by William Lebovich
Twice in recent months, the National Building Museum in Washington D.C. has hosted a ceremony to honor a tireless international leader in the public promotion of architectural ideals. The prestigious Vincent Scully Prize went to Prince Charles of Great Britain and to Phyllis Lambert, founder of the Canadian Centre for Architecture.
The two award recipients stand in stark contrast: one a high-profile defender of classical architecture worldwide, the other an important champion of modernism in North America. The award was established in honor of architectural historian and critic Vincent Scully, the Sterling Professor Emeritus of the History of Art at Yale University. In the past, the prize had been given to Scully himself, then Jane Jacobs, the Aga Khan, and the partnerships of Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk and Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown.
The site of the ceremonies, the National Building Museum, evokes an Italian Renaissance palazzo with its rhythmic exterior and vast, spectacular interior. It was built in the 1880s to the designs of civil engineer and U.S. Army General Montgomery C. Meigs to house the Pension Bureau and later other government agencies. >>>
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Inside the National Building Museum.
Photo: Julia Neubauer
Prince Charles accepts prize from Vincent Scully at the National Building Museum.
Photo: Vivian Ronay, courtesy National Building Museum.
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