Athena Medals

Athena Medal Recipients

Beginning at CNU XIV,in 2006 the Athena Awards have been issued in honor of those who have cast a lasting and enduring influence on the practice and thought of New Urbanism. Named after the goddess - defender of the city, weaver of fabric - the Athena Awards recognize the legacy of pioneers who laid the groundwork for the movement.

Christopher Alexander
Jonathan Barnett
Sinclair Black
Grady Clay
Michael Dennis
HRH the Prince of Wales
Allan Jacobs
Fred Koetter
Leon Krier
Rob Krier

David Lewis
Barbara Littenberg
Steven Peterson
Jaquelin T. Robertson
Colin Rowe
Denise Scott Brown
Vincent Scully
Robert A.M. Stern
Sim Van der Ryn

2012 Athena Medal Awardees


Barbara Littenberg

Barbara Littenberg is co-partner and majority owner of Peterson Littenberg Architecture & Urban Design, whose work has ranged from private homes to large-scale urban design projects. Their work widely published internationally, the firm received a National AIA award for the Clinton Master Plan in New York City.

Since September 11, 2001, Peterson Littenberg Architecture and Urban Design, has participated in an unusual set of urban design projects in Lower Manhattan. Soon after the attack on the World Trade Center, the firm began pro-bono site studies for the nonprofit group New York New Visions. Then, hired by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation as urban design consultants, Peterson Littenberg generated over 15 urban design site alternatives for the World Trade Center site in an intense three-month period, working alongside the board and staff of the LMDC.

Peterson Littenberg have also worked as urban designers for Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Vision for Lower Manhattan. As one of seven teams participating in the World Trade Center Innovative Design Study, their presentation of a distinct urban design approach included many principals that have been incorporated into the final design.

Littenberg received her Bachelor of Architecture from Cornell University. She is licensed to practice architecture in New York State and holds N.C.A.R.B. certification. She has taught architecture as a lecturer at Princeton University School of Architecture and Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture and Planning, and as Associate Professor at Yale University School of Architecture, where she directed the Urban Housing studio and was chairperson of Graduate Architectural Admissions. She has also been a visiting studio critic at the Harvard Graduate School of Design on several occasions. Most recently, she was Visiting Professor at the University of Notre Dame Rome Program.

Steven Peterson

Steven Peterson has a 40-year involvement with urban design and city planning, and is co-founder of Peterson Littenberg Architects with his partner Barbara Littenberg. The firm has done a wide variety of Urban Design projects and has won two major international competitions – the Cité International in Montréal and the redevelopment of the Quartier Les Halles in Paris.

Peterson Littenberg Architecture has extensive experience in New York City, from the Clinton Community Master Plan to the Lower Manhattan Urban Design Plan. Since the events of September 11, 2001, Peterson Littenberg Architecture and Urban Design has conducted pro-bono site studies for the nonprofit group New York New Visions and was hired by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation as urban design consultants.

Mr. Peterson earned a Bachelors degree in Architecture and a Masters in Urban Design from Cornell University. He has taught architecture and urban design, lectured at Princeton University and held posts such as Assistant Professor at Columbia University. He was Executive Director of the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies in New York, and was appointed the Distinguished Visiting Kei Professor at the University of Maryland. He has been a visiting professor at the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard, Yale, and Cornell, and has spent time in Florence, Italy directing the Syracuse University Post-Professional Program in Architecture. He is licensed to practice architecture in New York State and holds N.C.A.R.B. certification.

2011 Athena Medal Awardees



Colin Rowe


Colin Rowe (1920-1999) is widely considered to be one of the most influential voices of architectural criticism and thought of the 20th century. Educated as an architect and a scholar, Rowe was the first to identify the conceptual and compositional links between the work of early 20th century modern architects, such as Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe, and architects of the classical tradition, such as Andrea Palladio.

