Penning Checks

PennDesign receives $1.25 million gift for architecture prizes

Architecture Awards East News
PennDesign receives $1.25 million gift for architecture prizes. Pictured here: The University of Pennsylvania School of Design (Wikimedia/Daderot)

For school alumni, solicitation emails from the alumni office usually elicit groans, not checks.

University of Pennsylvania School of Design alum Lori Kanter Tritsch (M.Arch. ’85) took a slightly different approach, pledging $1.25 million to her alma mater to establish two prizes for architects. It is the largest single donation for fellowships the school has ever received.

Kanter Tritsch is a career architect who sits on the school’s Board of Overseers. She made the pledge with her longtime partner, William P. Lauder, the executive chairman of cosmetics giant Estée Lauder, who is also a University of Pennsylvania alum.

Part of Kanter Tritsch’s gift will establish a $50,000 fellowship for “the most promising graduate architecture student at PennDesign.” This fellowship, dubbed the Kanter Tritsch Prize in Energy and Architectural Innovation, will be awarded yearly to a second-year M.Arch. student who demonstrates a thoughtful approach to the issues of “energy, ecology, and/or social equity.”

The gift will also establish the Kanter Tritsch Medal for Excellence in Architecture and Environmental Design, an award for practicing architects whose work has been under-recognized but who “changed the course of design history,” particularly in their approach to energy, environment, and diversity. Current PennDesign faculty aren’t eligible.

Juries for the fellowship and medal will be led by Winka Dubbeldam, professor and chair in school’s Department of Architecture as well as the founder of Archi-Tectonics. In a prepared statement, Dubbeldam complimented the gift’s role in highlighting under-appreciated work: “The architecture profession can be slow to recognize young talent. At the same time, many established architects never receive the public recognition they deserve.”

The juries will be announced this fall, and the first set of winners will be announced in the fall of 2018.

Related Stories