Arts & Letters Announces 2011 Winners

Arts & Letters Announces 2011 Winners

The bronze doors of the Academy.
The bronze doors of the Academy. Courtesy Julia Manzerova

The venerable American Academy of Arts and Letters announced the winners of their various prizes in architecture to an impressive array of writers and practitioners. The judges were Henry N. Cobb, Peter Eisenman, Hugh Hardy, Richard Meier, James Polshek, Billie Tsien (chair), and Tod Williams.

Merrill Elam and Mack Scogin

The Bruner Memorial prize emphasizes the artistic aspect of the trade and the jury selected Mack Scogin and Merrill Elam of Atlanta. The couple has been practicing architecture for more than 25 years. Tod Williams called out the “simultaneously humane and bold” aspects of their work which conveys an “optimistic and joyous” spirit.

William E. Massie and Julie VandenBerg Snow

The award for Arts and Letters, which focuses on a “strong personal direction”, went to William E. Massie of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan and Julie VandenBerg Snow of Minneapolis, Minnesota.  James Polshek calls Massie a “free spirited constructivist inventor” and Billie Tsien noted the “invention within convention” in VandenBerg Snow’s buildings.

Sylvia Lavin and Anthony Vidler

The winners for expressing architectural ideas though any medium were LA based Sylvia Lavin and NYC based Anthony Vidler. Peter Eisenman cited Lavin’s “intelligence in a battle with mediocrity,” while Richard Meier admired Vidler’s “extraordinary contributions to the academic and architectural community through teaching and writings.”