March 31, 2016
by Canadian Architect
Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) Founder Phyllis Lambert has won the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize, which recognizes an architect of any nationality who has made a significant contribution to architecture as an art.
The Academy’s annual architecture awards program began in 1955 with the inauguration of the Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize and has since expanded to include four Arts and Letters Awards. This year’s winners were chosen from a group of 35 individuals and practices nominated by the members of the Academy. The jurors were Elizabeth Diller (chairman), Henry Cobb, Peter Eisenman, Kenneth Frampton, Hugh Hardy, Steven Holl, Cesar Pelli, James Polshek, Robert A. M. Stern, and Tod Williams.
The Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize includes a $20,000 award.
Elizabeth Diller said that Lambert, architect, author, scholar, activist and Founding Director Emeritus of the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montréal, “is the conscience of modern and contemporary architecture, protecting its past and advocating for its future as a vital art form.” Robert A. M. Stern highlighted her role as Director of Planning for the Seagram Building from 1954-1958 as “one of the great acts of architectural patronage in modern times,” adding that “under Lambert’s leadership the CCA has amassed an incomparable library and staggering archive of drawings, and has mounted important public programs that have done much to rescue the profession of architecture from inertia and amnesia.”
Current Chair of the Board of Trustees of the CCA, Bruce Kuwabara, commented: “Phyllis Lambert has made an enormous contribution to how we think about architecture and cities. She has raised awareness and standards of research, scholarship, heritage preservation, and design to the highest levels.
The Academy also recognized McGill-trained Canadian Eric Bunge and Mimi Hoang, co-founders of New York City-based firm nArchitects, with one of four Arts and Letters Awards in Architecture. The other Arts and Letter Awards in Architecture go to Andrew Berman, Andrew Freear, and Theodore Prudon. Each $10,000 prize recognizes an American architect or firm whose work is characterized by a strong personal direction.
The awards will be presented in New York City in May at the Academy’s annual Ceremonial. Work by the winners will be featured in an upcoming exhibition on view in the Academy’s galleries on Audubon Terrace from May 19 to June 12.