Professor Emeritus

Dr. Cleary joined the UT School of Architecture faculty in 1995. Previously, he taught in the Department of Architecture at Carnegie Mellon University. He is an honorary fellow in the Department of Art History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is a community associate of the UW-Madison Center for Culture, History, and Environment.

His research interests are multifold. He has published articles on spatial thinking in sports, eighteenth-century French architecture, Roman Catholic churches in antebellum Texas, and Frank Lloyd Wright. His books include The Place Royale and Urban Design in the Ancien Régime (Cambridge University Press, 1999), a study of the politics of urban design in France during the 17th and 18th centuries; Merchant Prince and Master Builder: Edgar J. Kaufmann and Frank Lloyd Wright (Carnegie Museum of Art and University of Washington Press, 1999), which examines the building of Fallingwater and a dozen unrealized projects, including a monumental civic center for Pittsburgh; and Bridges, a volume in the Norton/Library of Congress Visual Sourcebooks in Architecture, Design & Engineering (W. W. Norton and Library of Congress, 2007).  He is co-author with Lawrence Speck of The University of Texas at Austin: The Campus Guide (Princeton Architectural Press, 2011), an architectural history of the main campus, and editor of Traces and Trajectories: The University of Texas School of Architecture at 100 (UT School of Architecture, 2010), a collection of essays and design work marking the School’s centennial.

Dr. Cleary's current research projects include studies of spatial thinking in sports and Frank Lloyd Wright and building technology. He received the University of Texas System Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award in 2011.

Past work includes service as consulting architectural historian for the restoration of Kentuck Knob (I. N. Hagan house), designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, and direction of a three-year architectural sculpture project on the facade of the College of Fine Arts Building at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh.

Before his career in architectural history, Dr. Cleary studied technical theater and worked with a number of dance and opera companies including the Stuttgart Ballet, the Pennsylvania Ballet, the Twyla Tharp Dance Company, and the Opera Company of Boston. This experience formed the basis for his ongoing interest in the relationships among dance, music, and architecture.



  • B.A., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1975
  • M.A., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1977
  • Ph.D., Columbia University, 1986
photo of Richard Cleary
  • History of Architecture Survey
  • Architectural Theory
  • Architecture and Urban Design in Early Modern Europe
  • Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright
  • History of Building Technology
  • History of Architecture in Texas
  • Spatial Practices in Sports