February 2013 » AWARDS

2013 Driehaus Prize Awarded to Thomas Beeby

Historian David Watkin is the Henry Hope Reed laureate.

The University of Notre Dame School of Architecture has awarded the 11th annual Driehaus Prize to Thomas H. Beeby, FAIA, chairman emeritus, HBRA Architects, Chicago. The Henry Hope Reed Award, given in conjunction with the Driehaus Prize, goes to historian David Watkin this year.

"It's a great honor," said Beeby. "I have great respect for previous winners. I feel like it's a chain of creativity and because it's based on traditional architecture, it's a chain that goes back a long way." Born and raised in Chicago, where he says "history started at about 1850," Beeby's family also lived in Philadelphia, and then in England, which expanded his view of history.

"I was always interested in art and architecture," he says. "When we came back to the United States, I had the opportunity to study with extraordinary teachers like Colin Rowe at Cornell and Vincent Scully at Yale." He received a bachelor's degree in architecture from Cornell in 1964 and a master's from Yale in 1965.

Beeby first worked for a Modernist firm in Chicago, C.F. Murphy Associates, before turning toward traditionalism and joining a group of architects known as the Chicago Seven that challenged Modernism. He was a founding partner of Hammond Beeby & Associates (now HBRA) in 1971. Beeby also taught at the Illinois Institute of Technology, and was director of the University of Illinois at the Chicago School of Architecture, and the Dean of the Yale School of Architecture from 1985 until 1991. He is currently Chairman Emeritus of HBRA and he continues to teach at the Yale School of Architecture.

During his 40 years as director of design at HBRA, Beeby led projects such as the Baker Institute at Rice University, Meadows Museum at Southern Methodist University, the Bass Library at Yale University, and the United States Federal Building and Courthouse in Tuscaloosa, AL. The Tuscaloosa Courthouse won a 2012 Palladio Award. (See Traditional Building, June 2012.)

Seven of Beeby's projects have received the National Honor Award, the highest design distinction, from the American Institute of Architects, including the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp for Paul Newman in Ashford, CT, the Rice Wing at the Art Institute of Chicago, and the master plan for Paternoster Square in London with John Simpson and Terry Farrell.

One of his most notable projects is the Harold Washington Library Center in Chicago. He describes it as a traditional building based on the architecture of Chicago. "It is a hybrid, not a true Classical building," Beeby states. "It's a genuine expression of Chicago, it is contextual in both form and culture."

Looking toward the future, Beeby says "I would like to see the extreme ideology of last few decades go away. I would like to see architecture merge back into a discipline that includes traditional roots as precedent. To be viable, you have to build all kinds of buildings. It's not an ideological game, it's about competence. Tradition is a very important aspect of the future discipline of superior architecture."

"Tom Beeby has had a transformational role in modern architecture's return to classical and traditional design principles," says Michael Lykoudis, Dean of the University of Notre Dame School of Architecture. "Beeby's recent design of the Tuscaloosa courthouse is a great example of how the rigor and richness of classicism can be used to achieve a sense of place and purpose that will be relevant well into the future."

Established in 2003 through the University of Notre Dame School of Architecture, the Richard H. Driehaus Prize honors lifetime contributions to traditional, Classical, and sustainable architecture and urbanism in the modern world.

Previous winners include Léon Krier, Demetri Porphyrios, Quinlan Terry, Allan Greenburg, Jaquelin T. Robertson, Andrés Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, Abdel-Wahed El-Wakil, Rafael Manzano Martos, Robert A.M. Stern and Michael Graves.

Recipients are selected by a jury comprised of Adele Chatfield-Taylor, president of the American Academy in Rome; Robert Davis, developer and founder of Seaside, FL; Paul Goldberger, Pulitzer Prize-winning architecture critic and writer for Vanity Fair; Léon Krier, inaugural Driehaus Prize laureate; Demetri Porphyrios, architect, author and 2004 Driehaus Prize laureate, and Witold Rybczynski, Meyerson Professor Emeritus of Urbanism at the University of Pennsylvania.

David Watkin, emeritus professor of History of Architecture and emeritus fellow of Peterhouse, University of Cambridge, has taught at the Prince of Wale's Institute of Architecture, and is an honorary fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects. His books include A History of Western Architecture and English Architecture: A Concise History. He is also known for Morality and Architecture: The Development of a Theme in Architectural History and Theory from the Gothic Revival to the Modern Movement, originally published in 1977 and published again in 2001 as Morality and Architecture Revisited.

Beeby will receive $200,000 and a bronze miniature of the Choregic Monument of Lysikrates and Watkin will receive a $50,000 award during the ceremony in Chicago on March 23. TB

 

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