On March 28, Charles Lockwood, architectural historian, writer and environmental sustainability consultant died at the age of 63, in his home in Topanga, California.
He was known for his book, “Bricks and Brownstone: The New York Row House, 1783-1929,” that both chronicled and furthered the row-house revival that transformed many New York neighborhoods. Lockwood’s love of documenting how cities worked started while a student at Princeton, working on his senior thesis. In the New York Public Library, he had asked the reference librarian about books concerning the building of townhouses in Manhattan. It turned out that there was no book on the subject, so Charles decided to write it. First published in 1973, it became the classic on the topic and remained in print for the rest of his life. (It was revised, expanded and updated by Rizzoli in 2003.) The book became the “brownstone bible” of the New York City revitalization movement of the late 20th century.
Charles wrote a number of books about cities, such as “Suddenly San Francisco: The Early Years of an Instant City” (1978). His real interest, though, was sustainability, which was expressed in publications like “The Green Quotient: Insights from Leading Experts on Sustainability” (2003), a collection of his influential columns in Urban Land magazine. He also explored the world as a travel writer for the New York Times and numerous magazines.
Charles’s last book was “The Siege of Washington: The Untold Story of the Twelve Days That Shook the Union” (2011), with his brother John. He used the writing of the book to connect with his brother in a deeper way—and reconnect with the place of his birth toward the end of his far-too-short life. It also allowed him to get back to Washington to see his mother even more often. He adored his mother and always spoke about her in the most loving manner.
Charles Lockwood is survived by his mother, Allison, his brother, John and his husband, Carlos Boyd, whom he married last September in New York.