Mazel Tov Robert A.M. Stern, a Contemporary Classic

It has been a banner year for architect Bob Stern, the Yale dean and New York designer. His classic-meets-modern condo buildings have won the praises of the brokers and the buyers, setting records this year both uptown and down. Now, he is getting recognition from his fellow architects, as Stern was just named the winner of the ninth-annual Driehaus Prize.

Awarded by the Notre Dame School of Architecture, the Driehaus honors a different designer each year for their adherence to classic forms and methods. (Frank Gehry need not apply.) “More than any other practicing architect today, Bob Stern has brought classicism into the public realm and the mainstream of the profession, reinvigorating it for generations to come,” Michael Lykoudis, Driehaus Prize Jury chairman, said in a statement. “We are honored to have him among the Driehaus Prize laureates.”

In addition to his work on apartment buildings in New York, Stern is responsible for the Comcast headquarters, Philadelphia’s tallest building; residences in Florida, Long Island, and at a number of Ivy League schools; Bed-Stuy’s Excellence Charter School; and the George W. Bush Presidential Library.

The prize comes with a $200,000 check — twice what the more heralded Pritzker pays out! — though it would seem the successful Stern needn’t the money. Indeed, he will be donating the prize money to Yale to support the study of classical architecture, according to The Times. It is an interesting decision, given that the school has always been a hotbed of progressive architecture, espeically under the august leaderhip of Stern, even with his personal proclivities for the past.

Stern told the Gray Lady that it was nice to be honored “not just for a set of pretty buildings, but for a set of values and principles and ideals.”

He expounded on those further in an interview with The Observer three years ago:

Do you think of yourself as conservative architecturally?

Yeah. I am a conservative. In that sense I suppose I’m an appropriate architect for W. Bush’s library. Forgetting politics, I do believe that architecture is a conversation across time. While every young architect and every young generation of architects thinks they have to break the mold, you cannot really create coherent cities, or campuses for that matter like Yale, if every building is the representative of its own unique moment and its own self-invented set of principles and language.

Keep up the good work, Bob!

mchaban [at] | @mc_nyo

Mazel Tov Robert A.M. Stern, a Contemporary Classic