Rowe’s critical interests and influence extended beyond the confines of the individual work or building and extended to theories of urbanism. In the urban renewal decades of the 1960’s, Rowe, through his writings and the work of the urban design studio at Cornell University, was one of the earliest and most cogent critics of the theories of modern urbanism postulated by CIAM and widely embraced by the design culture of the time. Rowe’s principle critique, Collage City, authored with Fred Koetter, denounced the failures of modernist urban planning, postulating that a meaningful relationship could be established between an architecture and urbanism that embraced continuity with the past and the inherent value of the traditional city. The Cornell School, led by Rowe, gave birth to “contextualism,” a fundamental step in the rejuvenation of historic cities and towns.

In addition to Collage City, Rowe’s writings have included The Mathematics of the Ideal Villa and Other Essays (MIT Press, 1976), The Architecture of Good Intentions (Academy Editions, 1994) and Italian Architecture of the 16th Century (Princeton Architectural Press, 2002), co-authored with Leon Satkowski.

Rowe was elected an honorary fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects and awarded the Topaz Medal by the American Institute of Architects for his "seminal influence on architecture in this country."

Fred Koetter FAIA

Over the past twenty-eight years, Fred Koetter has been recognized internationally as a design leader in the fields of architecture and urban design. Through private practice and his public and academic involvement, he is active in advancing the level of design for academic, corporate, and civic facilities as well as larger urban planning projects.

Notable architectural works include designs for a new federal courthouse in Rockford, IL, strategic planning and building design for a large biotechnology campus in Seattle, numerous buildings and urban design consultation for University Park at MIT, Riverside Residential Community at Canary Wharf in London, and major academic facilities at Dartmouth College, Cornell University, Brown University, Yale University, and the University of Southern Maine.

In the broader urban setting, Fred has developed plans for large-scale city center revitalization areas and new urban districts for locations in North America, Europe, and Asia. Major planning assignments at Boston City Hall Plaza, Canary Wharf in London and Toronto’s waterfront, city center regeneration and development plans for Sheffield, Leeds, and several Yorkshire sites, the Miller Park District in Chattanooga, Tennessee, comprehensive redevelopment plans for Central Beirut, and district development plans in the new city Chinese city of Teda (Tianjin), all showcase design diversity and innovation.

Recent large-scale urban works include master planning and building design for the Sewoon District Redevelopment in the historical center of Seoul and a major expansion plan for the city of Chunchon, Gangwondo, Korea. Both of these commissions were won through international invited competitions.

In the area of academic involvement, Fred Koetter has taught at Cornell, Harvard, and Yale. From 1993 to 1998, he served as Dean of the Yale School of Architecture, where he is currently an Adjunct Professor of Architecture.

Fred has authored numerous articles and books related to architecture and urban design including Collage City, co-written with Colin Rowe. A leader in design through practice and teaching, he is also a frequent design juror, conference speaker, and has for several years served as a peer reviewer for the U.S. General Services Administration Design Excellence Program.

Michael Dennis

Michael Dennis is a practicing architect, scholar, and Professor of Architecture at MIT. His insights and influence have been widely acknowledged in both scholarly pursuits, such as his writings about the city and campus planning, and in private practice. The numerous award-winning projects designed by his firm, Michael Dennis & Associates, range from campus master plans to diverse facilities for higher education clients. Dennis is actively involved with each of his firm’s projects from concept to construction. He also teaches Urban Design and Theory in the post-professional program at MIT, where he is the Director of the SMArchS Architecture and Urbanism program.

Dennis has lectured widely, and is the author of Court and Garden: From the French Hôtel to the City of Modern Architecture (MIT Press, 1986), a book widely recognized for its insightful distillation of the French hôtel as an urban spatial type. Dennis’ writings and projects have provided the foundation for the development of sophisticated spatial and compositional paradigms for the design of urban and campus buildings, an approach at the core of his professional work.

