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Charles GWATHMEY Edit Profile

Architect , university professor

Charles Gwathmey, American Architect. President board of trustees Institute Architecture and Urban Studies, New York City, 1978; trustee Cooper Union, New York City; Fellow American Institute of Architects (firm award 1982, Medal of honor 1983); member American Academy Arts and Letters.


Gwathmey, Charles was born on June 19, 1938 in Charlotte, North Carolina, United States. Son of Robert and Rosalie Dean (Hook) Gwathmey.


He attended the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts, graduating in 1956. While at Yale, he studied under Paul Rudolph.


He was a principal at Gwathmey Siegel & Associates Architects, as well as one of the five architects identified as The New York Five in 1969. One of Gwathmey's most famous designs is the 1992 renovation of Frank Lloyd Wright's Guggenheim Museum in New York City. Gwathmey served as President of the Board of Trustees for The Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies and was elected a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects in 1981.

He wanted to answer that the organic house was his, but in order to pass the exam he chose Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater House. He knew that was the answer they wanted. He passed. By 1977, Gwathmey had designed 21 houses and renovations while still under 40 years old and ten years of practice.

From 1965 through 1991, Gwathmey taught at Pratt Institute, Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, Princeton University, Columbia University, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Texas, and the University of California at Los Angeles. He was Davenport Professor (1983 and 1999) and Bishop Professor (1991) at Yale, and the Eliot Noyes Visiting Professor at Harvard University (1985). Gwathmey was the Spring 2005 William A. Bernoudy Resident in Architecture at the American Academy in Rome Gwathmey's firm designed the Museum Of Contemporary Art of North Miami, Florida in 1995, and the Astor Place Tower, a 21-story condominium project in Manhattan's East Village, in 2005.

In 2011 the Ron Brown Building would serve as the new home of the United States Mission to the United Nations for which he was the lead architect. The building was dedicated to him. In her remarks, Ambassador Susan Rice thanked Gwathmey posthumously.


  • Gwathmey was the recipient of the Brunner Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1970, and in 1976 he was elected to the Academy. In 1983, he won the Medal of Honor from the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects and in 1985, he received the first Yale Alumni Arts Award from the Yale School of Architecture. In 1988 the Guild Hall Academy of Arts awarded Gwathmey its Lifetime Achievement Medal in Visual Arts, followed in 1990 by a Lifetime Achievement Award from the New York State Society of Architects.

    Gwathmey was the only architect named in the Leadership in America issue of Time Magazine.


  • Other Work

    • Single houses, housing projects, school and coll, bldgs., libraries, offices, public bldgs., interiors etc. throughout United States and addition to Solomon Guggenheim Museum, New York since 1985. Member American Academy, American Institute of Arts and Letters. Fellow, American Institute of Architects.Numerous awards and distinctions including Distinguished Architecture Award 1982, 1984, Medal of Honor 1983, National Honor Award 1968, 1976, 1984 and National Firm Award, American Institute of Architects 1982.


President board of trustees Institute Architecture and Urban Studies, New York City, 1978. Trustee Cooper Union, New York City. Fellow American Institute of Architects (firm award 1982, Medal of honor 1983).

Member American Academy Arts and Letters.


Married Emily Gwathmey (divorced). 1 child Annie; Married Bette-Ann Damson, December 15, 1974. 1 stepchild Eric Steel.

Robert Gwathmey

Rosalie Dean (Hook) Gwathmey

Emily Gwathmey

Bette-Ann Damson

Annie Gwathmey