Thai architect Ong-ard Satrabhandhu was announced today as the 2020 laureate of the Driehaus Prize, which honors a living architect for their long-term significant contributions to the discipline and whose work has made a positive impact in “keeping with the highest ideals of classical architecture in contemporary society."
A principal and practicing architect of Chiang Mai-based firm Ong-ard Architects, Satrabhandhu received a bachelor's degree in architecture from Cornell University in 1965 and an M.Arch in urban studies from Yale in 1967. His work has long been dedicated to exploring history within architecture and urbanism, and “reinforcing the principles of the traditional city”. Through his research and advocacy for preservation, Satrabhandhu brought attention to the issues facing Chiang Mai's historic Lanna buildings and temples. He is also the author of “A Tradition of Serenity.”
“(Satrabhandhu’s) early work clearly reflected his modernist education at American schools of architecture — designs of large-scale commercial buildings in Bangkok,” the jury wrote in their citation. “His search for meaning in architectural form led him to explore historical sources that conveyed a sense of place with tranquility, and an environmentally responsible culture of building. This search eventually led him to classicism in its truest sense — the immutable tradition of a given culture and the universal components found across time and place.”
His works range from commercial buildings like a bank and a hotel, to private residences whose designs consider Thailand's humid climate and also allude to the vernacular architectural styles in Thailand, China, and Nepal. “Satrabhandhu’s work is imbued with a remarkable tranquility and beauty at all scales,” said Richard H. Driehaus in a statement.
“The work of Ong-ard Satrabhandhu demonstrates innovation within tradition,” said Michael Lykoudis, Driehaus Prize jury chair and the dean of the University of Notre Dame’s School of Architecture. “His projects have a unique beauty that results from incorporating lessons gleaned from years of study across diverse cultures. The resulting buildings seamlessly blend with the vernacular traditions of Thailand.”
Satrabhandhu will be honored with the $200,000 prize during a ceremony in Chicago on March 28.
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