Dennis has held academic appointments at Columbia, Cornell, Harvard, Kentucky, Princeton, and Rice. In 1986, he was the Thomas Jefferson Professor of Architecture at the University of Virginia, in 1988 the Eero Saarinen Professor of Architecture at Yale University, and in 2006 the Charles Moore Professor of Architecture at the University of Michigan. Mr. Dennis is an authority on the development and form of the American Campus and has led campus planning initiatives at several of the country’s leading universities including the University of Virginia, Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Southern California, Ohio State University, Texas A&M University, and Middlebury College. His firm won a 2011 Charter Award for the campus master plan for the University of Texas at San Antonio.

He is currently working on a publication entitled, Temples and Towns: A Study of the Form, Elements, and Principles of Planned Towns.

2010 Athena Medal Awardees


Jaquelin T. Robertson FAIA, FAICP

Jaquelin T. Robertson's career spans decades and an impressive range of scale, from private houses to extensive urban plans. He has been at the forefront of discussions on placemaking that led to the formation of the CNU, and the continued investigation of the transformation of traditional urban form. CNU board member Doug Kelbaugh says of Robertson “As a professional in both the public and private sector and as an academic dean and teacher, Jaquelin Robertson has been one of his generation's most consistent and effective advocates and practitioners of good design and urbanism." In interviews, Robertson often quotes the Roman engineer and architect Vitruvius. He has produced a body of work that is at once innovative and traditional, drawing historic forms to bring life to existing cities and numerous newly settled towns.

Robertson was educated at Yale and Oxford, and began practicing as an architect in New York City where he worked with Mayor John Lindsay, and co-founded the city’s Urban Design Group. In the mid-seventies Robertson directed planning and design for Shahestan Pahlavi, a new capital center in Tehran, Iran. He subsequently returned to his native Virginia as Dean of the University of Virginia School of Architecture, where he published the influential two part treatise In Search of an American Urban Form, in which he argued that the American classical tradition could serve as the basis for reconciling social and ecological considerations in the context of urban growth.

In 1989 Robertson resumed full time architectural practice, founding Cooper, Robertson & Partners with Yale classmate Alexander Cooper. Robertson continues to advance urbanism, planning the rehabilitation of Manhattan’s Hudson Yards, and designing such iconic New Urbanist towns as Celebration and WaterColor, Florida, and the heralded town Val d’Europe outside of Paris, France.

Robertson received the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Architecture in 1998, the Seaside Institute Prize in 2002, the Richard H. Driehaus Prize for Classical Architecture in 2007 and is currently a Fellow at the American Institute of Architects and the American Institute of Certified Planners.

Jaquelin Robertson's Athena Awards Acceptance Speech

Vincent Scully

Vincent Scully is one of the most prominent architectural historians and lecturers of our time. For over half a century, Scully taught some of the nation’s most significant architects, urban developers and politicians as a professor at Yale University. New York Times architecture critic Paul Goldberger, when speaking of his former teacher remarked, "Scully has always taught that the point of architecture is not just the making of buildings, but the making of civilized communities. His thinking has always been based on the notion that architecture is not purely aesthetics, and that the real meaning of architecture is how it can be used to make better places.“

Throughout his career, Scully has provided the intellectual stimulus and impetus for New Urbanism. He understood early on that urban development during the 1950s tended to destroy neighborhoods by the imposition of freeways and superblocks, even suggesting that the principles of modernism were incompatible with communal values. In contrast, Scully has advocated planned, small developments modeled on traditional small towns (like his hometown of New Haven) with convenient public spaces as a way of restoring a sense of community in a car-dominated culture.

In 1992, invited by his former students Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, Vincent and his wife began working at the University of Miami. Commenting on the rise of New Urbanism, Scully said it, “is coming close to bringing to fruition the most important contemporary movement in architecture - the revival of the vernacular and classical traditions and their reintegration into the mainstream of modern architecture in its fundamental aspect: the structure of communities, the building of towns.” Scully’s lifetime commitment to architecture in-context with comprehensive communities is realized through New Urbanism.

