National Park Service Announces Architectural Drawing Competition

Image courtesy of National Park Service

Sharpen your pencils, the National Park Service has a $1,000 prize at stake in a new competition for architectural artists who create drawings of historic buildings.

“Drawings from the hands of skilled craftsmen are valuable tools when it comes to the protection of America’s treasured historic structures,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “They are a permanent record of our nation’s built environment, created with the precision needed to restore or repair these places of our past. This competition will reinvigorate this specialty and encourage the development of the talents it requires.”

The Historic American Buildings Survey, called HABS, began in 1934. The National Park Service has been its only home. The architectural drawings, large format photographs and written histories HABS uses to document historic structures are housed at the Library of Congress and are available to the public online. More than 40,000 historic structures and sites have been documented.

The competition and its prize are named for Leicester B. Holland (1882-1952), the co-founder of the Historic American Building Survey program and head of the Fine Arts Division of the Library of Congress.

Catherine Lavoie leads the Historic American Buildings Survey today. “The Holland Prize is intended to increase awareness, knowledge, and appreciation of historic sites, structures, and landscapes throughout the United States while adding to our permanent collection. By requiring only a single sheet, the competition challenges the student or professional to capture the essence of the site through the presentation of key features that reflect its historic and its architectural, landscape architectural or engineering significance,” Lavoie said.

Drawings of historic buildings are a crucial component of architectural education. Lavoie said they provide opportunity for young architects to gain an understanding of the principles of design and construction and in addition to their use for restoration work, contribute to new design projects.

The competition will be administered by the National Park Service’s Heritage Documentation Programs. Entries of an historic building, site, or structure including engineering sites and historic landscapes must be prepared by an individual or individuals to standards established by HABS or its sister programs the Historic American Engineering Record (HAER), or the Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS).

In addition to the cash, the winning drawing will be published in Architectural Record magazine.

May 31, 2011 is the deadline for entry form submissions and June 30, 2011 is the deadline for submission of completed entries. Click here to download the Holland Prize entry form, competition rules, and recommendations.

The prize is supported by the Paul Rudolph Trust, Architectural Record, a magazine of the American Institute of Architects (AIA); and the Center for Architecture, Design & Engineering in the Library of Congress, and the National Park Service.

The Holland Prize joins the Peterson Prize in drawing competitions. Each year the HABS/HAER/HALS programs offer students employment and training opportunities.

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2011 Arthur Ross Laureate and the Classical America Series in Art and Architecture Draw Critical Attention

A message from our President, Paul Gunther

Ralph Lauren store, Madison Avenue (Photo courtesy of Polo Ralph Lauren)

The intrepid and versatile chronicler of New York’s built environment, Christopher Gray, whose STREETSCAPES column appears each week in the Sunday Times’s Real Estate section, wrote about East 72nd Street in Manhattan on March 13, 2011 with focus on the restoration of the Carrere & Hastings and Ernest Flagg and Walter Chambers mansions at numbers 7 and 9, and especially the new Polo Ralph Lauren flagship store at the corner of Madison Avenue.

Find it online as it speaks best for itself as a measure of critical consideration and rare ecumenical perspective with an eye on history and the dynamic potential of tradition, including of course what is still called the “modern.”

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Announcing the 2011 Arthur Ross Award Winners

The Institute of Classical Architecture & Classical America (ICA&CA) announced today the winners of the 20111 Arthur Ross Awards. Established in 1982 by Classical America chairman of the board, Arthur Ross, and its president, Henry Hope Reed, the Arthur Ross Awards were created to recognize and celebrate excellence in the classical tradition. From the beginning, the awards have recognized the achievements and contributions of architects, painters, sculptors, artisans, landscape designers, educators, publishers, patrons, and others dedicated to preserving and advancing the classical tradition. View a complete listing of those recognized by Classical America from 1982 to 2002, and by the ICA&CA since 2003.

The Arthur Ross jury, headed this year by Atlanta-based international architect, William H. Harrison, also elected a recipient of a Board of Directors Honor granted only occasionally for an individual whose contributions to contemporary classicism transcend categories and include direct service to the Institute itself.

