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Architectural Lecture Series: Stuart Cohen presents Howard Van Doren Shaw and the Invention of the American House.​​​​​​​

  • The Cliff Dwellers 200 South Michigan Avenue, 22nd Floor Chicago, IL, 60604 United States (map)

The Society of Architectural Historians and the Cliff Dwellers, in co-sponsorship with the Friends of Downtown and the Chicago Chapter of the AIA, are pleased to present another in their series of architectural events on Wednesday August 22, 2018: Stuart Cohen presents Howard Van Doren Shaw and the Invention of the American House.

Howard Van Doren Shaw was one of the best known country house architects of his generation. His work frequently appeared in publications such as Town & Country, The House Beautiful, and The Architectural Record. The architectural critic, Herbert Croly, the editor of The Architectural Record, wrote in 1913, “In the first place Mr. Shaw is extraordinarily popular…Mr. Shaw’s houses possess to a very considerable extent the merit of being thoroughly livable…These houses are charming and inviting to a degree rarely exceeded in American domestic architecture-a fact which justifies Mr. Shaw’s success as a well as accounts for it.”

In 1926, the year of his untimely death Shaw was awarded the Gold Metal of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). He was only the fourth American architect to be recognized in this way by his professional peers. That year, the historian Thomas Talmidge described Shaw as, “…the most rebellious of the conservatives and the most conservative of the rebels.” However, Shaw was for a long time dismissed by contemporary historians as one of a group of eclectic architects practicing at the turn of the last century. Today his work is little known outside Lake Forest and the Chicago area.


Stuart Cohen is the author of a book on Shaw’s country houses and of two other books on Chicago’s historic residential architecture. He is professor emeritus in the department of architecture at the University of Illinois Chicago. He taught architecture as a visiting professor at universities through out the country in the 1970s and 1980s including Harvard, Columbia, and the Universities of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Miami, and Notre Dame, as well as lecturing at the Smithsonian Institution, The Art Institute of Chicago, The Graham Foundation, and the Architectural League of New York. A practicing architect, he is a partner in the firm of Stuart Cohen & Julie Hacker Architects LLC, their traditional residential work has been widely published both nationally and internationally and has been featured on House and Garden TV (HGTV). Stuart Cohen is a fellow of the American Institute.

Additional Info: 

Cocktails: Cash bar opens at 4:30 p.m.

Free Program: Begins 6:15 p.m.

Dinner: Available after the program, a la carte.

Reservations for dinner are requested: or call 312-922-8080. Discount parking is available after 4:00 at the garage located at 17 E. Adams – enter on Adams between Wabash and State. Ask for a discount coupon at the check-in desk.