Carl. W. Condit, 82, professor emeritus of art history and a noted expert on the history of engineering and architecture, died Saturday, Jan. 4  at Evanston Hospital after a short illness. A memorial service will be held later this spring.
Mr. Condit, a resident of Morton Grove, was widely known for his scholarship on architecture, particularly his research and writings on skyscrapers in Chicago and New York. Although he never studied architecture, Mr. Condit's education in engineering and English, coupled with an avid interest in buildings, gave him a unique perspective on the subject.
Among his many awards was the Leonardo Da Vinci Medal from the Society for the History of Technology, which cited him in 1973 as "the world's foremost authority on the history of building and structure in America." He also received the Abbott Payson Usher Prize from the society (1968) and the History and Heritage Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers (1971).
He was the author of books on the history of the skyscraper, building art in America, the materials and techniques of building, and the impact of American railroads on cities. His studies of Chicago, New York City and Cincinnati architecture are regarded as landmark works in their field, especially "The Chicago School of Architecture" (1964).
His other major books include "The Rise of the Skyscraper"; "Chicago, 1910-1929"; "Chicago, 1930-1970"; "The Port of New York"; and "The Rise of New York Skyscrapers, 1865-1913".
Mr. Condit was active in the preservation movement in Chicago. He was a member of the Landmarks Preservation Council of Chicago and a trustee of the Chicago School of Architecture Foundation.
Mr. Condit joined the Northwestern University faculty in 1947 and held positions in English and the humanities, art and history of science, and history, art history and urban affairs. He retired from Northwestern in 1982.
A native of Cincinnati, Mr. Condit earned master's and Ph.D. degrees in English from the University of Cincinnati in 1939 and 1941, respectively. He received a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Purdue University in 1936.
Mr. Condit is survived by his wife, Isabel, and two sons, Richard and Kenneth. He was preceded in death by another son, Stephen.