yacht Club is modeled after Victorian Shingle architecture, a rustic yet elegant fashion on America's Atlantic coast at the turn of the century. The Beach Club is an informal, sprawling wood structure which also reflects 19th century American resort architecture.

When Stern envisioned the Casting Center, an employee training area on Route I-4 near Orlando, Florida, he wanted to express the spirit of Disney, and also to reflect the Florida locale. The result is a building that resembles a Venetian Palazzo, yet contains whimsical Disneyesque details. Hence, classical columns are topped with gold leaf Disney characters.

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Craven, Jackie. "Robert A.M. Stern, Traditionally Modern and Classic." ThoughtCo, Aug. 26, 2020, Craven, Jackie. (2020, August 26). Robert A.M. Stern, Traditionally Modern and Classic. Retrieved from Craven, Jackie. "Robert A.M. Stern, Traditionally Modern and Classic." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 31, 2023).