Feb. 3, 2000
Vol. 19 No. 9

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    Architect Legorreta receives AIA Gold Medal

    By Jennifer Leovy
    News Office

    [ricardo legorreta] The American Institute of Architects has conferred its highest honor on Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta, who is designing the University’s new residence halls. Last Friday, Legorreta received the 2000 AIA Gold Medal, which AIA awards to an architect whose work has a lasting influence on the theory and practice of architecture.

    As the 57th AIA Gold medalist, Legorreta joins such leading architects as Le Corbusier and Louis Sullivan, as well as three other AIA Gold medalists whose works are located on this campus––Frank Lloyd Wright, Eero Saarinen and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Wright, Saarinen and van der Rohe designed the University’s Frederick C. Robie House, the Laird Bell Law Quadrangle and the School of Social Service Administration, respectively. Both Louis Skidmore and Nathaniel Owings are AIA Gold medalists and principals in Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, the firm that designed the Joseph Regenstein Library. Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue, the 1925 AIA Gold Medal recipient, designed Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, and Cesar Pelli, the architect designing the new athletics center, received the gold medal in 1995.

    Responding to the news of Legorreta’s award, President Sonnenschein said, “We are delighted and proud that Legorreta has been recognized with this most important award. As we anticipate breaking ground for the new residence halls and look forward to experiencing the impact of his vision on the north campus, the AIA award has given us an additional cause for celebration.”

    The AIA board of directors chose Legorreta for his commitment to design that is rooted in Mexico’s indigenous architectural traditions but also has universal appeal. In addition to demonstrating an uncanny understanding of color and light, the AIA noted that Legorreta creates designs that are both monumental and traditional in character.

    A letter in support of Legorreta’s nomination written to the AIA board read, “Legorreta connects the past to the future of architecture using his own inventive and innovative approach.”

    Legorreta said receiving the award was the greatest honor of his professional life.

    In addition to this most recent award, Legorreta has earned numerous honors, including the prestigious Premio Nacional de las Artes awarded by the President of Mexico and the Gold Medal of the International Union of Architects.

    He also served on the Pritzker Prize Award jury from 1983 through 1993.