2006 Arthur Ross Award winners
The Mississippi Renewal Forum
William R. Mitchell, Jr.
The Central Park Conservancy
The 2006 winners of the Arthur Ross Awards for Excellence in the Classical Tradition selected by Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk and her fellow jurors together reveal the rigor of contemporary classicism and the ways that modern architectural practice can sustain close ties with the allied arts and crafts of built excellence. They remind us, too, of so many magnificent efforts under way to promote, preserve, and encourage anew the best lessons of the past. The Institute salutes and thanks them all for allowing us the honor of recognition.
When the decisions were final, jury chair and Dean of the School of Architecture at the University of Miami Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk stated, “In this auspicious 25th year of the Arthur Ross Awards for Excellence in the Classical Tradition, the jury chose to emphasize achievements that have had broad public influence by their scale, location, or dissemination.”
Such a guiding impulse reminds us all of the trailblazing civic contributions of the Awards’ generous namesake and co-creator, the indefatigable Arthur Ross.
Besides his devotion to the Institute starting with his early stewardship of Classical America from its outset in 1968, along with support for so many of our publications typified recently by Henry Hope Reed’s The United States Capitol: Its Architecture and Decoration, just a sampling of Arthur’s contributions to the built environment proves the point. I had the pleasure to cite several of these contributions at last year’s Awards gathering and I feel it bears repeating on this Silver Anniversary occasion.
In New York, Arthur has restored two courtyards at Barnard College—coincident with its overall academic flourishing—the Milbank Courtyard and the Arthur Ross Courtyard, along with restoration of its rooftop greenhouse. Nearby is the Arthur Ross Architecture gallery at Columbia University’s Buell Hall—New York’s only place devoted exclusively to the exhibitions of architecture drawn from the models, prints, drawings, and blueprints that together reveal it best.
He made possible the Hall of Meteorites and the new terrace at the American Museum of Natural History as well as across the park the restored garden and terrace of the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. In between is the maturing Pinetum, which helped get the overall Central Park Conservancy effort under way along with the restored Vanderbilt gates beckoning all so elegantly to the Conservatory Garden at 104th Street.
And in like appreciation of the landscape arts is the Arthur and Janet Ross lecture hall, gallery, and conifer arboretum of The New York Botanical Garden, the restored wrought-iron fence surrounding the now glorious Bryant Park, the fence surrounding the Columbus Monument at Columbus Circle, and the Arthur Ross Garden at The Mount Sinai Medical Center.
Meanwhile in Philadelphia, he established a gallery in the historic Furness Library building, while in the District of Columbia, visiting dignitaries enjoy the inner garden of Blair House, and at Hyde Park, the FDR Presidential Library welcomes all with its adjacent courtyard garden.
In Rome at the American Academy — where this year the Institute launches its Rieger-Graham Prize fellowship — Arthur has made possible the restoration of the magnificent library reading room and the Villa Aurelia and its extensive surrounding gardens, as well as an annual fellowship in
And of course the endowment fund that Arthur has established at the Institute generates precious proceeds earmarked for our new director of education, Victor Deupi. It is a terrific beginning toward long-term stability and an inspiring example for one and all; we are pleased that as a result this central new position bears his name in enduring gratitude.
We take this 25th anniversary occasion to thank Arthur Ross for these and so many other contributions by pledging to follow his example in envisioning a humane, classically-informed future for America and beyond.
The story of achievement it tells will continue as far into the future as any of us can foresee. — P.W.G.