Inspired Places & Spaces – December

Creativity and inspiration can be found in a variety of places, from the natural landscape to the built environment. For this month’s Inspired Places & Spaces feature we asked three up-and-coming leaders of the ICAA to share a glimpse into the spaces that inspire them most.

94 Main Street, Nantucket

Lucinda Ballard, ICAA Fellow: 94 Main Street on Nantucket, one of the two stately Greek Revival mansions on Main Street was designed and constructed by Frederick Brown Coleman, a local carpenter, in the 1840s.  A small hall with a simple staircase belies the astonishing domed ceiling of the circular second floor ballroom, with opulently carved plaster rosettes inspired by the Adam brothers,  a wide entablature, and pilasters with Corinthian capitals. This house represents not only the quality and variety of architecture on Nantucket, born from the extreme wealth of the golden age of whaling, but also the immense skills of the local carpenters and design-builders who were able to construct these showplaces on a tiny, faraway island.


The shore of the James River

Stefanie Mustian, ICAA Fellow: Growing up near the James River in Virginia, I used to go ‘hunting’ for the little pieces of old pottery and plates that wash up along the shore. Those beaches and small fragments of historic crockery always remind me of the extensive history of the area and the beautiful early colonial architecture of the region; it motivates me to develop designs with the same feelings of comfort, simplicity and sophistication.


Rotunda of the Chicago Cultural Center

Mary Kate Spach, ICAA Southern California NeoClassicist President: Standing beneath the magnificent Healy & Millet stained glass dome in the rotunda of the Chicago Cultural Center, I am overwhelmed by the power that art and architecture have to take us out of our me-centric worlds and remind us that it is through the inspiration of others that we, in turn, are inspired.

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Tribute to Sunny Marlborough

Peter’s Reflections
A monthly column by ICAA President, Peter Lyden


I have always credited my love of classical architecture, design, and landscapes to the memories I have from my parents’ homes in England, Wales, and Ireland. As children we are particularly affected by visual impacts, and to this day, I have vivid, sensory-filled memories of walking through foggy English gardens with my brother, shopping with my mother for the Chippendale sofa that filled our living room, and sketching the façade of our very simple Irish Georgian Farmhouse.

It is in part an homage to these memories that has led me to purchase my own Greek Revival Farmhouse in the Hudson Valley. The elegant proportion of its rooms and the way it blends with the natural landscape provide me with a peaceful escape from the chaotic city.

However, I have recently been thinking about how people rather than places that have had an even greater influence on my own love of architecture, interiors, and gardens.

Today I write to you about the late Duke of Marlborough, who died a few weeks ago peacefully in his sleep at his beloved home Blenheim Palace. He was Sunny to those who knew him.

Running and being “the boss” at Blenheim can be an overwhelming responsibility. Updating and maintaining a great house requires many skills, including exceptional leadership and business sense. However, it was a job he cherished. He faced all the challenges before him with spirit and determination and brought new life into Blenheim everyday.

We had wonderful experiences together from renovating Italian gardens, to replacing the statues on the façade, to rebuilding Capability Brown’s dam for the lake. He taught me so much about the history and architecture of Blenheim Palace, as well as other historic homes in England. However, what I remember most about Sunny was his commitment to and appreciation for the artisans and craftsmen who dedicated themselves to excellence on each project. This appreciation for detail and skill has had a strong impact on how I view architecture and art, but also how I approach many different challenges and projects in my life and career.

Sunny awoke each day and was truly happy to drive around the estate, see the progress of each project, and speak to the craftsmen and women about their work.

So yes, there are the visuals and places we experience as children that influence us later. However, there is no greater influence than a mentor or individual who is willing to share his knowledge and passion to influence your life and career.

I hope you all have a Sunny in your life. I know I am perennially grateful to him for my love of houses, interiors, and gardens. He made it all very real for me. Thank you Sunny.

- Peter Lyden, ICAA President

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ICAA Receives the Royal Oak Foundation’s 2014 Heritage Award

The 2014 Heritage Award*
presented by
The Royal Oak Foundation
to the
Institute of Classical Architecture & Art


Acceptance of the Award
Chairman of the Board Mark Ferguson
on behalf of the
Members of the ICAA


November 13, 2014


*The Heritage Award is “given in recognition of institutions or individuals in Britain or the United States that have substantially advanced the understanding and appreciation of our shared cultural heritage.” Previous Award Winners include Winterthur Museum and the Attingham Summer School.

Thank you for the privilege to be with you this evening.  It is a pleasure to be in the company of so many who cherish architectural heritage and who work so hard to ensure its preservation for future generations.

The young architects who founded the ICAA 25 years ago were part of a movement to revive the art of classical architecture.  By that time, the lingua franca of our profession had been lost to progressive ideologies.  The loss diminished our ability to build well, especially within our towns and cities.  We lost confidence in the power of existing buildings to inspire better buildings.  We also lost the oldest and best way to learn design and its timeless principles.  Today, the Institute works to reverse this loss by convening those who care about the built environment to promote literacy in classical architecture.

Our country’s history is rich in examples of inspiration drawn from great English architecture.

When George Washington built Mount Vernon, he turned to the pattern books of Batty Langley, that were popular among large landowners in the colonies.

The grace of our Federal period architecture can be attributed to the resources published by Robert Adam and William Pain.

The drawings of Greek antiquities by James Stuart and Nicholas Revett influence the designs of our stately 19th century public buildings.

Augustus Pugin and Walter Scott sparked our Gothic revival.

Queen Victoria’s beloved Osborne House gave rise to the Italianate period.

The architecture of Edwin Lutyens introduced the charm and comfort of English country houses to the architects leading the design of our new suburbs.

