Marion Weiss and Michael Manfredi are the 2020 recipients of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Architecture
William Tatham, David Lloyd, Wade Zimmerman, Benjamin Benschneider,
Charlottesville, Virginia USA,
Architects Marion Weiss and Michael Manfredi, co-founders of the architectural design firm WEISS/MANFREDI Architecture/Landscape/Urbanism are the 2020 recipients of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Architecture. A prestigious recognition that honours one of the "emerging players" in North America’s landscape of architectural firms and which Floornature featured just over a year ago on the occasion of a new episode of “The Architects Series”, the cultural initiative organised by The Plan magazine for SpazioFMG.
On February 21, 2019 Marion Weiss and Michael Manfredi were both guests of the SpazioFMG per l'Architettura, the exhibition space launched by the Iris Ceramica and FMG Fabbrica Marmi e Graniti brands of the Iris Ceramica Group. On that occasion, with the lecture titled “Lines of Movement”, Marion Weiss and Michael Manfredi talked about the role of architecture in facing the new challenges posed by climate change and social isolation, as well as presenting some of their most important large-scale urban projects. Projects that have brought the two architects world-wide fame and in which they redefined the relationships between landscape, architecture, infrastructure and art.
Among them the Olympic Sculpture Park designed for the Seattle Art Museum, a work that has received numerous prizes and defined by Time Magazine as one of the 10 most important projects in the world. Or the Hunter's Point South Waterfront Park located on the East River in New York, designed in collaboration with the SWA/Balsley architecture firm, a multiple prize-winning project that was presented as a new model of waterfront resilience and urban social life. The projects designed by WEISS/MANFREDI interpret contemporary needs by transcending the traditional boundaries of architecture to create new cultural and ecological paradigms. They are innovative and beautiful works that give life to abandoned urban areas in big cities, creating new inclusive and socially fair public spaces.
Established in 1966, the Medals are awarded by the University of Virginia and by the Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello, respectively the university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 and the foundation named after him and launched in 1923 to save his home in Charlottesville, Virginia. The Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medals are closely inspired by the figure of the third President of the United States and author of the Declaration of Independence, including when it comes to the issues they focus on. The prizes awarded, in fact, only pertain to the four domains in which Jefferson excelled: Architecture, Citizen Leadership, Global Innovation and Law.
Scrolling through the list of the over 50 architects who have been awarded the prize since 1966, it is easy to recognise masters of the world architecture and internationally renowned architects including: Mies van der Rohe (1966), Alvar Aalto (1967), Marcel Breuer (1968), Kenzo Tange (1970), I. M. Pei (1976), Philip Johnson (1978), Robert Venturi (1983), Leon Krier (1985), Fumihiko Maki (1990), Aldo Rossi (1992), Frank O. Gehry (1994) and more recently Lord Richard Rogers (1999), Glen Murcutt (2001), Shigeru Ban (2005), Peter Zumthor (2006) and Zaha Hadid (2007). In the past few years, the Medals have been awarded to Yvonne Farrell & Shelley McNamara (2017), Sir David Adjaye OBE (2018) and Kazuyo Sejima & Ryue Nishizawa (2019). The award ceremony will be held on April 13, 2020, on the anniversary of Thomas Jefferson’s birthday. For the first time ever, the Medals will be given in absentia, with a live broadcast streamed online, due to the ongoing efforts to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent limitations on events and travel.
Project: Hunter's Point South Waterfront Park
Architects: SWA / Balsley + Weiss/Manfredi Architecture/Landscape/Urbanism
Location: Long Island City, USA
Images courtesy of Weiss/Manfredi
(02) © Wade Zimmerman
(03-04) © David Lloyd-SWA courtesy of SWA-Balsley
(05) © William Tatham-SWA courtesy of SWA-Balsley
Project: Olympic Sculpture Park
Architects: Weiss/Manfredi Architecture/Landscape/Urbanism
Location: Seattle, Washington, USA
Images courtesy of Weiss/Manfredi
(01, 06 -10) © Benjamin Benschneider