He is the author of many books that have helped to shape public discourse about the built environment, including American Architecture and Urbanism, The Shingle Style and the Stick Style and The Earth, the Temple, and the Gods A collection of some of his most influential pieces, Modern Architecture and Other Essays was published in 2003.

2009 Athena Medal Awardees


Rob Krier

A native of Luxembourg, Krier graduated from the Technical University of Munich in 1964 with a degree in architecture. Following his studies, he worked with architects Oswald Mathias Ungers and Frei Otto before becoming an assistant professor at the University of Stuttgart’s School of Architecture. In 1976, Krier began lecturing on architecture at the Technical University in Vienna, a position he held for 22 years. Throughout his teaching tenure, Krier realized a large portfolio, planning projects from inner-city administrative centers to new residential districts, primarily working in Europe.

His work as an architect and urban designer has focused on livening the civic realm and building communities that achieve a human scale. Inspired by the traditional European city, Krier’s style is a clear rejection of the of the post-WWII trend of growing scale and dislocation of buildings from their environment. Robert has always consulted the successful design of the past including the building of small blocks, which he believes, “enables the creation of many different spatial configurations of squares and street sequences that give the individual places their indelible character…” Krier’s commitment to integrating buildings into the urban fabric and reviving vibrant neighborhoods made him a forerunner and now a leader in New Urbanism. His philosophy can be summed up in the thought that, “ultimately the city is inhabited and used not by an anonymous mass of people, but by a community of individuals.”

Krier has worked with the firm Christoph Kohl in Berlin, which is regarded as a leader in traditional urban design across Europe. He joins brother Léon Krier as a fellow recipient of the Athena Medal.

View Leon Krier Award Presentation in Archives

Grady Clay

Grady Clay’s lifetime passion for journalism has strengthened the collective image of the urban landscape. He was editor of Landscape Architecture magazine from 1960 through 1985 and also worked as urban affairs editor for the Louisville Courier-Post. Among New Urbanist insiders, he is best known for a prescient 1959 article in Horizon Magazine, "Metropolis Regained," that critiqued the hollow, highway-connected contemporary vision of the city and described an inchoate rediscovery (primarily among journalists and critics) of the timeless traditional view of the city. In words described as “eerily similar" to the Charter of the New Urbanism, which followed more than 35 years later, Clay defined the principles of a group he identified as New Urbanists. “We believe in the city, they would say, not in tearing it down. We like open space, but hold that too much of it is just as bad as too little. We want that multiplicity of choice that the city has always offered, but is now in danger of losing,” wrote Clay. “I can only say that all great movements start in murmurs and that I can hear murmurs.”

In addition to his contributions as a journalist, Clay was consulted on several occasions for his expertise in the emerging problems associated with suburban sprawl, including appointments to two Presidential task forces by Lyndon B. Johnson. He has served as president of both the American Society of Planning Officials (now APA) and the National Association of Real Estate Editors. Many of the issues discussed by Clay still resonate today, as interstate highways are still being built and suburbia remains the predominant form. As one prominent New Urbanist said, “We can still learn from Grady Clay, and put his ideas into action. Indeed, that is the debt we owe him as New Urbanists, for the name he coined and the movement he envisioned more than 30 years before our founding as a Congress."

2008 Athena Medal Awardees


Sim Van der Ryn

Sim Van der Ryn has been at the forefront of integrating ecological principles into the built environment for more than 40 years, creating solutions driven by nature's own intelligence. Described by the New York Times as the "intrepid pioneer of the eco-frontier," Van der Ryn has authored several influential books, and won numerous honors and awards for his leadership and innovation in architecture & planning. Sustainable Communities, which he wrote with Peter Calthorpe, helped a generation of architects, planners and designers come to terms with the environmental impact of modern human settlement.

