A pair of noteworthy names in the world of architecture and ideas have received two of academia’s most sought-after awards as urbanist Rob Krier and environmentalist author Wendell Berry have been named as this year’s recipients of the prestigious Driehaus Prize and Henry Hope Reed Award respectively by the University of Notre Dame.
The awards separately honor the contributions of important thinkers to traditional, classical, and sustainable urban life and architecture throughout the modern world.
Stating that his ideas “paved the way for a return to the humanist ideal of seeking a civilized life in cities,” the five-member jury cited Krier for his “engagement with a variety of urban settings, clients, and types of projects” which includes a multidisciplinary range of projects spanning from sculpture and painting to town planning and other long-lasting contributions the built environment.
“[Krier’s work] has generated a diverse oeuvre that is steeped in the particulars of specific places: always responsive to local cultures, built heritage, and environmental issues. His work as an artist drives the poetics of his architecture and urbanism,” the citation detailed. “Design, painting, sculpture, architecture and urbanism become an intense, singular art form, capable of inspiring people to understand themselves as being profoundly rooted in their community and in the world.”
Like Krier, Wendell Berry was cited for his groundbreaking pursuit of more humanistic modes of living through creative work. The Kentucky-born poet and novelist has made the ages-old discourse about nature and the city a common theme in his writing throughout his illustrious seven-decade career, earning him a reputation as “a voice of conscience in advocating for the conservation of the miracle and the bounty that is nature” by “proposing a relationship between places and people that honors and protects both.”
“Berry is the bard of rural life in America,” Dean Stefanos Polyzoides said in a statement. “A writer and poet whose work speaks for the Earth and challenges us to appreciate and steward nature as the foundation of our sustenance, our well-being and a reflection of who we are as a culture. His writing and commentary have had an indirect but still profound influence on our built environment, offering inspiration and direction as to where and how nature should prevail over architecture, a fundamental question for our age.”
Both prizes come with a cash reward of $200,000 and $50,000 for the Driehaus and Reed Award respectively. A public presentation of the awards has been postponed for now because of the pandemic. This year marks the first edition since the passing of the Prize’s namesake Richard Driehaus in March of last year.
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