Thomas Howe

Notable Achievements

Professor of Art and Art History, Chair of Art History, and Coordinator General of the Restoring Ancient Stabiae Foundation Thomas Noble Howe recently published a book chapter titled “The Social Status of the Villas of Stabiae” in Roman Villas in the Mediterranean Basin: Late Republic to Late Antiquity (eds. G. Métraux and A. Marzano; Cambridge University Press, 2018; pp. 97–119). Howe and Uri Dromi, director general of the Mishkenot Sha’ananim Convention Center in Jerusalem and spokesman of the Rabin and Peres governments (1992–1996), were co-organizers. The publication and conference are the first comprehensive Mediterranean-wide study on the topic involving all national scholarly communities in the Mediterranean. The paper lays out the broad questions of the history of the Stabiae villas in order to guide the research questions at the time of the outset of excavation in 2007.

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Expertise

Architectural History (Greek and Roman, Modern), Art History (Greek and Roman), Architectural Design (introductory, structural and historical design), classical archaeology, international cultural properties management.

Professor Howe has an international reputation as an architectural historian (ancient and modern), architectural design teacher, archaeologist (Greek and Roman), art historian (Greek, Roman, post-Modern) and cultural properties manager of “archaeological parks.” He has been chair of the Art Department (1990-97), and of Art History (2004-) and since 2001 has been coordinator general of the Restoring Ancient Stabiae Foundation near Pompeii, Italy, serving as chief coordinator of archaeology and architectural planning.

As an architectural historian he has written on the “Invention of the Doric Order” of Greek architecture, the creation of the fundamental rules of aesthetics of Greek architecture and hence of Western architecture  (Harvard Diss 1985), and is the only person since the sixteenth century to have attempted a full illustration and commentary of Vitruvius, “The Ten Books on Architecture”, (translation, Ingrid Rowland, Cambridge, 1999), the only Roman text on architecture to have survived from antiquity, and generally recognized as the most influential text on architecture in the Western world.

As a design teacher he has introduced at Southwestern the first regular academic program in American architectural education to make historical and classical architecture a regular part of the  curriculum (1985, early in the “Post-Modern” movement), and together with ceramicist/designer Prof. Patrick Veerkamp, this program has sent students to graduate programs at Harvard, Yale, UCLA, University of Texas, Austin, Texas A & M, and Rhode Island School of Design.

As an archaeologist he has excavated in Greece, Turkey (Harvard-Cornell’s excavation at Sardis), and co-directed or directed excavations on Roman sites in Britain, Rome and currently at Stabiae near Pompeii.

As a cultural properties manager he authored the 2001 Master Plan for the creation of a large archaeological park at the site of Stabiae, the largest collection of well-preserved enormous seaside Roman villas in the entire Mediterranean, four km from Pompeii. He continues as the coordinator general of that project (general coordinator for design, planning and archaeology, www.stabiae.org), which has begun constructing buildings and fielding archaeological field teams since 2006. In 2010 he coordinated a field season with 110 archaeologists and students from seven teams and five countries, including the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia, while excavating the largest well preserved Roman formal garden ever found. As part of that project he has co-curated exhibits of Roman frescoes from Stabiae which have traveled to the U.S. (nine cities, 2004-08, including the Smithsonian, Washington, D.C., San Diego and Dallas), to the Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Hong Kong and Ravenna, Italy. He is also co-leading the RAS Foundation’s development of the international academic program for the hundred-room Vesuvian Institute in modern Castellammare di Stabia, the first large international humanities research institute in Italy south or Rome.

As a professor, he believes in explaining things until he understand them himself, then listen to the student’s understanding of them, and then go from there. It’s up to students what he does next.

Howe is a Phi Beta Kappa member and was named Marquis’ Who’s Who in America in 2003.

Education

MA, PhD, Harvard University 1985
MArch Program, Harvard University, Graduate School of Design 1973
B.A., Lawrence University 1971

  • Professor Howe has an international reputation as an architectural historian (ancient and modern), architectural design teacher, archaeologist (Greek and Roman), art historian (Greek, Roman, post-Modern) and cultural properties manager of “archaeological parks.” He has been chair of the Art Department (1990-97), and of Art History (2004-) and since 2001 has been coordinator general of the Restoring Ancient Stabiae Foundation near Pompeii, Italy, serving as chief coordinator of archaeology and architectural planning.

