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American Academy of Arts and Letters announces 2020 architecture award winners

A Red-Letter Day

American Academy of Arts and Letters announces 2020 architecture award winners

The ultra-efficient North Hall (2019) at the Rhode Island School of Design was designed by NADAAA, a Boston-based firm co-founded by 2020 Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize recipient Nader Tehrani (James Horner/Courtesy NADAAA)

The American Academy of Arts and Letters, the prestigious 121-year-old honor society based in New York City, has announced the recipients of its 2020 architecture awards, a program that first kicked-off in 1955.

In addition to the $20,000 Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize, the Academy’s flagship architecture award, which is bestowed to an architect of any nationality, two (sometimes three) Arts and Letters Awards are also presented to American architects whose collective work is “characterized as having a strong personal direction.” Two (sometimes one) additional awards are given to “Americans who explore ideas in architecture through any medium of expression.” These Arts and Letters Awards, always four in total, that complement the Brunner Prize are for $10,000 each.

Members of the 250-person-strong Academy nominated 34 firms and individuals for this year’s Architecture Prize. An Annabelle Selldorf-chaired jury composed of Peter Eisenman, Steven Holl, James Polshek, Billie Tsien, and Tod Williams selected the eventual five recipients. They are:

Nader Tehrani, dean of the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture at Cooper Union and co-founding principal of Boston-based firm NADAAA, received the Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize;

Brooklyn-based practice Bade Stageberg Cox took home an Arts and Letters Award in Architecture;

Jonathan Tate, founding principal of the New Orleans-based architecture firm OJT (Office of Jonathan Tate), also received an Arts and Letters Award in Architecture;

Kevin Lippert, founder of Princeton Architectural Press, received an Arts and Letters Award in Architecture as well;

John Ochsendorf, a structural engineer, historian, and professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was the final recipient of an Arts and Letters Award in Architecture.

In 2019, the Architecture Prize award recipients were Argentine-American architect and SCI-Arc director Hernan Diaz Alonso; Mario Gooden and Mabel O. Wilson, co-directors of Columbia University’s Global Africa Lab; Eric Höweler and Meejin Yoon, of the eponymous Boston-based architectural firm; Anne Rieselbach, program director of the Architectural League of New York; and, as a recipient of the Brunner Memorial Prize, Pritzker Prize-winning Portuguese architect Eduardo Souto De Moura.