The American Academy of Arts & Letters was formed in 1904 on the model of the French Academy. It operates today as a 250 member honor society, and, since 1955, has had an active yearly architecture awards program.
The Academy has just announced its awards for 2014 with its top award The Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize (of $20,000) going to the Italian artist and architect Massimo Scolari for his contribution to architect as art. Scolari had a retrospective of his drawings and models last year at Cooper Union and a pair of his iconic sculptural wings are still visible on Coopers second floor balcony.
The Academy also announced that two Arts & Letters Awards of $7,500 each would go to New York firms Christoff:Finio and Selldorf Architects under the leadership of Annabelle Selldorf for creating work which shows “strong personal direction.”
Finally the Academy gave well deserved awards to Michael Blackwood and Cynthia Davidson for their “exploration of ideas in architecture.”
My antipathy toward 200 Eleventh Avenue was partly on principle. The 250-foot condo with a garage off every unit—“just like a house in the suburbs,” chimed a spokesperson—seemed a flagrant abuse of the New Yorker code of honor to use public transportation, even if it’s an idling town car. And the stainless steel east-facing facade that houses the vertical parking lot presents a largely blank and uncommunicative face to the city. But a tour with architect Annabelle Selldorf made a quick convert of me, and an entire group of design journalists, as we traipsed through some nearly completed rooms in this 61,000-square-foot condo made for 16 duplex apartments (95% sold). Read More