    As an architectural historian he has written on the “Invention of the Doric Order” of Greek architecture, the creation of the fundamental rules of aesthetics of Greek architecture and hence of Western architecture  (Harvard Diss 1985), and is the only person since the sixteenth century to have attempted a full illustration and commentary of Vitruvius, “The Ten Books on Architecture”, (translation, Ingrid Rowland, Cambridge, 1999), the only Roman text on architecture to have survived from antiquity, and generally recognized as the most influential text on architecture in the Western world.

    As a design teacher he has introduced at Southwestern the first regular academic program in American architectural education to make historical and classical architecture a regular part of the  curriculum (1985, early in the “Post-Modern” movement), and together with ceramicist/designer Prof. Patrick Veerkamp, this program has sent students to graduate programs at Harvard, Yale, UCLA, University of Texas, Austin, Texas A & M, and Rhode Island School of Design.

    As an archaeologist he has excavated in Greece, Turkey (Harvard-Cornell’s excavation at Sardis), and co-directed or directed excavations on Roman sites in Britain, Rome and currently at Stabiae near Pompeii.

    As a cultural properties manager he authored the 2001 Master Plan for the creation of a large archaeological park at the site of Stabiae, the largest collection of well-preserved enormous seaside Roman villas in the entire Mediterranean, four km from Pompeii. He continues as the coordinator general of that project (general coordinator for design, planning and archaeology, www.stabiae.org), which has begun constructing buildings and fielding archaeological field teams since 2006. In 2010 he coordinated a field season with 110 archaeologists and students from seven teams and five countries, including the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia, while excavating the largest well preserved Roman formal garden ever found. As part of that project he has co-curated exhibits of Roman frescoes from Stabiae which have traveled to the U.S. (nine cities, 2004-08, including the Smithsonian, Washington, D.C., San Diego and Dallas), to the Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Hong Kong and Ravenna, Italy. He is also co-leading the RAS Foundation’s development of the international academic program for the hundred-room Vesuvian Institute in modern Castellammare di Stabia, the first large international humanities research institute in Italy south or Rome.

    As a professor, he believes in explaining things until he understand them himself, then listen to the student’s understanding of them, and then go from there. It’s up to students what he does next.

    Howe is a Phi Beta Kappa member and was named Marquis’ Who’s Who in America in 2003.

    Education

    MA, PhD, Harvard University 1985
    MArch Program, Harvard University, Graduate School of Design 1973
    B.A., Lawrence University 1971

  • Since 1998/2000 Prof. Howe has been increasingly involved in the leadership to create a large “archaelogical park” on the site of the ancient Roman villas of Stabia near Pompeii. This has involved, in addition to his experience as an archaeologist, work as a master planner, consultant building designer, public spokesman to press, TV and museum exhibitions, manager of international cultural properties, and developer of curricula for an international study and research institute in Castellammare di Stabia. His work on studying the social power structures behind Roman architecture continues with a book on the Roman Forum and meshes with his work on the elite Roman villas of Stabiae.

    Thomas Howe in Stabiae

    Current Work in Progress:

    - Forum and Fora: The Development of Political Space in the Roman Republic, A short educational and theoretical book of c. 50,000-80,000 words., with fifty illustrations. Contract with Cambridge University Press, for the series “Cambridge Introduction to Classical Civilization, Due Dec. 2010 

    -The Order of Architecture: a selective and theoretical history of the aesthetics of the classical “orders” of Western architecture,supported by a grant from the Graham Foundation, Chicago, Illinois, 1998-99. Letter of interest from Cambridge University Press. Supported by Brown Distinguished Research Professorship, Southwestern University, 2000-2005.

     -The Juggernaut of Humanism: The Not-so-Absent Center of the Hyper-Culture of Post-Modernism

    -The History and Concept of the Archaeological Park preliminary chapter, “The Archaeological Park at Stabiae and the Cultural Panorama of Roman Campania,” appearing in ?Progettare il Paessaggio Archeologica/Designing the Archaeological Landscape, ed. Alessandro Camiz, Univ. di Roma la Sapienza, Facolta? di Architettura, 2010/11

    -“Powerhouses of Stabiae” script/presenter of one hour documentary for PBS, WPBT-TV, in process.

    -Publication of the archaeological investigation of the formal garden of the Great Peristyle of the Villa Arianna, Stabiae.

  • Books:

    The Invention of the Doric Order, Harvard, 1985. (University Microfilms, c. 150 copies sold) Dissertation.

    The Romano-British Villa at Castle Copse, Great Bedwyn, edited by Eric Hostetter and Thomas Noble Howe, (Indiana University Press, Bloomington, Indiana, 1997)(author for stratigraphy and architecture).

    Vitruvius, Ten Books on Architecture: Commentary and illustrations for a new translation by Ingrid D. Rowland (University of Chicago), Cambridge University Press, 1999.

