2007 AIA Gold Medal Awarded to Edward Larrabee Barnes, FAIA

Honor goes to architect known for giving Modernism a specifically American voice.
August 11, 2010

The Board of Directors of The American Institute of Architects (AIA) recently voted to posthumously award the 2007 AIA Gold Medal to Edward Larrabee Barnes, FAIA, who is best remembered for fusing Modernism with vernacular architecture and understated design.

The AIA Gold Medal, voted on annually, is considered to be the profession’s highest honor that an architect can receive.The Gold Medal honors an individual whose significant body of work has had a lasting influence on the theory and practice of architecture.Barnes will be commemorated at the American Architectural Foundation Accent on Architecture Gala, February 9, 2007 , at the National Building Museum in Washington , D.C.

In describing Barnes, Henry N. Cobb, FAIA, founding partner withI.M Pei of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners , remarked in his nomination, “With characteristically quiet determination, Edward Barnes produced a large body of distinguished built work—some of them too-little celebrated—during his more than 40 years of practice. Although Barnes was modest, perhaps to a fault, and often seemed to operate ‘below the radar’ of critical acclaim, his influence has nonetheless been broad and deep.”

Modest, geometric signature

Barnes was noted for crisp, geometric buildings in both rural and urban landscapes.His work includes:

· Haystack Mountain School of Crafts on Deer Isle, Maine

· Crown Center in Kansas City

· 590 Madison Avenue (formerly the IBM Building ) in New York City

· 599 Lexington Avenue , also in New York

· The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis

· The Dallas Museum of Art

· Thurgood Marshall Federal Judiciary Building in Washington , D.C. ,

· The Sarah M. Scaife Gallery at the Carnegie Institute of Pittsburgh

In nominating Barnes for the award, Toshiko Mori, FAIA, chair, Department of Architecture, Harvard Graduate School of Design, pointed out, “Barnes’ work is held in high regard among architects internationally and is influential in reassessing both the contemporary and future models of architecture.It has a generous sense of proportion spatially which is very different from precedent European models.”

Barnes’ national awards include:

· AIA Twenty-five Year Award, Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, Deer Isle, Maine (1994)

· Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award, Harvard University Graduate School of Design (1993)

· Harvard University 350th Anniversary Medal (1986)

· AIA Honor Award, House in Dallas (1986)

· Award of Honor for Art and Culture, Mayor of the City of New York (1982)

· Thomas Jefferson Medal, University of Virginia (1981)

· AIA Firm Award, 1980

Barnes becomes the 63rd AIA Gold Medalist, joining the ranks of such visionaries as Frank Lloyd Wright, Thomas Jefferson, I.M. Pei, Cesar Pelli, Frank Gehry, Michael Graves and Santiago Calatrava.In recognition of his legacy to architecture, Barnes’ name now will grace the granite Wall of Honor located in the lobby of the AIA headquarters in Washington , D.C.


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