As architects practicing in the 21st century, we are extraordinarily grateful to the National Trust and the Royal Oak Foundation for not only protecting, but refreshing and enlivening many treasures of British architecture.  The Institute seeks to raise both professional and public awareness of great treasures such as those you support.

For practicing architects and designers, we give courses in the principles of classical architecture, using the same language to be found in the great English pattern books of the past.

For the intellectually curious, our architectural literacy courses are popular.  One sold-out seminar is taking place at our midtown headquarters as I speak.

Our travel program focuses on architectural heritage here and abroad.  I recall the itinerary of my first extended visit to England—it was guided by the catalogue of National Trust properties.  Not only did I visit the key monuments familiar from school lessons, but I discovered many new places previously unknown to me.  I now consider these places essential to my development as an architect.  My memories of that trip inspire my work to this day.

The Classicist is an engaging review of current scholarly work and a forum for the talents of contemporary architects, artists and artisans.

The Classical America Book series awards grants to research and develop topics in collaboration with leading publishing houses.

Our plaster cast collection, the core of which came from the Metropolitan Museum and…

from the great Yorkshire craftsman, Dick Reid, serves as an important resource for artists and architects.

Our members’ designs for attractive, low cost housing caught national attention after Hurricane Katrina.

We have produced pattern books for traditional neighborhoods designed to foster community spirit.

Our national Arthur Ross awards, named in honor of our late patron, recognize lifetime achievements in architecture, artisanship, and patronage.

Our eight regional awards recognize exemplary new projects across the nation and give rise to a competitive spirit that brings our community together.

For the young and upcoming architects and artists, we award three month fellowships at the American Academy in Rome for them to study, think, and create.

The Institute and the Royal Oak Foundation share a common heritage and similar values.  You and your mission are an inspiration to us.  On behalf of our members, our board of directors and our president, Peter Lyden, I am honored to accept the recognition you have bestowed upon us today.

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Inspired Places & Spaces – November

This November the ICAA Board of Directors welcomed three new trustees: David Dowler, John Flower, and Michael Lykoudis. In the spirit of our monthly “Inspired Places & Spaces” feature, we asked all three about the spaces that inspire them most.

The Highland Park neighborhood, Dallas, Texas

David Dowler: My inspiration is “home,” meaning the 1920s neighborhood, Highland Park, in which I was fortunate to grow up (and train my eye, unknowingly) and to which I have returned after three decades away in other cities and towns. I am inspired by the well-designed historic homes, the quality of the new houses, and by the 29 parks with old growth trees and meandering creeks contained in a town of slightly over two square miles in the heart of Dallas.


Grand Central Terminal

John Flower: Grand Central Station is my inspiration. I admire its beauty and am constantly thrilled by the energy and efficiency of the space.


The Monastery of Chrysopigi in Sifnos, Greece

Michael Lykoudis: The Monastery of Chrysopigi in Sifnos, Greece sits astride two parts of a broken, rocky promontory. I first visited in the 1970s when there was no electricity or other evidence of industrial society. I stayed there for a week, alone and able to experience the changing light of the day from early dawn to twilight and beyond. At night there were only oil lamps by which to read. Every morning a caretaker would arrive by donkey to cook a modest breakfast of eggs, toast, and honey all brought from the family’s farm and the village’s bakery. The plain, whitewashed buildings enclosed spaces that focused views to the distant and nearby islands floating above the intoxicating deep blue of the Aegean. At night the silver moon illuminated and linked the stones of the surrounding land with the stark forms of the church. The only sounds were of the sea and wind. The only aromas were those of the sea meeting the land and of the wild thyme growing in the hills. Chrysopigi possessed a tranquility that engaged all of the senses, as I have never experienced before or since.

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2014 Stanford White Awards

Last December, we witnessed a wonderful mixture of great architects, designers, and builders in classical architecture at the 2013 Stanford White Awards, held at the Broad Street Ballroom in Manhattan.

The recipients of 2013 awards by category were G.P. Schafer Architect for “Residential-New Construction over 5,000 sq. ft,” Fairfax & Sammons for “House-Renovation and Additions under 5,000 sq. ft,” Hamady Architects for “Houses-Renovations and Additions,” G.P. Schafer Architect and Fairfax & Sammons for “Townhouse and Apartment,” Robert A. M. Stern for “Commercial, Civic, and Institutional Architecture,” Doyle Herman Design Associates for “Landscape Design” and Danielle Murphy for “Student Project.”

With great enthusiasm, we announce the 2014 Stanford White Awards, which will be held on December 3 at the Highline Hotel. The winners will be judged by Michael Imber, FAIA, Michael Imber Architects; David Jones, AIA, Jones & Boer Architects; and Suzanne Tucker, Tucker & Marks Design. We invite you to join us as we celebrate classical design and the soon to be announced 2014 winners! Tickets for the event are now on sale. Purchase tickets online or call (212) 730-9646 to reserve today.

Pictures from the 2013 Stanford White Awards:

All photos © Metin Oner

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Special Discount for Princeton Architectural Press Titles

In August we announced our collaboration with the Designers & Books Online Book Fair. This collaboration allows members of the ICAA community to receive discounts on books about architecture, art, design, and photography released by important publishers in these fields. A list of participating publishers can be found here.

This month we are pleased to share a special discount on four titles of interest from Princeton Architectural Press. Institute members can receive a 50% discount on the titles below by using the ICAA’s unique partner code (14BRXAA) to make purchases on the Princeton Architectural Press website.

The Antiquities of Athens: Measured and Delineated
By James Stuart and Nicholas Revett, Painters and Architects

The Buildings and Designs of Andrea Palladio
By Octavio Bertotti Scamozzi

Edifices de Rome Moderne
By Paul Letarouilly

By Claude-Nicolas Ledoux

Visit the Designers & Books Online Book Fair website for all the latest offers and available titles.

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