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Henry Hobson Richardson, First American Architect


Henry Hobson Richardson Victorian Architect

Architect Henry Hobson Richardson. Detail from a painting by Hubert von Herkomer. National Portrait Gallery.

Photo cc Billy Hathorn via Wikimedia

Famous for designing massive stone buildings with semicircular "Roman" arches, Henry Hobson Richardson developed a late Victorian style that became known as Richardsonian Romanesque.


September 29, 1838 in Louisiana





  • Public and private schools in New Orleans
  • Harvard College
  • Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris


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About Henry Hobson Richardson:

During his short life, Henry Hobson Richardson designed churches, courthouses, train stations, libraries, and other important civic buildings. Featuring semicircular "Roman" arches set in massive stone walls, Richardson's unique style became known as Richardsonian Romanesque.

Henry Hobson Richardson is known as the "First American Architect" because he broke away from European traditions and designed buildings that stood out as truly original. Also Henry Hobson Richardson was only the second American to receive formal training in architecture. (The first was Richard Morris Hunt.)

The architects Charles F. McKim and Stanford White worked under Richardson for awhile, and their free-form Shingle Style grew out of Richardson's use of rugged natural materials and grand interior spaces.

Other important architects influenced by Henry Hobson Richardson include Louis Sullivan, John Wellborn Root, and Frank Lloyd Wright.

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