Katherine Rinne receives the 2012 Spiro Kostof Book Award

May 10, 2012

Katherine Rinne, IATH Fellow and Project Director of Aquae Urbis Romae: the Waters of the City of Rome, received the Society of Architectural Historians' (SAH) 2012 Spiro Kostof Book Award for The Waters of Rome: Aqueducts, Fountains, and the Birth of the Baroque City (Yale University Press, 2010). The award was presented at the Society’s Annual Conference in Detroit, Michigan, on April 19.

SAH's announcement of the award noted that, "like the waterworks at the center of Katherine Wentworth Rinne’s The Waters of Rome ... this book is an extraordinary achievement. Rather than consider Rome’s iconic fountains as isolated works of art, Rinne looks at them as nodes in a vast network of engineering and project of control between 1560-1630. She shows how access to water and its overt display shaped the lives of all social classes in Rome, from powerful Popes to lowly laundresses. What distinguishes this beautifully written and illustrated book from other urban histories of Baroque Rome is its topographical approach. Rinne went on a four-month walk in Rome in 1992, mapping fountains, drains, flood markings, and all other extant evidence of water management in the contemporary city. Combined with deep archival study, this unique, in-person survey inspires a lucid and detailed explanation to readers of the importance of gravity and topography in the making of Baroque Rome."

SAH presents six annual awards to honor the most distinguished publications in architectural history, urban history, landscape history, preservation, and architectural exhibition catalogs.

The Spiro Kostof Book Award recognizes the work that, focusing on urbanism and architecture, provides the greatest contribution to our understanding of historical development and change. The award has been presented every year since 1994. A list of past winners can be found here.

Rinne is an independent scholar, and currently an adjunct professor in the department of architecture at the California College of the Arts. Her research for both her book and her IATH project has been sponsored in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Science Foundation, the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the John Anson Kittredge Educational Trust, and the Dibner Institute for the History of Science and Technology at MIT.