Joshua David, left, and Robert Hammond.
Jeffrey Donenfeld .com 2009 Joshua David, left, and Robert Hammond.

The National Building Museum has awarded its 15th Vincent Scully Prize to Joshua David and Robert Hammond, co-founders of New York City’s High Line. The pair formed the community-based nonprofit Friends of the High Line in 1999 to advocate for the High Line’s preservation and to maintain the structure as an elevated public park.

The original elevated line was constructed in the 1930s to lift freight traffic above the streets of Manhattan, and the last train ran in 1980. In 2004, the design team was selected for its renewal project. James Corner Field Operations, a landscape architecture firm, and Diller Scofidio + Renfro, an architecture firm, joined experts in horticulture, engineering, security, maintenance, art, and other fields, to realize what is now one of New York's most celebrated public spaces.

According to the press release, the prize recognizes David and Hammond for “their work in creating one of the most successful urban revitalization projects to date. Under their leadership, the High Line has become an international model for other reuse projects and community activism. Since its first section opened in 2009, the High Line has served as a catalyst for the re-development of Manhattan’s West Side and has prompted more than $2 billion in investment in the neighborhood.”

Photo by Joan Garvin, courtesy Friends of the High Line

The prize is named for Vincent Scully, Sterling Professor Emeritus of the History of Art at Yale University and distinguished visiting professor at the University of Miami. Over the course of four decades, Scully has greatly influenced architects and urban planners. Those who win the award named for him are distinguished for “exemplary practice, scholarship, or criticism in architecture, historic preservation, and urban design.”

Architecture critic Paul Goldberger won the award in 2012.

David and Hammond will accept the prize on Sept. 30 at the National Building Museum. In their talk “Harnessing Friction,” they will discuss the process of creating the High Line, which involved uniting the forces of real estate, funding, politics, community, preservation, and design.