John Vinci

Trade Cloth – $65.00

ISBN 978-0-8101-3665-6
Publication Date
October 2017
Page Count
272 pages
Trim Size
8.5 x 13

John Vinci

Life and Landmarks
Text by Robert Sharoff, Photographs by William Zbaren

John Vinci: Life and Landmarks is the first authoritative survey of the life and work of one of Chicago’s most acclaimed architects and preservationists. Long awaited by scholars as well as by architecture aficionados, John Vinci provides an intimate look at an architect whose portfolio spans half a century and includes the restoration of some of the city’s most important historic structures as well as numerous award-winning original projects.

This illustrated biography traces Vinci’s origins as a child of Italian immigrants on Chicago’s South Side and his coming of age at the Illinois Institute of Technology, which was then under the direction of the legendary Modernist architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. It follows his career through his subsequent immersion in the historic preservation movement and the work of such early Chicago architects as Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright, and John Wellborn Root.

Vinci’s pioneering restoration projects include Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House and Home Studio, Sullivan’s Chicago Stock Exchange Trading Room and the Carson Pirie Scott Building, and Root’s Monadnock Building. His original work, meanwhile, includes notable buildings such as the Arts Club of Chicago, numerous award-winning residences, and more than fifty major exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago and other museums.

John Vinci: Life and Landmarks also features portraits and profiles of Vinci’s friends and mentors over the years, including the architectural photographer Richard Nickel, the landscape designer Alfred Caldwell, the Art Institute curators James Speyer and Anne Rorimer, the architects Crombie Taylor and Myron Goldsmith, and the City of Chicago’s cultural historian Tim Samuelson.

The book includes new photos of twenty projects by noted architectural photographer William Zbaren as well as more than one hundred vintage photos and floorplans from Vinci’s personal archives, many never before published. A comprehensive catalogue raisonné rounds out this handsome and definitive work.
About the Author

ROBERT SHAROFF writes about architecture and real estate for the New York Times, Chicago Magazine, and other publications.

WILLIAM ZBAREN is an architectural photographer for the New York Times, Architectural Record, and other publications. He has collaborated with Robert Sharoff on six books, including Last Is More: Mies, IBM, and the Transformation of Chicago; American City: St. Louis Architecture, Three Centuries of Classic Design; and American City: Detroit Architecture, 1845–2005.

“Sharoff’s prose and Zbaren’s photographs beautifully interweave the story of John Vinci’s life with those of the architects and iconic buildings that helped shape his career. Comprehensive and thoughtful, the narrative emulates Vinci’s considered approach not only to his contemporary practice, but also to his work to preserve the architecture of the past—its lessons and intentions—for the future. The stunning portfolio serves as a record of both Vinci’s projects and of the Chicago treasures he has helped to restore with the utmost integrity and acumen.” —James Rondeau, president, the Art Institute of Chicago

“This book makes clear that Chicago is as much John’s city as it ever was Louis Sullivan’s, Frank Lloyd Wright’s, or Mies van de Rohe’s. For John has dedicated his professional life to the study and preservation of their work as much as to the design and construction of his own. And this book shows off both to their full advantage. Anyone who loves Chicago and architecture will love this book. They might even fall in love with John, as so many of us have.” —James Cuno, president, the J. Paul Getty Trust

"What a great biopic! The book deftly and pictorially chronicles the life and works of one of Chicago’s living architectural treasures. This is certainly a volume that belongs in the library of anyone interested in Chicago’s architectural culture." —John Zukowsky, author of Building Chicago: The Architectural Masterworks and curator of architecture, the Art Institute of Chicago

“Vinci’s story is interwoven with so many different and important strands in Chicago’s architectural history that John Vinci serves as a short primer on many of them, including the First and Second Chicago Schools of Architecture, the birth of the historic preservation movement, Louis Sullivan, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Alfred Caldwell, Richard Nickel, James Speyer, Tim Samuelson, and Myron Goldsmith, as well as numerous art collectors and curators who became mentors and clients.” —Geoffrey Baer, WTTW

"John Vinci, architect and activist, is a master craftsman, consonant with Mies’s statement: 'We think about the best way to use the materials and then we accept the result.' This book documents a rare architectural practice that fuses rigorous IIT training with historic preservation. It projects an amazing story that ranges from recreating Louis Sullivan’s gorgeously ornamented Trading Room to incorporating Mies’s ineffable staircase into the design of the new Arts Club of Chicago. John wanted to keep the spirit of the old, and he did, creating beautifully proportioned new spaces. These two masterworks are emblematic of this significant practice." —Phyllis Lambert, author, Building Seagram, and founding director of the Canadian Centre for Architecture