Blair Kamin is the architecture critic of the Chicago Tribune, a post he has held since 1992. He is a winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism and continues a tradition of accessible but authoritative criticism begun by the Tribune’s first modern-day architecture critic, Pulitzer Prize-winner Paul Gapp. Kamin also serves as a contributing editor of Architectural Record magazine and was part of a team of editors, writers, photographers and critics for the magazine which in 2003 won the National Magazine Award for General Excellence.
Born in Red Bank, N.J., Kamin is a graduate of Amherst College, from which he received a Bachelor of Arts with honors in 1979, and the Yale University School of Architecture, from which he received a Master of Environmental Design in 1984. In 2012-13, he was a fellow at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University. Kamin holds honorary degrees from Monmouth University and North Central College, where he serves as an adjunct professor of art. He has lectured widely and has discussed architecture on programs ranging from ABC’s “Nightline” to WTTW-Ch. 11’s “Chicago Tonight.” The University of Chicago Press has published two collections of his columns: Why Architecture Matters: Lessons from Chicago (2001) and Terror and Wonder: Architecture in a Tumultuous Age (2010). He also wrote the commentaries for Tribune Tower: American Landmark, a guide to the newspaper’s neo-Gothic skyscraper published in 2000, and was co-author of The Gates of Harvard Yard, an e-book published by the Nieman Foundation in 2013.
Kamin is the recipient more than 30 awards, including the Pulitzer, which he received in 1999 for a body of work highlighted by a series of articles about the problems and promise of Chicago’s greatest public space, its lakefront. Among his other honors are the George Polk Award for Criticism (1996), the American Institute of Architects’ Institute Honor for Collaborative Achievement (1999) and the AIA’s Presidential Citation, conferred in 2004 in appreciation of the “rhapsodies and scoldings” that have brought architecture to the attention of Chicago’s public. He has twice served as a Pulitzer Prize juror.