The American Academy of Arts and Letters has announced the five recipients of its 2013 architecture awards. Winners were chosen from a group of 32 individuals and practices nominated by the members of the academy. They include:
The Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize in Architecture
: Alberto Campo Baeza, Spanish architect and instructor
This award of $5,000 recognizes an architect of any nationality who has made a significant contribution to architecture as an art. "Architecture is the art of the practical," says 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 (for strong personal direction)
: Barry Bergdoll, the Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern Art
: Teddy Cruz, architect, academic, and activist based in San Diego
These two awards of $7,500 each recognize American architects whose work is characterized by a strong personal direction. Bergdoll was chosen for his work with the MoMA’s exhibitions, which “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,” says Kenneth Frampton, a member of the awards selection committee.
Cruz, meanwhile, “taps into a new civic imagination in which informal, adaptive architectural strategies replace top-down development,” notes Elizabeth Diller, who’s part of the judging panel. “His work demonstrates that architecture can play a central role in a broad range of social, economic, and cultural initiatives."
Arts and Letters Awards in Architecture (for any medium)
: Sanford Kwinter, Professor of Architectural Theory and Criticism at the Harvard Graduate School of Design
: Thomas Phifer, who has led his own practice in New York City since 1996
These two awards of $7,500 each recognize Americans who explore ideas in architecture through any medium of expression. "With his erudite and passionate texts on architecture, Sanford Kwinter has become one of the most important critics of our time," says awards judge 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."
Phifer’s architecture is “pure and clear, touching the earth with the lightness of a dancer," according to judge Tod Williams. "It is built with a tectonic elegance and rigor that speaks to the continued importance and development of classical ideals."
All five awards will be presented in New York City in May at the academy’s annual ceremonial. An exhibition of work by newly elected members and recipients of honors and awards will run from
May 16 to June 9, 2013 at the academy’s Audubon Terrace, 633 W. 155 St. For more information, visit www.artsandletters.org