PennDesign News

Posted October 2, 2018
  • Billie Tsien and Tod Williams, recipients of the 2018 Kanter Tritsch Medal, at their New York studio

    Photo (c) Chris Sturman - Trunk Archive

  • Alexandra Adamski, a third-year MArch student at PennDesign, is the 2018 recipient of the Kanter Tritsch Prize.

Celebrating Visionary Architecture with the Kanter Tritsch Awards

On October 15 in New York City, PennDesign will bestow the first in a series of annual awards recognizing visionary design on the part of aspiring and established architects. 

At a benefit dinner to be held at the iconic IAC Building in Manhattan, Dean Fritz Steiner will award the Kanter Tritsch Medal for Excellence in Architecture and Environmental Design to architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, co-founders and partners of the eponymous New York firm behind the Barnes Foundation and other acclaimed institutional projects. In the course of the evening, Winka Dubbeldam, Miller Professor and Chair of Architecture, will award the Kanter Tritsch Prize in Energy and Architectural Innovation to Alexandra Mae Adamski, a third-year student in the Department of Architecture who will earn her Master of Architecture degree in May.

In addition to the Barnes Foundation (2012) in Philadelphia, Williams and Tsien’s built projects include the American Folk Art Museum (2001), New York; the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center (2009), New York, and the LeFrak Center at Lakeside (2013), Brooklyn, both of which earned LEED Gold status. The Barnes was the first major art and education institution in the country to achieve the highest level of environmental certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. At Penn, Williams and Tsien designed Skirkanich Hall (2006), which houses the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

“Making the world a better place is personal for Tod and Billie. You can see it in their work,” says designer and alumna Lori Kanter Tritsch (MArch’85). She helped establish the Medal and Prize with a $1.25 million gift to PennDesign, on behalf of herself and partner William Lauder (W’83), a Wharton alumnus and Penn Trustee.

The Kanter Tritsch Prize in Energy and Architectural Innovation carries a $50,000 fellowship and will be awarded annually to a Master of Architecture student entering the third and final year of the program. The Prize is intended to recognize transformational thinking on the built environment and innovation in the student’s approach to energy, ecology, and/or social equity.

Of Adamski’s winning submission, Dubbeldam says, “The selection process was not an easy one, given the high caliber of student work at PennDesign. After long deliberations, the jury found that Alexandra’s submission was the most complete in all aspects. Not only was her work exceptional, she also had a very good presentation of her work and a great portfolio design.”

The Medal and Prize will be presented on October 15, 6:30pm, at the IAC Building, 527 West 18th Street, in New York City. The event kicks off Lead by Design: The Campaign for PennDesign, an multiyear initiative to raise $52 million to further the School’s impact. Tickets are available online through Friday, October 5.