Established in 1999, the Vincent Scully Prize recognizes exemplary practice, scholarship, or criticism in architecture, historic preservation, and urban design. It is named after Professor Vincent Scully, to honor his work and contributions to the field. For more than four decades his teaching and scholarship have profoundly influenced prominent architects and urban planners. The National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. will present its Eleventh Vincent Scully Prize to architect and professor Christopher Alexander, on Thursday, November 5, 2009 at 6:30 pm at the National Building Museum. Alexander is being recognized for his seminal books such as A Pattern Language and The Nature of Order An Essay on the Art of Building and The Nature of the Universe as well as his efforts toward inspiring students to be more thoughtful design practitioners.
For nearly 40 years, Alexander has challenged the architectural establishment to pay more attention to the human element of design. He became Professor of Architecture at the University of California, Berkeley in 1963, taught there for 38 years, and became Professor Emeritus in 2001. At Berkeley, he had his students design and build structuresâ€”a didactic vehicle for teaching. Alexander was a predecessor for exploring sustainability and the built environment in founding the Center for Environmental Structure. He invented many new building methods, and became known for his extraordinary buildings, not flamboyant, but modest and profound, which have inspired other architects to do likewise.
He has built major projects in California, Japan, England, Oregon, Austria, Columbia and Mexico, all incorporating love of color and ornament, and sensibilities which make people feel at home in a new way. He has published hundreds of papers and several dozen books, and built more than 300 buildings. Also, widely recognized as the father of the pattern language movement in computer science, his work has led to important innovations such as Wiki, new kinds of Object-Oriented Programming, and SimCity. His ideas on generative, human-centered design continue to influence innovators around the world.
As part of receiving the Scully Prize, Alexander will present an original lecture on the need for a new production system, for buildings, communities, and neighborhoods. He will draw from two large-scale examplesâ€”a completed project in Japan begun in 1981 and an ongoing project in Milwaukie, Oregon. The presentation will be followed by a panel with Alexander, Boston Globe architecture critic Robert Campbell and Michael Mehaffy, research associate, the Center for Environmental Structure.
To attend the award ceremony and lecture, register here.
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