    In Stabiano: Exploring the Seaside Villas of the Roman Elite, [exhibition catalogue], co-editor with Soprintendenza Archeologica di Pompei, (Editrice Longobardi, Castellammare di Stabia, 2004).

    Articles, a selection:

    A variety of publications in English and Italian on Hellenistic architecture (The Artemis Temple at Sardis), theories of developmental patterns in Greek architecture, aesthetics of classical orders, theories and practice of the Roman architect Vitruvius, Renaissance development of the “orders,” and archeological reports of projects in Turkey, Britain, Rome and the Vesuvian area, Italy

    “The Toichobate Curvature of the Artemis Temple of Sardis and the End of the Hellenistic Tradition of Temple Design,” for the Williams Symposium on Classical Architecture, April 2-4, 1993, to be published in the second volume of the Williams Symposium Series (1999?).

    “The Classical Orders in Hellenistic and Roman Architecture,” for the Encyclopedia of Near Eastern Archaeology, Dec. 1993

    “Composizione retorica e composizione architettonica nell’ ambiente di Poliziano: ordo e canone nell’estetica di Bramante,” for Istituto Umanistica Francesco Petrarca, Montepulciano, Poliziano e il suo tempo, July 20, 1994, published in the acts of the conference, 1996.

    “Le opportunita per un parco archeologico sulle ville antiche di Castellammare di Stabiae,” Conference on the occasion of the bi-sesquicentennial of the opening of excavations at ancient Stabiae, March 25-27, 2000, Castellammare di Stabia, (Naples, 2002)

    “Sketching on the Landscape of History with Light Structures,” invited speaker to an international conference on the roofing, protection and management of archaeological sites, sponsored by the World Monuments Fund, Pompeii, Nov. 20-22, 2003. Abstract published in final report, by WMF.

    “Inquadramento storico-archeologico,” In: Recupero e valorizzazione del sito archeologico di Stabiae, Castellammare di Stabia (NA), (supported by: Fondi Misura 3.16 P.O.R. Campania 2000/2006), eds. Prof. Geol. Maurizio de Gennaro; Responsabili Progetto: Prof. Geol. Vincenzo Morra, Prof. Maurizio Fedi, Consulenti: Geol. Mariano Mercurio, Prof. Thomas Noble Howe, Dr.ssa Margaret Sargent Watters, pp. 31-56. (interim digital publication by Region of Campania). Nov. 2008.

    “Il Fascino Discreto di Stabiae, Archeologia Vesuviana” with Giovanna Bonifacio, Pietro Giovanni Guzzo, Thomas Howe, Luciana Jacobelli, Ferdinando Spagnuolo: Archeologica Viva, Rivista: N. 134-2009 mese: Marzo-Aprile, pp. 20-31.(summary at: http://www.archeologiaviva.it/index.php/article/1599/IL-FASCINO-DISCRETO-DI-STABIA.html)

    Book Chapter: “The Archaeological Park at Stabiae and the Cultural Panorama of Roman Campania,” in Progettare il Paessaggio Archeologico/Designing the Archaeological Landscape, ed. Alessandro Camiz, Atti del Convegno Internazionale, 23 gennaio 2008, Castel Madama, Castello Orsini, Sala Baronale, Sapienza, Universita’ di Roma, (Rome, 2010?).

  • Selected Curated Exhibits:

    -In Stabiano: Exploring the Ancient Seaside Villas of the Roman Elite, April 26-Nov. 1, 2004, with a subsequent four year tour of U.S. museums managed by International Art and Artists, [senior co-curator and designer, with the Soprintendenza Archeologica di Pompei and RAS staff.]. Reviewed in Archaeology, Sept.-Oct., 2004, p. 54. Toured to Nine U.S. Museums, 2004-2009 (Arkansas Art Center, Little Rock, AR; Nevada Museum of Art, Reno, NE; San Diego Museum of Art, CA; Michael C. Carlos Museum of Art, Emory University, Atlanta, GA; Toledo Museum of Art; Chazen Museum of Art, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI; Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX; Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens, Jacksonville, FL.

    Otium Ludens, Stabiae, at the Heart of the Roman Empire; Also, Otium Ludens, Leisure and Play (Hong Kong), scientific responsibility for RAS Foundation, curated by Superintendancy staff archaeologists: Hermitage State Museums, St. Petersburg Russia, Dec. 7, 2007-May 16, 2008; Hong Kong Museum of Art, Jul. 18.2008-Oct. 5, 2008; Ravennantica, Complesso di San Nicola, Ravenna, Italy, 14 March-1 Nov. 2009. Reviewed in International Herald Tribune, July 25, by Roderick Conway Morris.

