British architectural designer, theorist, and educator Ben Pentreath has been named the 2023 winner of the prestigious Richard H. Driehaus Prize by the University of Notre Dame in recognition of a broad-reaching body of worth of work that has succeeded in encapsulating its namesake’s values of beauty, durability and a commitment to place.
Now in its 21st edition, the $200,000 prize is among the highest total cash rewards in architecture and boasts an impressive group of past winners that include Michael Graves, Robert A.M. Stern, and last year's recipient Rob Krier.
“Ben’s artistry and architecture combine to create urbanism across all contexts while he works effortlessly in harmony with the local landscape, heritage, climate, and culture of the settings where his work is rooted — lending an aura of both authenticity and cultural continuity to it,” the school’s dean and jury prize chair Stefanos Polyzoide said in a statement. “Most importantly, the work conveys a sense of stewardship of the Earth and its resources at a time when an attitude of conservation and investment should be an essential part of the solutions to address the environmental crisis of our time.”
The Pentreath & Hall co-founder is known for his designs in Poundbury and the town planning of new communities Tornagrain and Truro. Pentreath’s name has been very popular in critical circles following a series of noteworthy neo-classicist residential constructions credited with bringing a new verve and vitality to the hard-to-crack and oftentimes conservative world of UK country home design.
“The designs unerringly establish a sense of place, whether new or in the transformation of the existing,” the jury’s citation reads finally. “The durable construction, arrangement of interior spaces to take advantage of natural lighting and ventilation and placement and siting in mixed-use, walkable cities and towns and villages offer alternatives to the current notions of green architecture which typically rely solely on technological solutions.”
Pentreath will be presented with the Prize along with the winner of this year’s Henry Hope Reed Award, former American Academy in Rome director Adele Chatfield-Taylor, at a special ceremony to be held on Saturday, March 26th in Chicago.
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