By Clare Kossler | The Observer
Architect David M. Schwarz was selected as the recipient of the 2015 Richard H. Driehaus Prize at Notre Dame. The $200,000 award, which will be presented at a ceremony in Chicago on March 21, recognizes an architect whose work demonstrates classical and sustainable architecture in modern urban society.
“My goal in establishing the prize was to recognize excellence in architecture that communicates enduring humanist values,” founder and chief investment officer of Driehaus Capital Management LLC Richard H. Driehaus said.
Michael Lykoudis, Driehaus Prize jury chair and Francis and Kathleen Rooney Dean of Notre Dame’s School of Architecture, said the award fosters the classical architectural principles of “permanence, durability, beauty, but also utility.”
“In a world where all you hear is about constant change for change’s sake — a world in which fad trumps any sense of purpose — consumption is the rule of the day; waste is the outcome of that consumption,” Lykoudis said. “This prize basically values conservation of resources and of ideas and investment. Cities are investments in the future.”
Schwarz, who is president, founder and CEO of David M. Schwarz Architects, Inc. in Washington D.C, said the award is “the equivalent of the Nobel Prize for the kind of architecture I practice.”
The Driehaus Prize is accompanied by the Henry Hope Reed Award, presented annually to a non-architect committed to the principles of traditional urban design and development.
This year’s recipient, environmental health expert Dr. Richard J. Jackson, said architecture is closely related to the wellbeing of society and “has enormous influence on people’s health and happiness.”
“When we build, when we create places, we should put people in the center of what we build,” he said.
Schwarz said his firm always considers the impact of its designs on people and the community as a whole, both regarding sustainability and beauty.
“We are very interested in having our design promote community,” Schwarz said. “Architecture can divide people or bring them closer together.”
Some of Schwarz’s more notable designs include the American Airlines Center in Dallas, the Nancy Lee & Perry R. Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth and the Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel, Indiana, Lykoudis said.
Lykoudis said the value of classical architecture and the work of Schwarz and previous recipients of the award lies in its public appeal.
“If a building is loved it remains,” Lykoudis said. “That’s the best kind of sustainability you can have.”
Driehaus said that in recognizing Schwarz and previous laureates, the award complements the principles of the Notre Dame School of Architecture.
“The prize rewards the same qualities in the practice of architecture that Notre Dame emphasizes in architectural training,” Schwarz said. “Educating young architects to build for long-term values, and recognizing those values where they appear in the work of mature architects, are two sides of the same coin.”