The Architectural League of New York recently bestowed their 2015 President's Medal to Henry N. Cobb, a founding partner of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, at a dinner event at the Metropolitan Club. As the League's highest honor, the medal recognizes a distinguished body of work in architecture, urbanism, art, or design. Architectural League President Billie Tsien, who has also received the Medal, presented the award to Cobb.
Previous recipients of the President's Medal include Richard Serra, Renzo Piano, Massimo and Lella Vignell, Kenneth Frampton, Billie Tsien and Tod Williams, Robert A.M. Stern, and Ada Louise Huxtable.
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"In presenting the award, Architectural League President Billie Tsien remarked:
'There’s a lovely moment that happens from time to time when you look at a person’s face and you can see exactly what they looked like as a child. It is fleeting, and it is very beautiful. Now, often that look happens when curiosity is sparked and with it a sense of wonder. I have been lucky enough to spend some time with Harry, and I have seen that look. He is a person with a great curiosity and a tenacious sense of wonder, and the generosity of a child’s smile.'
She then read the following citation: 'The Architectural League awards its President’s Medal to Henry N. Cobb, with admiration for the truly consequential work he has created as designer, educator, thinker, writer, and leader. We are inspired by his decades-long passion for the art of architecture; by his analytic rigor, manifest in subtle and articulate buildings and penetrating readings of history and place; by the broad and profoundly informed humanist culture that suffuses his writings and approach to education; and by the unbounded curiosity and delight he takes in new ideas, new work, and new talent. Henry N. Cobb embodies that combination of capability and conviction — artistic, intellectual, practical, and civic — that defines the ideal architect.'"
'The Medal was presented to Cobb at a dinner at the Metropolitan Club for over 300 guests. Harvard University President Emeritus Neil Rudenstine, architects Merrill Elam and Mack Scogin, and engineer Guy Nordenson made remarks celebrating Cobb’s built work, writing, and impact on architectural education. Text of these remarks and photos of the dinner are available here.
On the occasion of the event, the League published a booklet that includes ten short excerpts from Cobb’s writings on architecture and the university; audacity; Boston; ethics and architecture; the art of architecture; the city; the design studio; the erasure of history; the practice of architecture; and the Tower and the Church.'
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