    Who Owns Classicism?, co-curated with Edward Lucie-Smith, with Mersad Berber (Zagreb and Sarajevo), Francisco Benitez (Santa Fe) and Edward Lucie-Smith (London), Southwestern University, Feb. 7-March 7, 2010.

    Architectural Drawings from the firm of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, Southwestern University Gallery, April, 1987.

    Facsimile Scrolls from the Taipei National Palace Museum, landscape, genre and calligraphy from Song to Ming Dynasties, in conjunction with the Asia Year at Southwestern, with support from an Priddy Foundation grant, Aug 20-Oct. 14, 1988.

    Rule and Invention: Drawings of Classical Architecture. Drawings of Thomas Gordon Smith, Southwestern University, Nov. 6-25, 1991.

    Exhibited Works:

    Science and Technology in Vitruvius: Illustrating Books viii-x., One-person exhibit, The American Academy in Rome, July 6-27, 1994.

    The Order of Architecture, Open Studio Showing of Preliminary Drawings, The American Academy in Rome, Dec. 29, 1998.

    Creative Works:

    Consultation for architectural program development for the School of Fine Arts: expansion (c 27,000 sq. ft. two phases), Southwestern University, 1991-95.

    Sculpture/Ceramics Studio (7000 sq. ft.), Southwestern University, Georgetown, Texas, built April-August 1993 (Consultant programmer with Group Two Architects).

    “The Mysteries Chamber,” Multi-media installation with Prof. Victoria Star Varner (Southwestern University), and student Scott Maddeaux, Southwestern University, supported by the Mundy Faculty Development Fund, designed 1995; built 1995-98. (Designer for Architecture) Exhibited, Nov-Dec. 2001, 2 Feb. 2010, Southwestern University.

    Restoring Ancient Stabia Archaeological Park, 1998-present:

    • Master Plan 2001, August-Nov. 2001, Italian edition, Feb. 2002.
    • Design coordinator/programmer (“Direttore Scientifico”), Visitor’s Center, the archaeological park at Stabiae, with MaryAnn Thompson Architects, Cambridge/Harvard University, design architect, and Valanzano Partners, engineers of record, Castellammare di Stabia, fall-spring 2003-2004. Construction, Giovanni Longobardi, architect of record, September, 2007-09.
    • global program (five volumes), light structures and landscape vocabulary, The Stabiae project, fall 2002, winter, 2003.
  • Conferences and Events Organized, Selected, Recent:

    AD 79, Co-Organizer, with Carole Bogash, a three-day public conference for Friends of the Smithsonian Institution, May 14-16, 2004, at the Natural Museum of National History.

    Roman Villas in the Mediterranean Basin: History, Archeology, Art, Conference Co-host and coordinator, An International Seminar at Mishkenot Sha’ananim, Jerusalem, December 16-17, 2008, to be published in the Acts of the conference, tentatively Cambridge University Press, 2010.

    IMPERIVUM: The Art of Power in Rome and America, Brown Symposium 32, Southwestern University, Feb. 11-12, 2010. With: Karl Galinsky (U.T. Austin); Margaret Malamud (New Mexico State University, Las Cruces); Edward Lucie-Smith (art critic, London); Edward Luttwak, (Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, D.C.); Alexander Stille (New Yorker, New York Times, Columbia University). Co-curated exhibit, with Edward Lucie-Smith: Who Owns Classicism? February 11-March 7. Concert of ancient music by: Philip and Gayle Neuman, Organographia, Portland, Oregon.

    “The Villas of the Bay of Naples,” Roman Archaeology Conference IX, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford University, March 28, 2010. With Domenico Esposito (archaeologist, Pompei), Paola Miniero (Director, the Archaeological Site of Baia, Bay of Naples), Mantha Zarmakoupi (Freie Universitat, Berlin), John Clarke and Michael Thomas (University of Texas and Oplontis Excavation), and also co-presented paper: “Recent Work at Stabiae,” with Kathryn Gleason, Ian Sutherland, John Foss, Lindley Vann, Meg Watters.


In the News

  • Howe in Stabiea
    Professor Thomas Howe to Present “Strolling with Power: Excavation and Publication of the Ancient Roman Garden of the Villa Arianna Stabiae” at Southwestern January 17

    Howe, Professor of Art and Art History and chair of Art History, will present on his experience of ten years of excavation and study at the largest, best well-preserved Roman garden ever discovered.