Biography (Cyclopedia of World Authors, Fourth Revised Edition)
Witold Marian Rybczynski (rihb-CHIHN-skee) was born in 1943 in Edinburgh, Scotland, to which his family had fled during World War II. After the war ended they settled in Surrey, England, where Witold attended Jesuit schools. He subsequently emigrated to Canada, where he received bachelor of architecture and master of architecture degrees from McGill University in Montreal. This institution was later to receive him into its architectural faculty as professor of architecture. In 1996 he moved to The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, becoming Martin and Margy Meyerson Professor of Urbanism and the director of the Urban Design Program.
Rybczynski first attracted wide attention with the publication in 1980 of his first book, Paper Heroes. “Appropriate technology” (AT), of which Rybczynski is hailed as one of the founding fathers, is described by the architect as “part lay religion, part protest movement, and part economic theory.” AT has as its aim the humanization of technology, which includes adapting methods of industrialization to the particular countries to be developed (this idea is especially valid for the developing world), a process that advocates the careful planning of industrial development with an eye toward the particular needs, abilities, and native, human, inventive resources of the particular developing country. At its spiritual base, AT is concerned with redefining humankind’s relationship to the machines it...
(The entire section is 913 words.)
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