Yale Bulletin and Calendar

November 22-December 6, 1999Volume 28, Number 14

Vincent Scully

National Building Museum
pays double tribute to Scully

Preeminent architects, writers and other well-wishers gathered at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 12 to fête renowned Yale architectural historian, critic and educator Vincent Scully when he received a double tribute by becoming the first winner of a prize that is named in his honor.

The crowd of over 400 individuals who turned out to honor the Yale faculty member at the awards gala included Scully's colleagues and friends, as well as former students such as monument designer Maya Lin and New Yorker critic Paul Goldberger. An even larger crowd, an estimated 650 people, gathered at the National Building Museum the next day to hear Scully deliver a lecture on "Gardens and Fortifications in the Nation-State."

The Vincent Scully Prize was created by the National Building Museum to honor scholars of architecture, urban and landscape design, and preservation and planning, who have made major contributions in their fields. It is one of the few awards targeted specifically to critics and scholars of architecture rather than to architects themselves. The prize will be given annually and will carry a $25,000 award.

Scully, who earned a B.A. from Yale in 1940 and a Ph.D. in 1949, is the Sterling Professor Emeritus of the History of Art. He has been educating generations of Yale students for over 50 years. Through both his teaching and writing -- he is the author of 15 books -- Scully has been a major influence on planners and designers across the nation.

"He has turned more people on to thinking about what we build, and how we build, than any other person," commented David M. Schwarz, a Washington architect and chair of the jury that unanimously voted to award Scully the prize. "He has been in the forefront of every trend in the built environment for the past 50 years."

The Vincent Scully Prize is likely to "make people listen to the debate about the urban fabric," noted Washington architect and former Scully student Hugh Newell Jacobsen.

At age 79, Scully remains an active force in academia and beyond. Since his retirement in 1991, he has spent the first semester of each year at Yale alternating between teaching a course in modern architecture and one on art history. In the spring semester, he teaches at the University of Miami. He also continues to be passionately engaged in the public discourse on architecture and urban development.


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