Posts tagged with "American Academy of Arts and Letters":

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American Academy of Arts and Letters announces its 2018 Architecture Award winners

The American Academy of Arts and Letters, the honor society for architects, artists, writers, and composers in the U.S., has announced its 2018 Architecture Award winners. This year’s five chosen individuals and firms were whittled down from an initial pool of 32 by jurors Annabelle Selldorf (chair), Kenneth Frampton, Steven Holl, Thom Mayne, James Polshek, Billie Tsien (Academy president), and Tod Williams. The 2018 Arts and Letters Award in Architecture winners will receive $10,000, and are as follows: Brad Cloepfil, principal of the Portland and New York City-based Allied Works Architecture. In his jury statement, Kenneth Frampton said that Brad Cloepfil’s architecture is “exceptionally varied, with a wide range of material expression.” Allied Works has tackled a number of diverse projects as of late, ranging from the National Veterans Museum in Columbus, Ohio, to a stadium expansion in Portland. Boston’s MASS Design Group was cited for its sensitive projects that strengthen community ties. MASS “challenges architectural preconceptions,” Tod Williams said, and focuses on “how architecture might be used as a tool for healing.” “Architecture is inextricably united to social equity,” added Williams. Most recently the firm has drawn nationwide attention for its striking lynching memorial in Montgomery. Author, planner, and Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation professor Cassim Shepard was cited for his contributions to urbanism. Billie Tsien lauded Shepard for exploring “the unseen lesser-known city that we all inhabit” in her jury statement. Shepard is the founding editor of the Architectural League of New York’s Urban Omnibus, which examines the modern city through the lenses of justice, design, and urbanism. Most recently, Shepard has published the book Citymakers: the Culture and Craft of Practical Urbanism. Bookseller and architectural publisher William Stout “has nourished architecture culture for over forty years,” according to Steven Holl. William Stout Architectural Books, with locations in San Francisco and Richmond, California, highlights local work as well as essential texts. Chilean architect Smiljan Radic has won the Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize, which awards $20,000 to architects of any nationality who have “made a significant contribution to architecture as an art.” Radic “creates strong atmospheric spaces that resonate deeply and transcend the visual,” said Annabelle Selldorf in her jury statement. Radic has been lauded for his clever forms and integration of the landscape into his projects. He was the youngest architect ever selected (at the time) to design a Serpentine Pavilion in 2014, and more recently, Radic was tapped to handle Chile’s contribution to the Vatican’s pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale.
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Academy Accolades

Last night was the American Academy of Arts and Letters' annual ceremonial. The venerable organization inducted new members, meted out awards, and exhibited newly acquired artwork. Among the honorees were many familiar names from the architecture world. Henry Cobb, a long-standing member of the Academy, presented the Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize in Architecture to Michael van Valkenburgh—only the second time in history that the prestigious prize has been given to a landscape architect (Dan Kiley was the other, in 1995). The Academy also inducted Thom Mayne of Morphosis into its membership, citing the convention-defying nature of the controversial architect's work as reason for his worthiness. The Academy also inducted two honorary foreign members, both of them architects: Fumihiko Maki, who needs no introduction, and Alvaro Siza, a Portuguese architect who won the Pritzker Prize in 1992, which incidentally was the year before Maki won the coveted award. Billie Tsien presented three Academy awards in architecture. One went to Stephen Cassell and Adam Yarinsky of Architecture Research Office. "The work they produce is an expression of profound intelligence and their buildings are as sensuous as they are rigorous," read the citation. Another was given to Michael Meredith and Hilary Sample of Mos. Their citation touched upon similar virtues: "Their work is at once cerebral and sensuous... What unites this work is a clear, searing intelligence." Take note. If you wish an Academy award it evidently pays to be both sensuous and intelligent. The final architecture award went to Michael Sorkin, who "has never forgotten that architecture is a social art." Of course, many more awards were given, to artists, musicians, writers. Some of these honorees and their related presenters found it prudent to also offer a bit of a speech to those assembled, either in expression of gratitude or as an occasion for social commentary. But nary an architect parted his or her lips at the podium, whether by request of the Academy or out of demureness from having to share the stage with such eloquent speakers as Garrison Keillor, Hal Holbrook, and Calvin Trillin we can't be certain. Perhaps, though, we should be grateful. Anecdotally, perhaps the most rousing speech of the afternoon was given by Bill Moyers in acceptance of the Award for Distinguished Service to the Arts. He thanked the Academy for recognizing the importance of journalism both as an art form and as a powerful force in support of the arts. What is worth retelling here is that the award he accepted was first given in 1941 to none other than Robert Moses. Humorously, Robert Caro—author of The Power Broker, the definitive biography of Moses—who presented the award had no idea that the "master builder" was ever given the laurel. Aha ha ha.