John Tschirch is an award winning architectural historian. He received his M.A. (1986) in Architectural History and Historic Preservation from the School of Architecture at the University of Virginia. His thirty year career in the preservation and study of historic landmarks across the globe brought him on treks to French chateaux, English castles, Italian villas, Austrian palaces, Croatian fortresses, Argentinian mansions and the Gilded Age houses of America. His roving eye continually seeks out all things interesting and evocative in the world of design, from the domes of ancient emperors to industrial sites, gravestones, decaying iron fences and the occasional mid-century Modern ice cream sign.
Working with great buildings has led to John’s present adventures as a writer. The people and places of times past inspire his historical fiction, including the Beauty Tales Trilogy, based on the classic fairy tales of Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood, and Gods and Girls: Short Stories on Art, Seduction and Obsession. For more on John’s writing, click here.
John’s work in preserving and interpreting historic sites has been featured in the Magazine Antiques, Martha Stewart Living, The New York Times and Conde Nast Traveler and he has appeared on the A&E documentary series, America’s Castles. From 1986 to 2013, he served the Preservation Society of Newport County, first as Director of Education and later as Director of Museum Affairs and Architectural Historian, overseeing the curatorial, conservation, education and research activities at the organization’s eleven historic house museums and gardens. His professional publications include “The New Thing at Newport: The Tiffany Glass Wall at Kingscote” in The Magazine Antiques (January 2013), the essay, “Newport Cottages” for The Encyclopedia of New England Culture (Yale University Press, 2005) and “Newport” in Parisian Palaces of La Belle Epoque (Paris 1992). In recognition of his service to historic preservation, he is an Honorary Member of the Garden Club of America and received the 2013 Frederick C. Williamson Professional Leadership Award from the Rhode Island State Historic Preservation and Heritage Commission.
The preservation of heritage sites of international significance is of foremost interest to John. He has lectured widely in the U.S. and abroad on architecture, landscapes and historic cities, from the Attingham Conference in London (2012) to Yale University’s Mellon Center Seminar on 18th Century French Design (2000) and the UNESCO sponsored conference on Architecture and Culture in Buenos Airies (1999).
John is presently an instructor in design history for Rhode Island School of Design CE, which presented him with the 2010 Excellence in Teaching Award, and he is adjunct faculty in art history at Bristol Community College, where his students provide endless inspiration and amusement. He is also the creator and author of a monthly design history blog called John Stories: Confessions of the Globetrekking Architectural Historian, John Tschirch, featuring his photographs and commentary on historic places.