In Memory of Richard Ingersoll | SACI College of Art & Design Florence

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In Memory of Richard Ingersoll

The SACI community is deeply saddened by the loss of Richard Ingersoll, beloved professor and architectural historian.

Born in San Francisco in 1949, Richard Ingersoll earned a Ph.D. in Architectural History at UC Berkeley but spent half his life in Italy. He taught courses in Renaissance and contemporary art, architecture, and urbanism at Syracuse University’s Florence program, Rice University, the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule in Zurich, Università di Ferrara, the Faculty of Architecture in Ferrara, and the Universidad de Navarra in Pamplona. Author of Sprawltown, Looking for the City on Its Edges, and World Architecture: A Cross-Cultural History, and other books and publications, Richard regularly penned articles for "Arquitectura Viva," "Il Giornale di Architettura," "Harvard Design Magazine," "Domus," "Architecture," and "Bauwelt."

We were privileged to have Richard teach in SACI’s Summer Venice program alongside SACI photography instructor Jacopo Santini. Our students were incredibly fortunate to have such a wonderful scholar and teacher in their midst. 

We remember Richard with a beautiful eulogy written by his friend and colleague Jacopo Santini.

Richard Ingersoll (1949-2021)

Three days ago, Richard Ingersoll, architectural historian, professor for various academic institutions, all-round intellectual, a man of many interests and passions, passed away. I met him many years ago, in Montevarchi where we both lived and where he continued to interpret in the richest sense of the word his existence as a citizen involved in the life of his community. We became friends, which was almost inevitable considering his ability to welcome us without conditions. His house, an old Tuscan farmhouse on a hill at the edge of the village, had long been a meeting place for people from all backgrounds, animated by passions and curiosity, not necessarily his own. We were colleagues, si parva licet, for two unforgettable summers in Venice, where he held courses on contemporary art as part of the SACI programme dedicated to the Biennale. He was able to introduce young students to the sense of what precedes the creation of a work, its premises, context and deepest motivations, with simplicity, almost whispering. I have always been struck by two aspects of his way of doing and teaching: his sovereign ability to nonchalantly and competently nourish his chosen subject with references to other fields of knowledge, and the complete absence of dogmatism in his social and political involvement, both in his private life and in his teaching. He shunned with horror certain rhetoric of political correctness and found in irony the best antidote.

I and many others will miss this culturally omnivorous, sometimes disarming man, who was full of charm and profound generosity, the expressions of which I am obliged to keep quiet out of respect for his reserve. I hope his legacy will not be lost

Sit tibi terra levis.

– Jacopo Santini


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