Professor Scully was the most rigorous of scholars, but he also believed that scholarship cannot be siloed, to borrow a contemporary term. He was not only widely read in his subject but also in literature, especially fiction; he was given to salt his lectures and conversations with references to figures ranging from Anthony Trollope to Anthony Poole. Unlike many in his field, he avoided the abstruse abstractions of French deconstructionism, but he was also devoted to the work of Harold Bloom, his Yale colleague in the English department, whose book “The Anxiety of Influence” did so much to help Professor Scully’s own approach to the course of architectural ideas through the generations. By embedding his field within the humanities, Professor Scully made the battle for the soul of modern architecture seem like a conversation among reasonable people.
His pathbreaking first book, “The Shingle Style,” published in 1955, not only put an enduring name to a hitherto undefined direction in American architecture, but also provided a definitive understanding of and appreciation for the formal and cultural differences between European and American architecture, elevating the latter as part of a broad continuum extending across national borders from its then lowly status as a mere footnote.