Courtesy Forbes Massie-Heatherwick Studio The Vessel in New York City, by Thomas Heatherwick Studios

The following is a press release from Massachusetts Institute of Technology announcing the winner of its 2020 Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is pleased to announce that British designer Thomas Heatherwick is the recipient of the 2020 Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts at MIT. The $100K prize awarded at a gala in his honor also includes an artist residency at MIT in spring 2020, during which Heatherwick will present a keynote lecture about his body of work. Heatherwick’s high profile design projects include Vessel, the centerpiece for Hudson Yards, in Manhattan’s West Side; the award-winning UK Pavilion for the 2010 Shanghai World Expo; the Learning Hub at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University; Coal Drops Yard in London; and the under construction Google campuses in London and California (in collaboration with BIG).

Thomas Heatherwick’s remarks upon receiving the award:

“As a designer I’ve always been interested in the design gaps in the public experience of the cities that surround us. So, it’s now an amazing honour to be the recipient of the Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts at MIT; such an extraordinary institution that champions creative problem-solving and connecting new ideas across disciplines and subjects within a community setting.”

The Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts at MIT recognizes innovative talents and is awarded to artists working in any field or cross-disciplinary activity. The $100,000 prize represents an investment in the recipient’s future creative work, rather than a prize for a particular project or lifetime of achievement. The official announcement was made at the Council for the Arts at MIT’s 47th annual meeting at MIT on October 29, 2019 and Heatherwick will be presented with the award at a gala in his honor on April 25, 2020. Past recipients include Audra McDonald, David Adjaye, Hon. FAIA, Olafur Eliasson, Robert Lepage, Gustavo Dudamel, Bill Viola, Suzan Lori Parks and Santiago Calatrava, FAIA, among others.

From MIT Associate Provost and Ford International Professor of History Philip S. Khoury:

“We look forward to welcoming Thomas Heatherwick to MIT and presenting him with MIT’s highest award in the arts. Our School of Architecture and Planning recently celebrated its centennial and has exciting plans for the future. Heatherwick’s exemplary practice will inspire students in the recently created undergraduate major in design, which recognizes the increasing importance of design across scales and multiple disciplines.”

Campus Residency and Public Programs
A distinctive feature of the Award is a short residency at MIT, which includes a public presentation of the artist’s work, substantial interaction with students and faculty, and a gala that convenes national and international leaders in the arts. The goal of the residency is to provide the recipient with unparalleled access to the creative energy and cutting-edge research at the Institute and to develop mutually enlightening relationships in the MIT community.

2020 Public Program by Thomas Heatherwick at MIT
Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts at MIT Keynote Lecture: Saturday, April 25, 2020
Further information about the public program will be posted at