Yale-trained architect and urban planner Jaquelin T. Robertson has been awarded the fifth annual Richard H. Driehaus Prize by the School of Architecture at the University of Notre Dame, in Indiana. The prize was created to honor major contributors in the field of traditional and classical architecture.
A fellow of both the American Institute of Architects and the American Institute of Certified Planners, Robertson has had a wide-ranging career: In the late 1960s and early 1970s, he worked on planning efforts for New York City under Mayor John V. Lindsay; in the mid-'70s, he directed the planning and design of Shahestan Palavi, a new center of Tehran, Iran. He formed a partnership with iconoclastic modernist Peter Eisenman in the 1980s and was dean of the University of Virginia School of Architecture from 1980 to 1988. Since then, Robertson has been planning new urbanist communities such as Florida's Celebration and WaterColor with Cooper, Robertson & Partners, the firm he helped found in 1988.
“Cities are the highest calling of architecture, and modernism was a disaster in terms of cities,” Robertson says. His own work is deeply rooted in the classical tradition, particularly that of his native Virginia. “Classicism is the lingua franca of Western architecture,” he says. “Whether you choose to speak it is your choice, but you have to know it.”
This year's jury consisted of critic Paul Goldberger; architect David Schwarz; Elizabeth Dowling, associate professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology College of Architecture; Notre Dame architecture dean Michael Lykoudis; and patron Richard Driehaus. The prize—$100,000 and a reproduction of the Choregic Monument of Lysikrates—will be presented to Robertson in March. Robertson joins Léon Krier, Demetri Porphyrios, Quinlan Terry, and Allan Greenberg as Driehaus Prize laureates.