SAH Publication Awards

Every year, the Society of Architectural Historians presents awards that recognize the most distinguished publications in architectural history, urban history, landscape history, preservation, and architectural exhibition catalogues. SAH also presents the Founders' Award for an outstanding JSAH article written by an emerging scholar in the previous two years. 

The 2021 award cycle has closed. Nominations for the 2022 award cycle will open in June 2021.



The Alice Davis Hitchcock Book Award was established in 1949 to recognize annually the most distinguished work of scholarship in the history of architecture published by a North American scholar.

Hitchcock Award Past Recipients
2020 Recipient:

Peter H. Christensen
Germany and the Ottoman Railways: Art, Empire and Infrastructure
Yale University Press, 2017

Peter Christensen’s Germany and the Ottoman Railways: Art, Empire, and Infrastructure documents the development of the Ottoman railroad system in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The author reveals with remarkable clarity the complexities of planning, building, and politics in the modernization of the Turkish state in the shadow of Europe. He brings new archival evidence to bear on the sites affected by the introduction of railroads and productively reflects on that intervention’s intellectual as well as economic repercussions. The volume is a testament to architectural history’s disciplinary commitment to understanding not only important buildings and their contexts, but also infrastructural construction and its implications for the physical and social landscape.

2020 Award Committee:
Nancy Steinhardt, Chair
Rumiko Handa
Annabel J. Wharton


For some time, preservationists have been involved in investigating and evaluating the physical fabric of this country and other nations. In order to encourage further research and publication of research in this field, the Society of Architectural Historians has established an annual award for excellence in a published work devoted to historical topics in preservation. Named for Antoinette Forrester Downing, the award honors her scholarship and recognition of the value of local inventories and surveys.
Downing Award Past Recipients

2020 Recipient:

Sally McMurry
Pennsylvania Farming: A History in Landscapes
University of Pittsburgh Press, 2017

The recipient of the 2020 Antoinette Forrester Downing Book Award is Sally McMurry, author of Pennsylvania Farming: A History in Landscapes (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2017).

Pennsylvania Farming: A History in Landscapes is a serious work at the intersection of American landscape history and preservation by a scholar at the height of her powers. The book is extensive in its research and comprehensive in the survey work that undergirds it. A close reading will feed any effort to preserve our agricultural heritage. 

Pennsylvania Farming is important for its systematic identification and analysis of building groups and types, though rapidly disappearing, that remain important to understanding our collective cultural history. The book is thorough and comprehensive in its research, integrating the study of primary sources with field surveys and visits. The book takes us through the evolution of the farm as it reflects economics, food habits and cultures.  Finally, it takes us into the present by demonstrating the ways that contemporary cultural and food practices may affect the future of this typology. The result is a sound and mature work of scholarship that will inform the field for years to come.

It is also a book reminiscent of the foundational scholarship of Antoinette Forrester Downing herself. Downing treated architectural history and historic preservation as utterly intertwined when telling the story of place, something that McMurry does with precision and grace in her distinctive voice. Pennsylvania Farming is a book very much in the spirit of Antoinette Forrester Downing, and one that beautifully compliments the body of work previously recognized by this award. 

2020 Award Committee:
Gail Dubrow, Chair
Bryan Clark Green
Theodore Prudon


As architectural history exhibitions are able to address historical and critical questions in special ways, through the presentation of both documentation and artifacts to a diversified audience, so their catalogues have become distinctive vehicles for the expression of scholarship in architectural history. They remain as the substantial and enduring contribution after the life of the exhibition is spent. In order, therefore, to recognize and encourage excellence in this form of scholarship and publication, the Society of Architectural Historians established its annual Philip Johnson Exhibition Catalogue Award.

Johnson Award Past Recipients

2020 Recipient:

Jennifer Dunlop Fletcher and Joseph Becker, editors
The Sea Ranch: Architecture, Environment, and Idealism
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and DelMonico Books • Prestel, 2018

The Sea Ranch: Architecture, Environment, and Idealism exemplifies the experiential qualities of architecture and environment in the form of an exhibition and its publication. Through photographs, original documents, and text, the catalogue reproduces the vivid idealism of these postwar Bay Area designers. The production quality matches the elegant scholarly essays and the personal recollections, making accessible the aesthetic and intellectual program of the Sea Ranch community's belief in a radical modesty of living lightly on the land. The ecological imperative that originally guided this community to collaborate on the design, encourage diversity, preserve native plant species, access to the undisturbed coastline, and to share common areas and aesthetic codes has shifted over time. The exhibition catalogue reclaims some of those original efforts and argues for a return to a sense of responsibility and vision in the built and natural environment.

2020 Award Committee:
Amy F. Ogata, chair
Eve Blau
William Whitaker


This award was established in 1993 at the Society's Annual Meeting in Albuquerque, in recognition of Spiro Kostof's extraordinarily productive and inspiring career that was ended by his premature death in December 1991. In the spirit of Kostof's writings, the award will be given to interdisciplinary studies of urban history that make the greatest contribution to our understanding of the growth and development of cities.

