Diana Ketcham is a critic and essayist who writes on architecture, historic landscapes, and literature. She is senior editor at Arion Press and the co-founder and director of the nonprofit Grabhorn Institute, located in the Presidio in San Francisco.


She received a Ph. D. from the University of California at Berkeley and is a Fellow of the American Academy in Berlin. Her writing has been supported by a Fulbright Fellowship, by the Rockefeller Foundation, and by the Graham Foundation for the Fine Arts.


Her most recent book is on Herzog & de Meuron, The de Young in the 21st Century: a Museum by Herzog & de Meuron (Thames and Hudson 2005). Her essays appear in the New York Times, The Nation, the New Republic, and ARTnews and have won awards including the Manufacturers Hanover Distinguished Newspaper Criticism Award.


Her book on the rediscovery of a historic landscape garden, The Desert de Retz: An Eighteenth Century French Folly Garden (MIT Press 1994) received the American Institute of Architects International Book Award. She has taught at the University of California, the University of Paris and the Illinois Institute of Technology.


Dr. Ketcham was the Book Editor and Architecture Critic of the Oakland Tribune and serves as a consultant to government agencies and architecture firms on such projects the United States Embassy in Berlin, the San Francisco Asian Art Museum, and the San Francisco TransBay terminal.

Selected Works

On Architecture
The design process of architects Herzog and de Meuron for their award winning de Young Museum. “A fine book about design” --Robert Campbell, Boston Globe
On Historic Gardens
“A richly illustrated history of the garden as shaped and experienced by artists.” --New York Times Book Review
On Writers
Articles on Henry Roth, Tom Stoppard, M. F. K. Fisher, E. M. Forster, Jessica Mitford, Tom Wolfe, Thomas Jefferson, and others.
At Arion Press
Introductory essays to work by Leonard Michaels, Tom Stoppard, Brillat Savarin, and Edith Wharton.