Jorge Silvetti awarded 2018 AIA/ACSA Topaz Medallion

Highest honor bestowed upon educator in architecture

For immediate release:

Washington, D.C. – December 6, 2017 – The Board of Directors and the Strategic Council of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) named Jorge Silvetti, Int'l Assoc. AIA, as the 2018 AIA/ACSA Topaz Medallion recipient. The AIA/ACSA Topaz Medallion honors an individual who has been intensely involved in architecture education for more than a decade and whose teaching has influenced a broad range of students. Silvetti has taught at Harvard University Graduate School of Design  (GSD) since 1975 as a gifted professor and mentor.  Argentinian by birth, Silvetti’s influence at GSD may have been most strongly felt from 1995-2002, when he served as chair of the architecture program.

Currently, Silvetti is the Nelson Robinson, Jr. Professor of Architecture and leads design studios, as well as delivering regular lectures on history, contemporary theory, and criticism. The publication of his 1977 essay “The Beauty of Shadows” was groundbreaking in that it provided a compelling argument for how a profession caught between postmodernism and deconstruction should proceed. His later works, published with Rodolfo Machado, furthered his arguments and have greatly influenced his students as well as other schools of design across the country. The list of deans and department chairs that were former students, colleagues, or employees of Silvetti is long and impressive.

Since 1986, Silvetti has overseen a number of research programs, including an examination of Sicily’s urbanism and architecture, which won a Progressive Architecture award. Other projects have explored the future of public space in the shifting metropolis of Buenos Aires and the future development of previously industrial Bilbao. He is a recipient of the Rome Prize and, since 1996, has served as a Pritzker Architectural Prize juror. In 2000, he was a juror for the former Mies van der Rohe Prize for Latin American Architecture.

Beyond academia, Silvetti’s work in association with Rodolfo Machado since 1974 and under different professional firms that they founded and led (presently MACHADO SILVETTI), has been widely celebrated. Run like a studio where all employees contribute ideas and everyone shares in the learning experience, the firm’s notable projects include work at many major Universities and Colleges in the U.S., (among them Dartmouth and Bowdoin Colleges, Princeton, Harvard, Rice, and Arizona State universities), abroad at the American University in Beirut and the Vietnamese and German University in Vietnam, as well as notable cultural and educational institutions such as the Getty Trust in the U.S. The firm received the First Award in Architecture from the American University of Arts and Letters in 1991 and numerous design awards and citations from the AIA.

About The American Institute of Architects

Founded in 1857, The American Institute of Architects consistently works to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings, neighborhoods, and communities. Through nearly 300 state and local chapters, AIA advocates for public policies that promote economic vitality and public wellbeing. Members adhere to a code of ethics and conduct to ensure the highest professional standards. AIA provides members with tools and resources to assist them in their careers and business as well as engaging civic and government leaders and the public to find solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world.


Matt Tinder
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