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2019 Architecture Award Winners

New York, April 16, 2019 – The American Academy of Arts and Letters announces the recipients of its 2019 architecture awards. The Academy’s annual architecture awards program began in 1955 with the inauguration of the Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize and has since expanded to include four Arts and Letters Awards. This year’s winners were chosen from a group of 33 individuals and practices nominated by the members of the Academy. The jurors were Annabelle Selldorf (chair), Henry N. Cobb, Kenneth Frampton, Steven Holl, Thom Mayne, Laurie Olin, James Polshek, Billie Tsien, and Tod Williams. The awards will be presented in New York City in May at the Academy’s annual Ceremonial. Work by the winners will be featured in the Ceremonial Exhibition: Work by New Members and Recipients of Awards, on view in the Academy’s galleries on Audubon Terrace.

Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize
$20,000 to an architect of any nationality who has made a significant contribution to architecture as an art.
Arts and Letters Award in Architecture
$10,000 to an American architect whose work is characterized by a strong personal direction.
Arts and Letters Award in Architecture
$10,000 to Americans who explore ideas in architecture through any medium of expression.
Arts and Letters Award in Architecture
$10,000 to American architects whose work is characterized by a strong personal direction.
Arts and Letters Award in Architecture
$10,000 to an American who explores ideas in architecture through any medium of expression.

Photo Captions: 1: Image © Fernando Guerra 2: Courtesy Xefirotarch
3: Image © Smithsonian Books 4: Image © Dezeen 5: Courtesy Architectural League of New York

Eduardo Souto de Moura’s architecture “feels inevitable,” said Annabelle Selldorf, and has “a timeless and profoundly humanist quality.” Souto de Moura studied architecture at the School of Fine Arts of the University of Porto, and founded his own practice in 1980.  His work has a “distinct sense of materiality,” Selldorf said, and is known for incorporating classic materials and unexpected uses of color. Souto de Moura designed the Serpentine Gallery pavilion in 2005; he received the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2011 and the Wolf Prize in Arts in 2013. His notable works include the Estádio Municipal de Braga in Braga, Portugal (2003), the Burgo Tower in Burgo, Portugal (2007), and the Paula Rego Museum in Cascais, Portugal (2009).

As director of Sci-Arc, Hernan Diaz Alonso “occupies a pivotal position from which to influence the future of architecture,” said Thom Mayne. As principal of Xefirotarch, his work blurs the lines of architecture, animation, and design, exhibiting a “dark and aesthetic edge,” Mayne said.  Diaz Alonso is a graduate of the National University of Rosario in Argentina and the Graduate School of Architecture at Columbia University;  he founded Xefirotarch in 2001, and became director of SCI-Arc in 2015.  He received the AR+D Award for Emerging Architecture and  a Progressive Architecture Award  in 2013 for his Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Patagonia, Argentina. His work has been featured at the Venice Architecture Biennale, the London Architecture Biennale, and ArchiLab in Orleans, France, among others.

Mario Gooden and Mabel O. Wilson are co-directors of the Global Africa Lab at the Graduate School of Architecture at Columbia, which elucidates the nature of the global African diaspora through design, research, and technology.  Gooden is a graduate of Clemson University and the Graduate School of Architecture at Columbia University, and is principal at Huff+Gooden Architects.  He is the author of Dark Space (2016), a collection of essays exploring the intersection of African-American identity and architecture. Wilson is a graduate of the University of Virginia, the Graduate School of Architecture at Columbia University, and New York University.  Her most recent book is Begin With the Past (2016), which chronicles the complex history of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.  The work of the Lab “reminds us that architecture and design can and should be a participant in the struggle for a just world,” Billie Tsien said.

Eric Höweler and Meejin Yoon  “are extraordinary architects, thinkers, and teachers,” Tod Williams said.  They founded their practice, Höweler + Yoon, in 2005; it has grown to produce “some of the most formally innovative and beautifully crafted work today,” said Williams.  Höweler is a graduate of Cornell University. Yoon is a graduate of Cornell and Harvard, and was a Fulbright fellow. Together they are the authors of Expanded Practice (2009),  MY Studio (2009), Public Works (2008), and Absence (2003). Their work Shadow Play received a 2018 AIA Small Project Award; they received a 2016 American Architecture Prize for both Shadow Play and the Collier Memorial, which Tod Williams described as “a tour de force, integrating innovative structure, form, and meaning.”

Anne Rieselbach is the Program Director at the Architectural League of New York, where she “has dedicated her life to architecture,” Steven Holl said.  Rieselbach directs the League’s Current Work lecture series, the Architectural League Prize for Young Architects + Designers competition, and has overseen the Emerging Voices program since 1986.  She oversees the League’s public programming, including publications and exhibitions.  “From the earliest days of the ‘Emerging Voices’ program, she has continuously advocated for the exploration of new ideas in urban design and architecture,” Holl said.


American Academy of Arts and Letters

The American Academy of Arts and Letters was founded in 1898 as an honor society of the country’s leading architects, artists, composers, and writers. Early members include William Merritt Chase, Childe Hassam, Julia Ward Howe, Henry James, Edward MacDowell, Theodore Roosevelt, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, John Singer Sargent, Mark Twain, and Edith Wharton. The Academy’s 250 members are elected for life and pay no dues. In addition to electing new members as vacancies occur, the Academy seeks to foster and sustain an interest in Literature, Music, and the Fine Arts by administering over 70 awards and prizes, exhibiting art and manuscripts, funding performances of new works of musical theater, and purchasing artwork for donation to museums across the country.

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