The winners will be feted on Monday, May 2, 2011 during the Institute’s annual awards ceremony at the University Club in New York City.


ARCHITECTURE: Franck & Lohsen Architects, Washington, DC

For outstanding residential, institutional, and civic commissions, whose elegant designs and sensitivity to detail are consistent hallmarks setting a 21st century standard of excellence true to the Ross tradition upon entering its fourth decade.

Public library renovation in Washington, DC (Photo courtesy of Franck & Lohsen Architects)

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The 30th Anniversary of the Arthur Ross Awards Approaches Rapidly

A message from our President, Paul Gunther

Paul Gunther

Please help us salute the 2011 Arthur Ross winners in person or online….

The gathering takes place May 2 at New York’s fabled Fifth Avenue University Club so plan to join us–easy to do online and invitations go out next week.  Proceeds spell survival and allow us to present innovative programs such as the new Beaux-Arts Atelier certificate initiative that you’ll soon be hearing more about for fall 2011, especially with recent good news from trustee Richard H. Driehaus.

Meanwhile, our gracious patron Janet Ross served as a juror for the first time ever and summarizes the experience best of all, “My engagement was humbling. The sheer quality of the fine submissions was impressive and although I couldn’t be happier with the final choices it was still not easy to let go at least for this year of many of the close contenders. The juries made me appreciate the hard work of all past juries and the foresight of Arthur and Henry Hope Reed of launching the awards in the first place back in 1982.” Her deliberating colleagues from all over the country were Tim Barber, Karen Bechtel, David Brussat, Natalie Jacobs, Lyn Muse, Peter Pennoyer, and Andrew Skurman, with ICA&CA Fellow, Seth J. Weine, on deck as coordinator.

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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

Calder Loth

The diminutive Choragic Monument of Thrasyllus has served as a design source for classical buildings throughout the western world. Originally situated on the south face of the Acropolis, the monument was constructed in 320 B.C. as a façade fronting a shallow cave or grotto halfway up the cliff. (Fig. 1) Thrasyllus was an ancient Greek chorus leader. According to its inscriptions, the monument commemorated the victory of Thrasyllus’s chorus during a festival performance. The trophy given in such contests was a bronze tripod. The tripod in this case is believed to have been affixed to the lap of the statue seated on the parapet.[i]

Fig. 1, Elevation, Choragic Monument of Thrasyllus, Vol. II, Chapter IV, Plate III, Antiquities of Athens

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Mid-Atlantic Chapter Announces the Eisenhower Memorial Competition

This spring, the Institute of Classical Architecture & Classical America (ICA&CA) Mid-Atlantic Chapter and the National Civic Art Society (NCAS) invites classical architects and artists to engage in a competition to design a counter proposal to Frank Gehry’s design of a national monument to President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

The competition, which is open to any designer or team of designers who are citizens of the United States, will seek to encourage the design of appropriate, meaningful, and timeless memorials to Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th President of the United States, five-star general of the United States Army, Supreme Commander of the Allied forces in Europe and Supreme Commander of NATO.  The purpose of this competition is to encourage dialogue among designers and the general public about the meaning, inspiration, and dignity of designs that are suitable to commemorate this distinguished president and general.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969)

Submissions should be designs that embody the traditions of civic art in Washington, DC and should stand in harmony with the vision of the L’Enfant Plan as well as the McMillan Commission. The deadline for submissions is April 15, 2011 at 5:00 p.m.


The Jury will choose an appropriate design; one that embodies the classical vision of Washington, DC and that best exemplifies the ideas of a meaningful and timeless memorial. A First Prize ($1,000) and Second Prize ($500) will be awarded; and additional Prizes may be considered at the discretion of the jury and the National Civic Art Society.
The National Civic Art Society and the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of Institute of Classical Architecture & Classical America have generously sponsored this prize. The DC Chapter of the Congress for the New Urbanism has generously donated funds towards the Prizes.

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