Vincent Scully Dies at 97

Vincent Scully. Image courtesy Yale University.

Famed architectural historian and educator Vincent Scully, who Philip Johnson once described as “the most influential architectural teacher ever,” died on November 30 at his home in Lynchburg, Virginia. Scully suffered from Parkinson’s disease and recently had a heart attack. He was 97.

A Sterling Professor Emeritus on the History of Art in Architecture at Yale University for more than 60 years beginning in 1947, Scully stepped down from his role as an educator at the age 89. A New Haven native as well, Scully entered Yale as an undergraduate in 1940 at the age of 16, and proceeded to receive his bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees from the university before he was 30. In addition to leading his frequently well-attended lectures, Scully penned more than a dozen books and scholarly articles.

In 1995, Scully was chosen to deliver the Jefferson Lecture—the highest honor bestowed by the National Endowment for the Humanities—on the topic of “The Architecture of Community.” The Vincent Scully Prize was established in 1999 by the National Building Museum, which named Scully as its first recipient. The Urban Land Institute awarded Scully the J.C. Nichols Prize for Visionary Urban Development in 2003, and in 2004, he was honored with the National Medal of the Arts by President George W. Bush.