Christine Madrid French is an historian and advocate for the study and preservation of American architecture. She was born and raised in Los Angeles and is a graduate of the University of Utah and the University of Virginia (MArH). She has worked as an historian for the National Park Service in Washington, D.C., the California Preservation Foundation, San Francisco Heritage, and directed the Modern + Recent Past Program at the National Trust for Historic Preservation in San Francisco. She is currently the executive director at Napa County Landmarks. At the University of Florida, Christine taught courses at the College of Design, Construction and Planning and co-directed the first statewide survey “Mid-Century Modern Architecture in Florida (1945-75),” which was awarded a Documentation Award for Excellence by Docomomo-US. Over her career, she has raised more than $2.5 million for non-profit causes in art and architecture. Her book "The Architecture of Suspense: The Built World in the Films of Alfred Hitchcock," focusing on the real-world histories of cinematic structures, was released by the University of Virginia Press and an excerpt of the Villain’s Lair chapter is featured in the October 2022 issue of Vanity Fair. Christine is a leader in history and architecture, speaking at more than forty professional conferences and contributing to seven books and a number of magazine articles.
- Executive Director, Napa County Landmarks. Visit NCL.
- Director of Advocacy, Programs & Communications, San Francisco Heritage, San Francisco, CA.
- Contributing Writer, Vanity Fair. “The Angle of Suspense: How One Modernist Building in Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest Changed Cinema Forever.” Vanity Fair, October 2022 issue. Read Story Here.
- Author, “The Architecture of Suspense: The Built World in the Films of Alfred Hitchcock,” monograph published by University of Virginia Press, September 2022. Buy the book at UVa Press.
- Director of Development & Marketing, California Preservation Foundation. Global reach with more than 20,000 participants for 100+ webinars.
- Director of the Modernism + Recent Past Program at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, a two-year national advocacy and education effort.
- Donations/Development. Leading teams composed of executive directors, board members, patrons, community leaders, and the general public, I have initiated, authored, and executed project grants and gifts funding more than $2.5 million in historical preservation and cultural heritage efforts.
- Project Director of the award-winning Florida’s Mid-Century Modern Resources, 1945-1975, a historic structures survey and analysis through the University of Florida. Project includes statewide collaborations and partnerships to identify and document Florida’s 50 Flagship Modern Structures.
- Presenter and Keynote Speaker at more than forty professional conferences and public meetings focused on architectural history, historic preservation, and the interpretation of modern structures and filmic landscapes.
- Author and Contributing Writer for seven books on architecture and cultural landscapes and six published articles in popular magazines promoting conservation and documentation of historic structures.
- Master of Architectural History (MArH), University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, May 1998. Double major: American Architecture; East Asian Architecture. Thesis Title: “The Mission 66 Visitor Centers, 1956-1966: Early Modern Architecture in the National Park Service.”
- Bachelor of Science, Architectural Studies, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, June 1992. Major: American Architecture.
Honors & Awards
Docomomo US: Modernism in America Awards, 2020 Survey Award of Excellence. “Florida’s MidCentury Modern Architecture 1945-75,” Morris Hylton III, Christine Madrid French, and the University of Florida Historic Preservation Program. This award-winning survey was undertaken to seek out and evaluate structures across the state that were eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. For HP’s project, almost 600 buildings were documented as part of the base-line inventory, with 473 biographies being created for architects living and practicing in Florida. More than 300 companies were discovered that were creating building materials and systems from 1945 to 1975. As a result, 50 “Flagship Structures” were identified as priorities for listing on the National Register. “This excellent model conscientiously included the spectrum of buildings in our cities and incorporates the kind of statewide survey which should be done everywhere,” Awards Jury Member Alan Hess.
Hank Wilson Activist Award, Harvey Milk LGBTQ Democratic Club, June 2023. The Hank Wilson Activist Award was conferred by the Harvey Milk LGBTQ Democratic Club to a group of advocates for their effort to landmark the interior and save the Castro Theatre in San Francisco, CA, including San Francisco Heritage, the Castro LGBTQ Cultural District, Save the Castro organization, and many more inspiring individuals working on behalf of the cultural and architectural history of the community.
Award of Excellence for Historic Preservation & Restoration, AIA Florida, May 2023. Working as a consultant with KMF Architects, Evergreen Construction, IBC Engineering Design Services, RGD Consulting Engineers, and Alers Engineering Group. The team was awarded a citation for their work to restore the historic 1892 Mote-Morris House in Leesburg, Florida, extensively damaged in a fire. This National Register of Historic Places listed residence is now re-opened for public use.
Excellence in Commercial Renovation, Historic Preservation Award, City of Winter Park, April 2016. For the successful rehabilitation of the 1885 Capen House from single-family residential to commercial event and office space for the Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens.
Award of Merit, American Institute of Architects Orlando (AIA Orlando), April 2015. For outstanding service and dedication to the Orlando community while advancing the cause of design excellence.
Outstanding Organizational Achievement Award, Florida Trust for Historic Preservation, May 2014. For successful non-profit partnership aimed at saving the endangered Capen House in Winter Park; awarded to Project Director, Preservation Capen (Christine Madrid French), Winter Park History Museum, Casa Feliz Historic Home Museum, and the Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens.
Certificate of Appreciation, Society of American Registered Architects, August 2012. In recognition of contributions to the profession of architecture and the building industry.
Special Achievement Award, Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record (HABS/HAER), National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, May 1993. Recognizing attention to detail and outstanding organizational and editing skills as a HABS/HAER Historian.