Van der Ryn was an early innovator, pioneering systems now taken for granted, from solar roof panels to rainwater catchment systems. He founded the Farallones Institute, which served for several decades as a pioneering center for teaching and research in appropriate technology and sustainable design. As California's State Architect, he introduced energy efficient design and renewable energy to California, sparking a national trend. His thirty years as a theoretician and hands-on Professor of Ecological Design at UC-Berkeley are widely recognized as one of the driving forces behind the green architecture and sustainable design movements.

Allan Jacobs

As an urban designer, city planner, professor, and author, Allan B. Jacobs has lead a life-long career dedicated to building quality urbanism. He received a Bachelor of Architecture at the University of Miami and a Masters of City Planning from University of Pennsylvania before attending the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Jacobs integrated urban design principles into municipal planning when working as Director of Planning for the City of San Francisco from 1967-1975. His emphasis on the revitalization of neighborhood design put energy and life back into San Francisco at a time when most American cities were decaying. He also helped create greater public access to the city's waterfront, now a major economic driver and tourist attraction.

Jacobs moved to the field of education in 1975 to join the Department of City and Regional Planning at the University of California at Berkeley, where he remains today as professor emeritus. While teaching numerous planning and design courses during his now thirty-plus year tenure, Jacobs has also written some of the most seminal books on urban street design. Great Streets (1995) was pivotal in recognizing the best streets in the world, and more importantly, defining the physical design characteristics that make streets successful. In 2003, Jacobs wrote The Boulevard Book with Elizabeth MacDonald and Yodan Rofe. This book focused on multi-way boulevards around the world, and showcased how they can be safe, efficient, and beautifully landscaped.

Jacobs played a key role in the removal of a damaged section of the Central Freeway in San Francisco. His firm, Jacobs Macdonald: Cityworks, teamed with the Department of Pubic Works in redesigning Octavia Boulevard into a multi-way surface road. Today, only a few years after completion, Octavia is considered a landmark project in the realm of urban design and city planning. The multi-way boulevard's ability to increase value to the existing urban fabric will impact urban street design for years to come.

Click here to watch the Allan Jacobs presentation

Sinclair Black

A tireless advocate for urbanism in his hometown of Austin, Texas, and the greater Central Texas region, Sinclair Black has achieved astounding accomplishments after four decades of activism. Black's architectural career began in 1962, when he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Architecture from the University of Texas. The San Antonio native (though he was born in Tyler) then earned a Master's degree in Architecture from the University of California, Berkeley in 1970. He formed his his own architecture firm in 1967, and later formed the partnership of Black, Atkinson, and Vernooy (BAV) in 1983 which, among its many other awards and recognitions before disbanding four years later, received the AIA national award for its design of the North Austin Center.

Some of his more distinguished professional accomplishments include his work in the creation of an Austin business district trolley, limiting the height of downtown Austin buildings, and a plan for beautifying Congress Avenue north of the Texas State Capitol. Through the BAV partnership, Black took part in the design of the Austin Nature Center, Administrative Headquarters for the Texas Commission for the Blind, and the Castellina Townhomes. Black received the American Institute of Architects College of Fellows award in 1984. He also served as Vice President of the Texas Society of Architects in 1986.

Black has also won recognition as a writer through his co-authorship of the book Austin Creeks, a comprehensive study of Austin's natural waterway systems. This study, along with city and federal funding, led to the development of the Shoal Creek Hike and Bike Trail, extension of the Stacy Creek Trail, and the redevelopment of Waller Creek.

While Black has assisted in the design and planning of several projects throughout the country, he remains strongly rooted to the influence and community of central Texas; employing historic architectural features particular to the region into modern design and planning projects. He has earned two Austin Community Foundation Awards in recognition for his civic efforts in preserving Austin's natural and man-made environment, which include his role in establishing the Environmental Conservancy Group to acquire land for Wild Basin Park.

Sinclair Black is a co-founder and principal architect of the Black+Vernooy Architecture and Urban Design firm of Austin, where he currently serves as a committee member of the Austin Downtown Alliance. He helped launch Placemaking Studio: Black+Vernooy's collaborative consulting effort. "It's a way of connecting an urban design firm to larger urban design, and particularly new urbanist design opportunities," Black says. He continues to serve as a member of the faculty at the University of Texas School of Architecture where he has educated future architects of the world since 1967.

