Pier Carlo Bontempi and Ruan Yisan accept Driehaus awards for classicist architecture and preservation

Place Toscane in Val D'Europe, France by Bontempi.

Place Toscane in Val D’Europe, France by Bontempi.

Italian architect Pier Carlo Bontempi and Chinese preservationist Ruan Yisan last weekend received the highest honors in the world of classicist design—a school of though that AN previously examined alongside the more widely known Pritzker Prize.

The 2014 Richard H. Driehaus Prize went to Bontempi, an architect from Parma, Italy whose work includes a block recovery plan for that city’s historic center, as well as the Place de Toscane and the “Quartier du Lac” resort in Val d’Europe near Paris.

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Thomas H. Beeby Presented The 2013 Driehaus Prize

Midwest
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
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Harold Washington Library Center in downtown Chicago, designed by 2012 Driehaus laureate Thomas H. Beeby. (Courtesy of University of Notre Dame)

Harold Washington Library Center in downtown Chicago, designed by 2012 Driehaus laureate Thomas H. Beeby. (Courtesy of University of Notre Dame)

Thomas H. Beeby, designer of Chicago’s postmodern Harold Washington Library, became the first Chicagoan to accept a Richard H. Driehaus Prize over the weekend.

Beeby is one of the “Chicago Seven” (Stanley Tigerman, Larry Booth, Stuart Cohen, Ben Weese, James Ingo Freed, and James L. Nagle round out the group) who split with modernism in one of its key proving grounds during the 1970s. His postmodern historicism relies on representational imagery and ornamentation, which won him high praise from the committee that awards the top prize for traditional and classical architecture.

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Thomas H. Beeby To Win 2013 Driehaus Prize

Midwest, National
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
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Harold Washington Library Center in downtown Chicago, designed by 2012 Driehaus laureate Thomas H. Beeby. (Courtesy of University of Notre Dame)

Harold Washington Library Center in downtown Chicago, designed by 2013 Driehaus laureate Thomas H. Beeby. (Courtesy of University of Notre Dame)

One of the “Chicago Seven” architects who broke with the city’s modernist aesthetic during the 1970s and 80s, Thomas H. Beeby, will receive the 2013 Richard H. Driehaus Prize. Considered the traditionalist’s Pritzker Prize, the Driehaus comes with a $200,000 purse and denotes a lifetime of contributions to classicism in contemporary built work.

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Kamin: Humana Resurrecta.  Michael Graves Humana building, Louisville, 1986 (Courtesy AIAArchiblog). Blair Kamin seems to have joined the reconsider PoMo chorus, stating in his Sunday column that the movement “deserves a more sophisticated reappraisal.” The focus of the Tribune tribute was Michael Graves’s Humana building in Louisville, Kentucky.  By drawing comparisons to Johnson’s AT&T building in its unabashed commercialism and to Kohn Pedersen Fox’s 333 Waker Drive for its national significance, Kamin writes that “Graves crafted a tower that could only have been built in Louisville.” The reassessment comes on the heel of Graves receiving the Richard H. Driehaus Prize for classical and traditional architecture in Chicago last month, which in turn came after last fall’s PoMo Conference at New York’s Institute for Classical Architecture and Art. Seems that the classicists are going gaga for PoMo.

 

Postmodernists Are Now Classicists, Driehaus Confirms

National
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
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The Minneapolis Institute of Arts addition designed by Michael Graves (all photos courtesy Driehaus Prize)

The small world of classicist architecture in America–where many former Postmodernists found refuge after the dial of taste turned away from jokey historical references and pasted-on pediments–is working overtime to rehabilitate the 70s and 80s stylistic counter reformation. First was the recent conference, “Reconsidering Postmodernism,” organized by the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, which brought out many of the movement’s old stars for presentations, chats, and a lot of hand wringing. Today, the Chicago-based Richard H. Driehaus Foundation announced that Michael Graves was this year’s winner of the $200,000 Driehaus Prize.

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