CINCINNATI.- David Macaulay is an author and artist who has helped us to understand the workings and origins of everything from simple gadgets to elaborate architectural structures through his extraordinary gift for conveying complex concepts within a social and historical context for the printed page. Beloved by readers of all ages throughout the world, this Caldecott Medal artist is the subject of an in-depth exhibition exploring his artistic process and extensive body of work. Macaulays classic books, which bring together the worlds of art, history and science, include such outstanding volumes as The Way Things Work and The New Way Things Work: Cathedral, Castle, City, Mill, and Mosque among many others.
David Macaulay (born December 2, 1946 in Lancashire, England) is an author and illustrator. He is an alumnus and faculty member at the Rhode Island School of Design.
David Macaulay is also a board member of the National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance, a national not-for-profit that actively advocates for literacy, literature, and libraries.
Although originally from Lancashire, UK, Macaulay moved to Bloomfield, New Jersey at the age of eleven. It was in the U.S. that he began drawing. After graduating from high school in Cumberland, Rhode Island in 1964, he enrolled in the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), from which he received a bachelor's degree in architecture. He spent his fifth year at RISD in the European Honors Program, studying in Rome, Herculaneum and Pompeii. After various artistic and teaching jobs, he returned to RISD.
Macaulay is the author of several books on architecture and design. His first book, Cathedral (1973), was a history, extensively illustrated with pen-and-ink drawings, of the construction of a fictitious but typical Gothic cathedral. This was followed by a series of books of the same type: City (1974), on the construction of Verbonia, a fictitious but typical Roman city; Pyramid (1975), on the building of monuments to the Egyptian Pharaohs; Castle (1977), on the construction of Aberwyvern castle, a fictitious but typical Medieval Castle; Mill (1983), on the evolution of New England mills; and Mosque (2003). Other books in this series are Underground (1976), which describes the building foundations and support structures (such as water and sewer pipes) that underlie a typical city intersection, and Unbuilding (1980), which describes the hypothetical dismantling of the Empire State Building in preparation for re-erection in Asia.
Macaulay has illustrated a number of other books, including the popular The Way Things Work (1988, text by Neil Ardley) which was expanded and rereleased as The New Way Things Work (1998). These works remain his most commercially successful. He has also written a number of children's fiction books.
His books often display a whimsical humor. Illustrations in The Way Things Work depict cave people and woolly mammoths operating giant-sized versions of the devices he is explaining. Motel of the Mysteries, written in 1979 following the 1976-1979 exhibition of the Tutankhamun relics in the USA, concerns the discovery by future archaeologists of an American motel and the archaeologists' ingenious interpretation of the motel and its contents as a funerary and temple complex.
He has achieved great critical success. A writer in Time magazine once commented: "What [Macaulay] draws he draws better than any other pen-and-ink illustrator in the world". His books have sold more than two million copies in the United States alone, and his work has been translated into a dozen languages.
Macaulay has garnered a number of awards. Amongst these are the MacArthur Fellows Program award, the Caldecott Medal, won for his book Black and White, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, the Christopher Award, an American Institute of Architects Medal, the Washington Children's Book Guild Nonfiction Award, the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis, and a Dutch Silver Slate Pencil Award. He was a two-time nominee for the Hans Christian Andersen Award and is the recipient of the Bradford Washburn Award, presented by the Museum of Science in Boston to an outstanding contributor to science.
In June 2007, he was subject of the exhibition "David Macaulay, the Art of Drawing Architecture" which opened for a limited run through January 2008 (later extended to May 4) at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.