"Sinclair Black has dedicated his entire professional life to a series of grand and not particularly popular causes. He educated two generations of architects AND urbanists at the University of Texas.... He has labored in favor of every key idea that is identified with the New Urbanism, and, unlike many other of his contemporaries, has had the courage to join a movement he did not invent. He is a true prophet in his hometown. It is time to recognize his enormous contributions, and to remind ourselves that, in order to prosper and to become grounded in tradition, every town and city in America needs the quiet fortitude and inspiring leadership of a Sinclair Black."

Stefanos Polyzoides, Co-Founder, Congress for the New Urbanism

HRH the Prince of Wales

As one of the most recognizable and influential voices in the world, Prince Charles has lead a public life that is deeply committed to the ideals of urbanism. In 1952, at the age of three, he became heir apparent to the throne of 16 countries. Prince Charles first attended Cambridge’s Trinity College in 1967, studying both archaeology and anthropology. Though designated earlier, his formal investiture, as “Prince of Wales” did not come until in 1969. Prince Charles served five years in the Royal Navy and was promoted to Commander before leaving the armed forces. For the majority of his adult life, he has been a figure dedicated to education, health care, and the arts though his 18 charitable foundations.

One of Prince Charles most deeply involved roles has been in serving as head of The Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment. The commitment of the Prince and this foundation - which advocates sustainable development and time-tested principles of traditional building and architecture – has produced visionary developments in Britain. Poundbury, a community built in Dorchester, is one of the finest examples of new urbanism in England. The project includes 250 acres of compact, mixed-use development, while preserving 130 acres of surrounding green space. Its density ensures that all residents are within a five-minute walk of essential needs and is reinforced by traditional English architecture.

Poundbury has the sustainable form and aesthetic detail to influence a booming building industry in Britain that has no choice but to build urban. “To revolutionize the way we build, we must use responsibly sourced local materials. Mixed-use should be seen as the norm, rather than an exception in urban development,” says Prince Charles.

2007 Athena Medal Awardees


Jonathan Barnett

Barnett is an architect, educator, planner and author on numerous books on the theory and practice of urban design, including Redesigning Cities. An advisor to key government agencies and cities throughout the US and abroad, Barnett has influenced the way cities are designed.

He undertakes a variety of urban design projects and has helped shape the nation’s urban agenda. Barnett is also a professor of city and regional planning and director of the Urban Design Program at the University of Pennsylvania.

Denise Scott Brown

As an architect, planner, educator, and author, Denise Scott Brown is known worldwide for her architecture and urbanism, as well as for contributions to theoretical research and education on the nature of cities. With her collaborator, architect Robert Venturi, she launched a critique of architectural modernism that led to the development of alternative strategies for urban design during the 1960s and 1970s, creatively combining elements of modernism with classical traditions and welcoming the contributions of numerous disciplines into the realm of architecture.

Scott Brown began her education in South Africa at Witwatersrand University and continued her training in London, later earning Master’s degrees in Architecture and City Planning at the University of Pennsylvania. Scott Brown has taught at the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard, Princeton, UCLA, UC Berkeley, and Yale, where she created collaborative research courses in which architects studied problems in the built environment using empirical methods and drawing from media studies, pop art, and social science, thus greatly expanding the scope of architectural design.

As a Principal in the firm Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates, she is involved in the firm's major architectural projects and directs their planning and urban design efforts. Her projects range from master plans and schematic designs for the Denver Civic Center Cultural Complex and the University of Michigan's Palmer Drive Life Sciences complex, to campus plans for Dartmouth College and the University of Pennsylvania, and developing architectural requirements for the Smithsonian Institution's Museum of the American Indian. She authored Architecture as Signs and Systems for a Mannerist Time (2004) with Robert Venturi; Urban Concepts (1990); and Learning from Las Vegas (1972) with Robert Venturi and Steven Izenour. Scott Brown has lectured widely and received many honorary degrees and awards.

