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American Academy of Arts and Letters announces 2019 Architecture Awards

Paula Rego Museum designed by Eduardo Souto De Moura (Marco Verch/Via Flickr)

Last night the American Academy of Arts and Letters awarded its 2019 Architecture Awards to five teams and people. Selected by jurors Annabelle Selldorf (chair), Henry N. Cobb, Kenneth Frampton, Steven Holl, Thom Mayne, Laurie Olin, James Polshek, Billie Tsien, and Tod Williams from 33 nominees, four winners will receive a $10,000 award from the Academy, and Eduardo Souto De Moura will receive $20,000 for the Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize. The winners are:

Hernan Diaz Alonso

The director of Sci-Arc and principal of Xefirotarch, Alonso was recognized by juror Thom Mayne as occupying “a pivotal position from which to influence the future of architecture,” through his educational involvement. Mayne also praised Alonso’s combination of animation, architecture, and design that results in “a dark and aesthetic edge.” His proposal for the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Patagonia received the AR+D Award for Emerging Architecture and a Progressive Architecture Award in 2013, and he has also worked on product design, collaborating with Alessi and others.

Mario Gooden and Mabel O. Wilson

Co-directors of the Global Africa Lab at Columbia University, the duo has focused on the history and complicated politics of placemaking through their work and writings. Juror Billie Tsien said that the work of the Lab “reminds us that architecture and design can and should be a participant in the struggle for a just world.” Dark Space: Architecture, Representation, Black Identity and Begin With the Past were published by Gooden and Wilson, respectively, in 2016, exploring the intersections of African American identity and architecture, and the history and complexities that surround the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Eric Höweler and Meejin Yoon

The principals of the firm Höweler + Yoon have created “some of the most formally innovative and beautifully crafted work today,” according to juror Tod Williams. Shadow Play, a pedestrian-focused public space project, and the Collier Memorial both received an American Architecture Prize in 2016, with Shadow Play tacking on a 2018 AIA Small Project Award as well. Williams called the memorial “a tour de force, integrating innovative structure, form, and meaning.”

Anne Rieselbach

The program director for the Architectural League of New York has “dedicated her life to architecture,” as said by juror Steven Holl. Rieselbach encourages engagement and architectural discourse through the Current Work lecture series and has overseen the Emerging Voices program for over three decades. “She has continuously advocated for the exploration of new ideas in urban design and architecture,” Holl said.

Eduardo Souto De Moura

The recipient of the Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize, de Moura will receive $20,000 as the architect honored for advancing the practice of architecture as an art. Juror Annabelle Selldorf cited the “distinct sense of materiality” inherent in his works, like the Paula Rego museum in Portugal and his 2005 Serpentine Gallery, designed in partnership with Alvaro Siza. His architecture “feels inevitable,” said Annabelle Selldorf, and has “a timeless and profoundly humanist quality.”

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