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  • A 2016 pavilion designed by graduate architecture students installed at Louis Kahn’s 1961 Margaret Esherick House

    Photo Andrew Saunders, associate professor of architecture

With $1.25 Million Alumna Gift, PennDesign Launches $50,000 Student Prize and Professional Medal for Architecture

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Philadelphia—University of Pennsylvania School of Design alumna Lori Kanter Tritsch (MArch’85) has pledged $1.25 million to establish a $50,000 fellowship for the most promising graduate architecture student at PennDesign and an international medal of excellence for a practicing architect. It is the largest single gift made to the School for fellowships in its 149-year history.

“PennDesign has been home to so many visionary architects,” said Lori Kanter Tritsch, “we want to celebrate today’s visionaries and encourage the next generation to follow their lead.”

Kanter Tritsch has served on the PennDesign Board of Overseers since 2015 and holds a Master of Architecture from the School. She made the pledge with her partner and fellow alumnus William P. Lauder (W’83), who holds a Bachelor of Science in Economics from Wharton and is a Penn Trustee.

The Kanter Tritsch Prize in Energy and Architectural Innovation will be awarded annually beginning in the fall of 2018 to a second-year student pursuing a Master of Architecture degree at PennDesign who demonstrates transformational thinking on the built environment and innovation in his or her approach to energy, ecology, and/or social equity.

“The complex issues of today’s world call on designers to be more forward-thinking than ever before,” said Penn President Amy Gutmann. “We appreciate how Lori and William have embraced Penn’s culture and practice of innovation with the creation of this prize for graduate students at PennDesign who look at the world differently and are creative and collaborative in their approaches to addressing the built environment.”

“Architects have a critical role to play in responding to climate change and increasing equity in our societies,” said PennDesign Dean and Paley Professor Frederick Steiner. “We are tremendously grateful to Lori and William for their ongoing support.”

The Kanter Tritsch Medal for Excellence in Architecture and Environmental Design will be awarded annually beginning in the fall of 2018 to an under-recognized architect who has changed the course of design history, with a particular focus on the areas of energy conservation, environmental quality, and/or diversity. Standing PennDesign faculty will not be eligible.

“The architecture profession can be slow to recognize young talent,” said Winka Dubbeldam, Miller Professor and Chair of Architecture at PennDesign. “At the same time, many established architects never receive the public recognition they deserve.”

Led by Dubbeldam, the juries will be announced in the fall of 2017, and the recipients will be recognized at a public ceremony in the fall of 2018.

Lori Kanter Tritsch completed her Master of Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania in 1985, having earned a Bachelor of Science in Architecture at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1983. She began her career at Eli Attia Architects, New York, focusing primarily in the design of high rises. In 1987, she joined Miller Construction Company, Jersey City, to work on commercial and industrial design projects. Currently she works in New York City designing commercial interiors and undertakes private commissions, largely in high-end residential development. 

Consistently ranked among the country’s top design schools, PennDesign enrolls more than 700 students in 25 degree and 13 certificate programs. Among PennDesign’s renowned alumni are Cecil Baker (AR’67, GAR’68), Denise Scott Brown (MCP’60, MArch’65), Stephen Kieran (MArch’76), Eugene Kohn (AR’53, GAR’57), Barton Myers (MArch’64), Adele Santos (MArch/MCP’68), Mark Shoemaker (MArch’78), James Timberlake (MArch’77), and Charles Waldheim (MArch’89).

About PennDesign

PennDesign prepares students to address complex sociocultural and environmental issues through thoughtful inquiry, creative expression, and innovation. As a diverse community of scholars and practitioners, we are committed to advancing the public good–both locally and globally–through art, design, planning, and preservation.