Kostof Award Past Recipients

2020 Recipients:

Samia Henni
Architecture of Counterrevolution: The French Army in Northern Algeria
Zurich: ETH/gta Verlage, 2017

“Colonialism is not a positive force” is the first sentence of Samia Henni’s remarkable book. Architecture of Counterrevolution: The French Army in Northern Algeria exposes the actions of the colonial regime during the War of Independence. During this horrific, bloody conflict, the French army made architecture, planning, and public policy intrinsic to its counter-insurgency operations in northern Algeria. To keep Algeria under French rule and in concert with General de Gaulle’s “Plan Constantine,” military and civil authorities demolished rural settlements, set up detention camps, constructed suburban enclaves, and built racially segregated, substandard, mass housing in cities. Architects, construction companies, and corporations with financial interests in the colony cooperated with the colonial regime, facilitating military control (and making handsome profits). As it became clear that Algerians would win the armed struggle, an administrative fortress was built to protect European communities in Algeria. By directing her unsparing eye on the archive, Prof. Henni renders visible what had been hidden, and sheds new light on the French state during the Cold War. The colonial regime exploited Algerians, extracted natural resources, and deferred to corporate interests as the army invented powerful terms, strategies, and protocols that continue to shape armed conflict in our own time.

2020 Award Committee:
Marta Gutman, chair
Timothy Hyde
John Harwood

Pamela O. Long
Engineering the Eternal City: Infrastructure, Topography, and the Culture of Knowledge in Late Sixteenth-Century Rome
Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2018

Between the great flood of 1557 and the death of Sixtus V in 1590, Rome was transformed. In Engineering the Eternal City: Infrastructure, Topography, and the Culture of Knowledge in Late Sixteenth-Century Rome, Pamela O. Long brings her considerable expertise to bear on this short time span, the three decades when the city appeared to be in a constant state of construction. Dr. Long tracks infrastructure projects, brides, streets, sewers, aqueducts, flood protection, and more, and shows that civil and hydraulic engineering intersected with antiquarian investigations, cartography, and printing. Her emphasis on the process of urban construction and engineering is as welcome as her meticulous scrutiny of the images of Rome that proliferated in this time (and illustrate this beautiful book). Engineering the Eternal City reveals failures and successes: it documents the decision making of the papacy, intent to Christianize Rome, and the Capitoline Council, sponsor of the Congregation on Streets, Bridges, and Fountains, and the struggles to finance projects (paid for with despised taxes on wine and meat), to cope with sewage, mud, floods, famine, and traffic, and to segregate Jews, beggars, prostitutes, and bandits. As Dr. Long insists, the fluidity of disciplinary identification and lively discussions about urban engineering characterize this pre-modern city; her stories about papal favorites, state violence, despised taxes, and citizen revolts against authoritarian rulers and expensive plans for urban magnificence resonate in our own time.

2020 Award Committee:
Marta Gutman, chair
Timothy Hyde
John Harwood


The Elisabeth Blair MacDougall Book Award was established by the SAH Board in 2005 to recognize annually the most distinguished work of scholarship in the history of landscape architecture or garden design. Named for SAH past president and landscape historian Elisabeth MacDougall, the award honors the late historian's role in developing this field of study.
MacDougall Award Past Recipients

2020 Recipient:

Wilhelmina F. Jashemski, Kathryn L. Gleason, Kim J. Hartswick, Amina-Aicha Malek, editors
Gardens of the Roman Empire
Cambridge University Press, 2018

This superlative volume on ancient Roman gardens marks the culmination of about forty years of research initiated and shepherded by the late Wilhelmina F. Jashemski. Her three co-editors, Kathryn L. Gleason, Kim J. Hartswick, and Amina-Aïcha Malek, have brought together authors working from a broad array of perspectives to create what is easily the most comprehensive study of designed landscapes in the ancient Mediterranean world. Employing analytic lenses ranging from social history and garden technology to visual and literary representation, the collected essays simultaneously augment and reconfigure the already considerable knowledge of Roman gardens that has been gained over the past several decades. This has been accomplished not only by expanding historical inquiry beyond familiar themes and typologies but also by generating new information that has been brought to light through recent archaeological excavation. The result helps us see beyond the villa garden toward the broader range of landscapes that constituted the Roman world in its diversity. The volume is, therefore, not a mere incremental addition to this area of landscape studies but a major contribution and a leap forward, convincingly bringing together scholarship rooted in distinct disciplinary methods to create a unified compilation that is more than the sum of its parts. Thanks to this work, we now have a more complete picture of Roman landscapes, fleshed out with new information, unfamiliar sites, and interpretive directions that have made one of the oldest subjects in garden history feel new again. This volume, the result of an exemplary scholarly collaboration and exchange over decades, shows that there is still so much to learn about “well-known” garden history traditions.

2020 Award Committee:
Mohammad Gharipour, Chair
Michael G. Lee
Jennifer Reut


The Founders' Award is given annually for an article published by an emerging scholar in the preceding two years in the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians that exhibits excellence of scholarship and presentation. For the purposes of this award, an "emerging scholar" is defined as someone under the age of 40 or within five years of the completion of a terminal degree at the time of submission of the article. Authors will be asked by the JSAH editor whether they are eligible, and if eligible, authors will be asked to submit a curriculum vitae.

Criteria for Award
  1. Publication in the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians during previous two years Articles from the December issue may be forwarded in galley form. 
  2. Excellence of scholarship and presentation
Upon publication of each issue of the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Founders Award application materials are sent to all eligible JSAH authors. Those interested in being considered for this award are asked to submit a CV to the JSAH editor immediately upon receipt.

Founders' Award Past Recipients

2020 Recipient:

Michael Abrahamson
“Actual Center of Detroit”: Method, Management, and Decentralization in Albert Kahn's General Motors Building
Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Vol. 77 No. 1, March 2018


SAH thanks The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation
for its operating support.
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