Director of Historic Preservation and Professor of American Civilization
|Address:||2108 G Street, Room 202
Areas of Expertise
American architecture, historic preservation
Richard Longstreth is Professor of American Studies and director of the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation. After receiving his A.B. in architecture from the University of Pennsylvania and Ph.D. in architectural history from the University of California, Berkeley, he worked for the Rhode Island Historical Preservation Commission and taught at Kansas State University before joining the GW faculty in 1983.
Paralleling his academic responsibilities, Professor Longstreth’s professional interests lie in two, complementary realms. As a scholar, he has written extensively on the history of nineteenth- and twentieth-century architecture in the U.S. In recent years, his research has focused on retail development in major metropolitan areas, relating economic, design, urbanistic, and cultural factors that have fundamentally reshaped the American landscape since 1920. His City Center to Regional Mall and The Drive-In, the Supermarket, and the Transformation of Commercial Space won four national awards in the fields of architectural history, urban history, and historic preservation.
Professor Longstreth has also been involved in the preservation field at the national, state, and local levels and in the public and private sectors. Since 1984 he has taken an active role in Washington-area initiatives. Testimony he gave on a few of these cases is being published in a case-study book by the National Park Service and National Council for Preservation Education in 1997. Much of his other writing on the subject has addressed preserving the recent past. He has figured prominently in efforts to save numerous mid-twentieth-century sites, locally and nationally, and was a founding member of the Recent Past Preservation Network. Currently, he is writing a book about the preservation of mid-twentieth-century architecture and landscape and editing one on additions to the work of Frank Lloyd Wright.
Professor Longstreth has served as president of the Society of Architectural Historians (1998-2000), first vice president of the Vernacular Architecture Forum (1989-1991), trustee of the National Building Museum (1988-1994), board member of Preservation Action (1980-1995), Adirondack Architectural Heritage (1998-2010), and of the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. (1994-1998), and a member of the National Historic Landmarks Advisory Group (1989-1994). Currently he chairs the Maryland Governor's Consulting Committee on the National Register of Historic Places, and is a member of the boards of the Fort Ticonderoga Association and the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy.
The American Department Store Transformed, 1920-1960, New Haven: Yale University Press, 2010
Sustainability and Historic Preservation: Towards a Holistic View, Newark: University of Delaware Press, and Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 2011, editor
Housing Washington: Two Centuries of Tradition and Innovation in the National Capital Region, Staunton, Virginia: Center for American Places, and Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010, editor
Cultural Landscapes: Balancing Nature and Heritage in Preservation Practice, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2008, editor
The Charnley House: Sullivan and Wright on Chicago’s Gold Coast, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004, editor
The Drive-In, the Supermarket, and the Transformation of Commercial Space in Los Angeles, 1914-1941, Cambridge: MIT Press, 1999
City Center to Regional Mall: Architecture, the Automobile, and Retailing in Los Angeles, 1920-1950, Cambridge: MIT Press, 1997
History on the Line: Testimony in the Cause of Preservation, Washington: National Park Service, and Ithaca, N.Y.: National Council for Preservation Education, 1997
The Mall in Washington, 1791-1991, 1991; reprint ed., New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002, editor
The Buildings of Main Street: A Guide to American Commercial Architecture, 1987; reprint ed., Walnut Creek, Calif.: Alta Mira Press, 2000
On the Edge of the World: Four Architects in San Francisco at the Turn of the Century, 1983; reprint ed., Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998
Articles in APT Bulletin, Architectural Record, Arris, Buildings & Landscapes, City & Society, CRM Journal, Harvard Architecture Review, Historic Preservation Forum, Journal of the American Planning Association, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Journal of Urban History, Perspecta, and Winterthur Portfolio