SALVE MMXI O Laetissimum Nuntium

A message from our President, Paul Gunther

The year to come is an auspicious one, including a soon-to-be-announced design competition that will emphatically embrace the skills and preferences of our unique and growing national constituency. It will also herald the fall launch of our first year-long, full-time design atelier. Details about this Beaux Arts Atelier and the competition will be announced in the first weeks of 2011. Members and friends like you will be the first to learn more as respective details become final.

Paul Gunther

I am pleased to report today that the winner of the third biannual Alma Schapiro Prize Affiliated Fellowship at the American Academy in Rome is artist and current student at our Grand Central Academy of Art, Will St John. Visit his Web site at to learn more and explore recent examples of his work. He will begin his Rome sojourn in September of next year. Meanwhile the third biannual winner of our alternating Rieger Graham Prize for architecture, Jana Vandergoot, will conclude her Affiliated Fellowship later this month with results appearing soon on our blog, where an interim description of her project progress is posted already.

In the dense flow of Institute initiatives it is vital not to lose sight of these ongoing opportunities serving not only the individual recipients but also contemporary classicism as a whole across related disciplines.

For example let is not lose sight of the all important Arthur Ross Awards for excellence in the classical tradition, now approaching its 30th anniversary year and as impactful as ever. The submission deadline is December 15, 2010 again as explained on the Web site. William Harrison is the upcoming jury chair.

On behalf of our board and staff, I hope you greet the New Year ahead in health and good cheer. We would not have the strength or enthusiasm to do it were it not for your steadfast partnership. Glad tidings to one and all.

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2011 Alma Schapiro Prize Winner Announced

The Institute of Classical Architecture & Classical America announces Will St. John as the 2011 winner of its biannual Alma Schapiro Prize. The jury, led by Institute board member Jacob Collins, concluded its lengthy deliberation of more than 25 artists’ submissions on November 23, 2010.

Will St. John's "Belvedere Torso" Graphite on Paper, 2008

The Alma Schapiro Prize is designed to advance the career of an artist recipient and to foster the continuity of knowledge of the classical tradition as a vital aspect of contemporary culture around the globe. The centerpiece of the prize is a three-month affiliated fellowship at the American Academy in Rome, the premier American overseas center for independent study and research in the fine arts and humanities.

“The allied fine arts which enliven the Institute’s mission is well served with this Prize allowing as it does a chance for the selected artist to advance his or her career in the Eternal City in the company of other artists and scholars enrolled concurrently at the Academy,” said Institute President Paul Gunther. The endowment allowing the prize’s has been made possible by a grant from the Morris and Alma Schapiro Fund.

Previous recipients include D. Jeffrey Mims (2009) and Michael Grimaldi (2007).

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Classical Comments: Roman Lattice

by Calder Loth
Senior Architectural Historian for the Virginia Department of Historic Resources and a member of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Classical America‘s Advisory Council

Watch Palladio: America’s Architectural Grandfather featuring Calder Loth.

Calder Loth

This month’s essay deals with a familiar feature of classical architecture for which there is little agreement on what to call it. Terms used to describe it include trellis, transenna, latticework, Roman lattice, grating, and grille. I cannot say that one is more correct than the others, so for consistency’s sake I will use the term Roman lattice as I think it offers a more precise visual image. Roman lattice is an openwork system of rectangular bars crossing each other to make a pattern of triangles (usually, but not always, right triangles) within repetitive squares. The pattern within each square somewhat resembles Britain’s union jack. In ancient times these patterned squares were arranged to form both railings and infill for openings. For railings, the materials could be wood, bronze, or stone. For openings, especially in monumental structures, the lattice would usually be stone, preferably marble, with the openings filled with a translucent material, often thin sheets of alabaster. The reconstruction drawing of the Baths of Caracalla shows Roman lattice railings as well as Roman lattice employed in the central thermal or Diocletian window (figure 1).[i]

Figure 1. Reconstruction drawing, Baths of Caracalla, from Sir Banister Fletcher, History of Architecture, 19th Edition.

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CLASSICAL COMMENTS: Tower of the Winds Order

by Calder Loth
Senior Architectural Historian for the Virginia Department of Historic Resources and a member of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Classical America‘s Advisory Council

Watch Palladio: America’s Architectural Grandfather featuring Calder Loth.

Calder Loth

James Stuart’s and Nicholas Revett’s Antiquities of Athens vies with Andrea Palladio’s I Quattro Libri for being the most influential of architectural treatises. Their three-volume work is the fruit of the pair’s painstaking recording of Greek ruins, a project that extended from 1751 to 1755.[i] The impact of their publication can be seen in the forms and details of architectural works throughout the world and especially in America. Among the ruins receiving copious illustrations and detailed description in Antiquities of Athens is a small octagonal edifice in the Roman Agora, near the base of the Acropolis, which they identified as the Octagon Tower of Andronicus Cyrrhestes (fig.1).[ii] Probably built around 40 BC, the structure is also known as the Horologion of Andronikos because it originally housed a complex water clock.[iii] Today, the building is better known as the Tower of the Winds, a name derived from its striking bas-relief frieze sculptures personifying the eight winds (fig. 2).  These sculptures were noted by Vitruvius when he discussed winds in Book 1 of his Ten Books of Architecture, written in the mid-20s B.C.

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Deadlines for Awards and Prizes: Alma Schapiro, Shutze, and Arthur Ross

~~The 2010 Award deadlines have passed.  The deadlines for the 2011 Awards will be announced once available~~

Mark your calendar!  This Monday, November 1, is the deadline for the Alma Schapiro Prize.

Now in its third cycle, The Alma Schapiro Prize is a biannual affiliated fellowship for distinguished American students or professionals with demonstrable commitment to the classical tradition and its contemporary practice in painting and sculpture.

The centerpiece of the Alma Schapiro Prize for the selected American painter or sculptor recipient will be a three-month affiliated fellowship at the American Academy in Rome, the premier overseas center for independent study and artistic pursuit in the arts and humanities.

With a statement of interest, extensions may be granted.  Please email for more information.

Visit our Web site to learn more about the ALMA SCHAPIRO PRIZE.>>

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New England Chapter Announce Inaugural Bulfinch Awards

The New England Chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Classical America (ICA&CA) has announced the 2010 winners of its inaugural Bulfinch Awards. The awards are named for Charles Bulfinch, America’s first native-born professional architect, and recognize contemporary excellence in the classical tradition of architecture and allied arts. They will be presented and the winners celebrated in a ceremony at the Massachusetts State House on Wednesday, November 3, at 6 p.m.

The Massachusetts State House c. 1862, in a stereograph image.

Institute President Paul Gunther said that the selections “resonate with our determination to recognize achievement of the past as a point of innovative departure today. New England becomes the second ICA&CA chapter to offer such a regional awards program as a complement to the countrywide Arthur Ross Awards program held in New York each year in early May. In doing so they join the Southeast Chapter with its yearly Philip Trammell Shutze Awards.”

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