If it were 1923 and you were Lloyd R. Smith, president of the A.O. Smith Corp., and you wanted to build a copy of Lombardy’s Villa Cicogna on Milwaukee’s Lake Michigan shoreline, or if it were 1928 and you were Mrs. Tobin Clark and you wanted to spend your Hibernia Bank proceeds on a Cotswold Tudor house south of San Francisco with 35,000 square feet of wood floors and a 55-foot grand salon—large enough to import the Budapest String Quartet for the evening—you would hire architect David Adler. Adler was born in Milwaukee in 1882 and grew up to design huge, guiltless palaces for rich people from Massachusetts to California. Tonight, Richard Guy Wilson, Commonwealth Professor of Architectural History at the University of Virginia, takes you through Adler’s many lovely country houses and discusses his career as court architect to the mogul class. You may know Wilson as a prominent Thomas Jefferson scholar or as commentator on the A&E Channel’s America’s Castles series, but you may not know that he grew up in a Rudolph Schindler house in Los Angeles. Wilson speaks at 7 p.m. at the American Institute of Architects, 1735 New York Ave. NW. $8. (202) 332-2446. (Bradford McKee)