Robert A.M. Stern

Robert A.M. Stern is a widely acclaimed architect, teacher, and writer. He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, and received the AIA New York Chapter's Medal of Honor in 1984, as well as the Chapter's President's Award in 2001. As founder and Senior Partner of Robert A.M. Stern Architects, he personally directs the design of each of the firm's projects. Robert A. M. Stern may have been the first architect to use the term “postmodernism,” but has more recently been described as a “modern traditionalist” due to his particular emphasis on context and the continuity of traditions. Stern may be most known for his residential design work; his forte is combining historical styles with contemporary contexts and successfully melding buildings with their surroundings.

Stern is a graduate of Columbia University (BA, 1960) and Yale University (M. Arch., 1965). Today, he is the Dean of the Yale School of Architecture, where he is overseeing many changes and renovations to the school's buildings. He was previously Professor of Architecture and Director of the Historic Preservation Program at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation at Columbia University. Mr. Stern as the first director of Columbia's Temple Hoyne Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture, and has lectured extensively in the United States and abroad on topics of architecture. He is the author of several books, including New Directions in American Architecture (1969; revised edition, 1977); George Howe: Toward a Modern American Architecture (1975); and Modern Classicism (1988). Mr. Stern's particular interest in the development of New York City's architecture and urbanism can be seen in his books, New York 1900, (1983) coauthored with John Massengale and Gregory Gilmartin; New York 1930, (1987) coauthored with Thomas Mellins and Gregory Gilmartin, which was nominated for a National Book Award, an unusual distinction for a book about architecture; New York 1960 (1995); and New York 1880, (1999) coauthored with Thomas Mellins and David Fishman.

Twelve books on Mr. Stern's work have been published including: Robert A.M. Stern: Buildings and Projects 1987-1992, edited by Elizabeth Kraft (1992) with an introduction by Vincent Scully; Robert A.M. Stern: Buildings (1996); Robert A.M. Stern: Houses (1997); Robert A.M. Stern: Buildings and Projects 1993-1998 (1998); Robert A.M. Stern: Buildings and Projects 1999-2003(2003); and Robert A.M. Stern: Houses and Gardens (2005).

Mr. Stern's work has been exhibited at numerous galleries and universities and is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Deutsches Architekturmuseum, the Denver Museum of Art, and the Art Institute of Chicago. In 1976, 1980, and 1996, he was among the architects selected to represent the United States at the Venice Biennale. In 1986, Mr. Stern hosted "Pride of Place: Building the American Dream," an eight-part, eight-hour documentary television series aired on the Public Broadcasting System. Mr. Stern served on the Board of Directors of The Walt Disney Company from 1992 to 2003.

David Lewis

David Lewis, the pioneering educator and founder of the firm Urban Design Associates, came to Pittsburgh from England in 1963 to establish one of the first urban design graduate programs in the country at Carnegie Mellon University, where he is now emeritus distinguished professor. At a time when it was fashionable to focus on the iconic value of individual buildings, Lewis saw a larger purpose for architecture in creating “components in the perpetual rebirth of cities.”

Lewis founded Urban Design Associates in Pittsburgh 1964 in order to develop these ideas in practice and to seek out and refine ways of engaging citizens in the design process. Lewis emphasizes the importance of distinguishing between history and tradition in the practice of urbanism. “History is the study of the past. Tradition is the bridge between the past and the future. Unlike history, tradition is open-ended, forward-looking, and perpetually unfinished. It is the vital language that citizens use when they relate local heritage to what they want their community to become in facing the challenges of change.

2006 Athena Medal Awardees


Christopher Alexander

Christopher Alexander is a professor in the Graduate School and Emeritus Professor of Architecture at the University of California, Berkeley.

