The American Academy of Arts and Letters announced today the recipients of its 2013 architecture awards. The Academy’s architecture awards program began in 1955 with the inauguration of the annual Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize in Architecture, which is awarded to a preeminent architect from any country who has made a significant contribution to architecture as an art. In 1991, the Academy began giving Arts and Letters Awards (formerly called Academy Awards) to honor American architects whose work is characterized by a strong personal direction. An additional award category was created in 2003 to honor an American from any field who has contributed to ideas in architecture through any medium of expression.
Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize in Architecture recognizes an architect of any nationality who has made a significant contribution to architecture as an art.
Alberto Campo Baeza
Alberto Campo Baeza has been practicing and teaching architecture in Madrid for over 35 years. Through the use of timeless forms like the box and a virtuosic control of light, he has created a body of work that raises architecture to art. He is the 2013 recipient of the Heinrich Tessenow Gold Medal, and has taught at ETH Zürich, EPFL Lausanne, University of Pennsylvania, and Catholic University of America. Notable projects include the Caja Granada Savings Bank, Granada, Spain; Olnick Spanu House, Garrison, NY; Benetton Nursery, Treviso, Italy; Andalucia Museum of Memory, Granada, Spain; and the offices for Junta de Castilla y León, Zamora, Spain. “Architecture is the art of the practical,” said awards committee chairman Richard Meier. “It is the creation of space that we move through and live in, and it must be beautiful and respectful to its local context. The work of Alberto Campo Baeza fully recognizes this and is thoughtful, confident, precise, and meticulous in its seemingly simplistic and finely crafted spatial forms.”
Arts and Letters Awards in Architecture recognize American architects whose work is characterized by a strong personal direction.
Teddy Cruz & Thomas Phifer
Teddy Cruz is an architect, academic, and activist whose San Diego-based studio has been exploring and challenging the politics and economics that drive urban conflict. “With the Tijuana-San Diego border as an experimental architectural laboratory,” said Elizabeth Diller, “Cruz taps into a new civic imagination in which informal, adaptive architectural strategies replace top-down development. Cruz inserts himself between marginal immigrant populations, community-based nonprofit organizations, and political and economic leaders to act on both physical space and urban policy. His work demonstrates that architecture can play a central role in a broad range of social, economic, and cultural initiatives.” Projects include the Casa Familiar: Living rooms at the Border and Senior Housing with Childcare, San Ysidro, CA; the Alter-Terra incubator for science, art, and socio-economic development in Los Laureles settlement, Tijuana, MX; and The Political Equator Meetings, a nomadic urban-pedagogical project that links the specialized knowledge of institutions and the activist, socio-economic, and political intelligence embedded in border communities.
Thomas Phifer has led his own practice in New York City since 1996. His work combines the beauty and simplicity of Modernism with a nuanced attention to the natural environment—to light and landscape and weather. Notable works include the Glenstone Museum, Potomac, MD; Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, NY; North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC; Rice University Brochstein Pavilion, Houston, TX; and Salt Point House, Salt Point, NY. “The architecture of Thomas Phifer is pure and clear, touching the earth with the lightness of a dancer,” said Tod Williams. “It is built with a tectonic elegance and rigor that speaks to the continued importance and development of classical ideals.”
Arts and Letters Awards in Architecture recognize Americans who explore ideas in architecture through any medium of expression.
Barry Bergdoll & Sanford Kwinter
Barry Bergdoll is a scholar of 19th- and 20th-century architectural history, and is the Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern Art, where “he has distinguished himself as the curator of one didactic exhibition after another,” said Kenneth Frampton. “These exhibitions range from systematic reappraisals of various luminaries and movements in the past to the presentation of topics of pertinence to the development of contemporary architecture in relation to society. His contribution on both of these fronts has exercised a seminal influence in contemporary practice.” Recent exhibitions include Henri Labrouste: Structure Brought to Light, 2013; Foreclosed: Rehousing the American Dream, 2012; Rising Currents: Projects for New York’s Waterfront, 2010; and Home Delivery: Fabricating the Modern Dwelling, 2008.
Sanford Kwinter is a New York-based writer and editor who is Professor of Architectural Theory and Criticism at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, where he codirects the Master in Design Studies program. His books include Requiem: For the City at the End of the Millennium, Actar, 2010; Far From Equilibrium: Essays on Technology and Design Culture, Actar, 2008; Architectures of Time: Toward a Theory of the Event in Modernist Culture, MIT Press, 2001; Mutations: The American City, Actar, 2001; and ZONE 1/2: The Contemporary City, MIT Press, 1986. “With his erudite and passionate texts on architecture, Sanford Kwinter has become one of the most important critics of our time,” said Steven Holl. “His ability to assimilate developments in architecture, art, and science today is astonishing. He is a uniquely talented and highly intelligent theorist who raises architecture to a new level of thought.”