Arthur Ross Awards, 2017

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“A Classical Perspective” (2012), by Carl Laubin, capriccio in oil. (

Back in 2013 I visited Chicago to attend the celebration of that year’s Driehaus Prize laureate, Thomas Beeby. Amid the festivities was a large landscape in oil that included work by all of the first ten Driehaus recipients, commissioned by Richard Driehaus and executed by the British painter Carl Laubin. My joy in closely perusing it – I returned again and again – stirred a desire to post a blog on his work. I never managed to execute it, and have been nagged ever since by twinges of guilt. So I am very, very pleased to see that this year’s winner of the equally prestigious Arthur Ross award in the category of fine art is Laubin himself. (A description of the stages in his effort to produce the above painting is featured on Laubin’s website.)

The Arthur Ross Awards for Excellence in the Classical Tradition are given for the winners’ life’s work. The awards program is sponsored by the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, and this year there are eight laureates, with architect Peter Pennoyer winning for his firm’s work. Last month I wrote in my Traditional Building blog about Thomas Gordon Smith, of Notre Dame; he wins a Ross this year in the category of education.

The other winners are: John Saladino, for interior design; Kevin Lippert and the Princeton Architectural Press, for publishing; Stephen Byrns, for stewardship; John H. Bryan, for patronage; and Norman Davenport Askins, who received the annual special award selected by the board. The other laureates were selected by a jury composed of Andrew Skurman (chair, who sat next to me on the Ross jury of 2011), Stanley Dixon, Philip Liederbach, Barbara Sallick and John Sebastian.

Here is the ICAA description of the winners, with photos of their work.

These Ross awardees have spent their careers manifesting the ICAA mission, which is dedicated to “advancing the practice and appreciation of the classical tradition in architecture and the allied arts. ICAA fulfills its mission through four program areas: education, publications, awards, and advocacy.” Classical architecture and art in the traditional vein are natural allies. Great architecture without the inclusion of sculpture, painting and other fine arts is almost inconceivable. Split them and you end up with sterile buildings whose art – the “turd in the plaza” school – has been segregated from the architecture, deported from the building itself to the vapid plazas that garner zoning height credits for blighted developers around the world. But don’t get me going. The ICAA wants to help the nation and the world move past that.

I am spotlighting Pennoyer’s apartment building at 151 E78th St., in New York City, below only because it is so delightful an example of his work.

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Above (r.) and below: 151 E78th St., by Peter Pennoyer. (Peter Pennoyer Architects)

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About David Brussat

This blog was begun in 2009 as a feature of the Providence Journal, where I was on the editorial board and wrote a weekly column of architecture criticism for three decades. Architecture Here and There fights the style wars for classical architecture and against modern architecture, no holds barred. History Press asked me to write and in August 2017 published my first book, "Lost Providence." I am now writing my second book. My freelance writing on architecture and other topics addresses issues of design and culture locally and globally. I am a member of the board of the New England chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, which bestowed an Arthur Ross Award on me in 2002. I work from Providence, R.I., where I live with my wife Victoria, my son Billy and our cat Gato. If you would like to employ my writing and editing to improve your work, please email me at my consultancy,, or call 401.351.0457. Testimonial: "Your work is so wonderful - you now enter my mind and write what I would have written." - Nikos Salingaros, mathematician at the University of Texas, architectural theorist and author of many books.
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