He is the father of the Pattern Language movement in computer science, and A Pattern Language, a seminal work that was perhaps the first complete book ever written in hypertext fashion.

He has designed and built more than two hundred buildings on five continents: many of these buildings lay the groundwork of a new form of architecture, which looks far into the future, yet has roots in ancient traditions. Much of his work has been based on inventions in technology, including concrete, shell design, and contracting procedures needed to attain a living architecture.

He was the founder of the Center for Environmental Structure in 1967, and remains President of that company. In 2000, he founded PatternLanguage.com, and is Chairman of the Board. He has been a consultant to city, county, and national governments on every continent, has advised corporations, government agencies, and architects and planners throughout the world.

Alexander was elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1996, is a fellow of the Swedish Royal Society, and has been the recipient of innumerable architectural prizes and honors, including the gold medal for research of the American Institute of Architects, awarded in 1970.

Alexander holds a Master's in Mathematics and a Bachelor's in Architecture from Cambridge University, and a PhD in Architecture from Harvard University. In 1958, he moved to the United States, and since 1963, has lived in Berkeley, California.

"In looking deeply at systems in nature and society, and at human aspirations and needs and in challenging us to understand that improved methodologies for urban design are not enough, Christopher Alexander is asking us to keep the eye on the prize: the creation of enduring, organic places that can grow and deepen in complexity and character over time."

Hank Dittmar, Chairman of the Board, Congress for the New Urbanism

View Alexander Award Presentation in Archives

Léon Krier

Léon Krier studied at the Technische Hochschule, in Stuttgart (1964–5), but left after six months, dissatisfied with its modernist teaching. By the age of 20, he had developed a strong and enduring belief in the classical ideal of architecture.

He worked for James Stirling in London (1968–70, 1973–4) and in between spent a period with Josef Paul Kleihues in Berlin. He taught in London at the Architectural Association School (1973–6) and Royal College of Art (1977), and he practiced in London after 1974. Under the influence of his brother he also became interested in neo-rationalist urban theory and spatial typologies. The socio-economic dimension of his polemic, which deplores the effects of industrialization upon cities, led him to seek inspiration in the urban morphology of early 19th-century neo-classical examples and to advocate a return to the concept of multi-function localities in place of 20th-century zoning, which he considered undemocratic.

His uncompromising attitudes left most of his projects unexecuted, but his polemical writings and numerous superb drawings and photographs of models were published and exhibited. Such projects included a diagonal link design (1974) for the Royal Mint Square Housing Development and a redevelopment plan (1986) with narrow streets, squares and classical buildings for Spitalfields market in London; the Quartiers de la Villette (1976) in Paris; three new civic centers (1977) in Rome; public buildings (1980–83), Tegel, and the Südliche-Friederichstadt redevelopment (iba; 1981; with Maurice Culot) in Berlin; a master-plan for Washington, DC (1984–5); and a new city of Atlantis, ‘a model for the art of living’ (1987) in Tenerife.

Executed works include a belvedere, market Stoa and summer house for himself (1987) at Seaside, Florida. Krier's house combines timber construction with classical detailing, porticos and loggias, and is topped by a quasi-classical temple. In the early 1990s, the first phase of his controversial scheme (1987–91) for the town of Poundbury, near Dorchester, was commissioned by the Duchy of Cornwall.

"What Leo actually did at the crucial point in the '60s and early '70s was that he pulled the trigger and actually drew the city entire. No one for 40 years had drawn the city. The project at La Villette was the first time that all of the elements of the city - the streets, the roads, the civic buildings, the mixed-use, the places to work - first appeared and fortunately for us in highly diagrammatic form. We had completely lost the ability to understand how a city worked, that if it were not as clear as Lavallette was, it would have flown right past us. We had really lost the language… I sometimes think that I would not have become an urbanist if I had not seen Leo's diagrams because I would never have understood how a city is made, what a city consists of."

Andrés Duany, Co-founder, Congress for the New Urbanism