Classical architecture and traditional urbanism represent a cultures highest aspirations. Today the timeless ideals that have endured for centuries have become even more essential as a means to preserve our contemporary way of life. Beauty, harmony and context are hallmarks of classical architecture, thus fostering communities, enhancing the quality of our shared environment and developing sustainable solutions through traditional materials, says Richard H. Driehaus, the Chicago philanthropist who has established the $200,000 Richard H. Driehaus Prize for Classical Architecture to honor a major contributor to the field. The Driehaus Prize has been presented annually since 2003 to a living architect whose work embodies the principles of traditional and classical architecture and urbanism in contemporary society, and creates a positive cultural, environmental, and artistic impact.
Past winners include Léon Krier, Demetri Porphyrios, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk and Andrés Duany, and Abdel-Wahed El-Wakil. Their work spans cultures and continents, but it is all part of a continuum that connects communities and sustains the social fabric that ties us all together. As Richard H. Driehaus says: Within the bodies of work of the Driehaus Prize winners, these ideas form an even larger and more important truth about the human experience that the growth of a culture or community does not need to happen at the expense of its history and established value.
The 2011 Driehaus Prize winner was Architect Robert A.M. Stern.