Urban, Joseph(1872–1933) architect, set designer; born in Vienna, Austria. Pursuing a successful career in Europe as an architect, interior designer, and stage designer, he first came to America as designer of the Austrian pavilion at the St. Louis Exposition in 1904. In 1911 he returned to settle in the U.S.A., first working for the Boston Opera Company, then moving to New York to design sets for the Ziegfield Follies (1915–32) as well as for the Metropolitan Opera. Perhaps best known as designer of the egg-shaped Ziegfield Theatre, he continued to design houses and public buildings as well as interiors, furniture, and industrial products; he also illustrated children's books. Although regarded as a borrower and popularizer of different styles, he had considerable influence on other designers.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.