Hannes Richter

Recounting the Fulbright Year Abroad: Friedrich St. Florian

Hannes Richter


Friedrich St. FlorianFriedrich St. Florian

I have very fond memories of my Fulbright year from 1961-62. The Fulbright Fellowship sponsored my travels after having secured a full scholarship from Columbia University to study for a Master of Science degree in Architecture.

 Arriving by boat from Le Havre, I will never forget my first impression of Manhattan. It was a beautiful morning as we reached our designated pier with the splendid skyline glistening in the morning sun. That afternoon I made the obligatory pilgrimage from the Seagram's Building to the Guggenheim Museum on foot. I did not reach Columbia University until a few days later absorbing, really inhaling, the architecture of Manhattan.

Following the completion of my year of study, I received an invitation to join the faculty at Columbia full time. As a young, aspiring architect, I found America  spellbinding. President Kennedy was in the White House, and we were about to travel to the moon. It was an utopian moment in history. My work at the time was a reflection of that precious moment.

America became my home. I spent most of my adult life in academia, mostly as Professor and Dean of Architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design. In 1997 I was chosen to design the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. Being Austrian born, this was an unprecedented honor and the highlight of my professional life.


Friedrich St.Florian
(FAIA) Austrian-American architect who designed the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.