Richard H. Driehaus to Receive 2015 AIA Chicago Lifetime Achievement Award


Award presentation to be made at Designight, 60th Annual Design Excellence Awards 

AIA Chicago has announced that it will present its 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award to philanthropist Richard H. Driehaus.

The presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Award will be made during Designight, the 60th annual Design Excellence Awards, to be held Friday, October 23 at Navy Pier’s Grand Ballroom. The awards program honors the year’s best in Chicago architecture and the worldwide work of Chicago-area firms.

Driehaus is the founder of Driehaus Capital Management, a Chicago-based investment management firm. While most associated with preservation and championing classical principles in planning and architecture, Driehaus has also supported contemporary awards programs and work from firms as varied as Urban Works, Landon Bone Baker Architects, John Ronan Architects and others. Through his sponsorship and philanthropy, Driehaus has shown a dedication to work that betters the public realm in many disciplines.

The Richard H. Driehaus Prize for Classical Architecture is one example of Driehaus’s commitment to architectural and design excellence.  The prize was created in 2003, and has been administered by The University of Notre Dame School of Architecture since. The prize, with its $200,000 stipend, is awarded annually.

“Beauty, harmony, and context are hallmarks of classical architecture, thus fostering communities, enhancing the quality of our shared environment, and developing sustainable solutions through traditional materials,” Driehaus said in a quote on the university’s school of architecture’s website.

The headquarters of Driehaus Captial Management is housed in the landmark Henry Ives Cobb-designed Ransom Cable House on East Erie Street in Chicago.  The Richard H. Driehaus Museum is located diagonally across from the Ransom Cable House in the Edward Burling-designed Samuel Nickerson House, considered among the most important examples of Gilded Age-period architecture that survives.

The Nickerson House, acquired at the museum’s founding in 2003, underwent a five-year period of restoration and preservation work and includes surviving period furnishings.  These are displayed with historically appropriate pieces from the Driehaus Collection of Fine and Decorative Arts, including works by the Herter Brothers and Louis Comfort Tiffany. 

Driehaus has also established the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation.  The foundation works across many spectrums – Arts & Culture, the Built Environment, Economic Opportunity for the Working Poor, and Government Accountability/Investigative Reporting – to pursue its mission of increasing equity and sustaining the cultural, economic and environmental life of the city and region.

Driehaus has sponsored numerous competitions throughout Chicago, including the IIT Campus Center competition won by Rem Koolhaas, The Millennium Park Lurie Garden commission won by Katherine Gustafson and the Burnham Memorial contest won by Woodhouse Tinucci Architects. His support has helped give life to exhibits at the Chicago Architecture Foundation and The Art Institute of Chicago, including “Issues for the New Millennium,” “Cities in Crisis,” and the Bertrand Goldberg retrospective, the design of which was recognized with a Design Excellence Award from AIA Chicago.

“Richard’s engagement with preservation, his recognition of working architects, and his philanthropic reach have had an immeasurable impact on the practice,” said Zurich Esposito, executive vice president of AIA Chicago.  “His commitment to classical architectural and planning ideas, forms and principles – coupled with his willingness to support and embolden those actively working in the profession – has left a lasting legacy on the contemporary landscape.”

Last year’s winner of the AIA Chicago Lifetime Achievement Award was John Vinci, FAIA.  Previous winners include Stanley Tigerman, Natalie de Blois, Walter Netsch, John Holabird Jr., and jointly, Daniel Burnham and Edward Bennett, among others.

Designight, the 60th annual Design Excellence Awards, will be held Friday, October 23, at the Navy Pier Grand Ballroom.  The event starts at 5:30 p.m. 

Host of Designight is Milos Stehlik, director and co-founder of Chicago's Facets Multi-Media. 

For more information on Designight, click here.