In honor of his commitment to classical architecture, along with his contributions to preservation, urbanism and historiography, Peter Pennoyer has been named the recipient of the 2024 Richard H. Driehaus Prize at the University of Notre Dame. He will be awarded the prize during a ceremony on March 23 (Saturday) in Chicago.
“Pennoyer’s creative spirit is rooted in tradition. His work as an architect reflects a deep understanding of history that resonates through every one of his books and buildings,” said Stefanos Polyzoides, Driehaus Prize jury chair and the Francis and Kathleen Rooney Dean of Notre Dame’s School of Architecture. “His projects are designed with extraordinary compositional care and are constructed with the highest degree of craftsmanship, down to the last detail.”
The jury citation reads, “Pennoyer’s visionary work has illustrated how the classical ideas of architecture provide an inexhaustible source for inspiration and invention. His body of work consistently demonstrates his ability to design beautiful and durable buildings with a nuanced elegance that moves the spirit of all who experience them.
“His contribution to Traditional Architecture has been seminal. His design work is engaged in both the recovery and the renewal of tradition. Individual projects are restrained in scale and proportion, harmonious in form and distinct in materiality, exhibiting a sense of decorum. Every one of his buildings — whether set in the city or in the countryside — enhances the natural character of their sites,” the citation continues.
Beginning at a time when few contemporaries shared similar interests, Pennoyer honed his design skills in scholarly residential architecture. His practice evolved to include apartment buildings and institutional and commercial interiors, which the citation describes as “unmatched in their form and details — beautiful, imaginative and discreet — belying the great effort such excellence requires.” Developed during the past 30 years, Pennoyer’s practice employs multiple partners and many younger architects who continue to bring his ideas and designs to life.
His commitment to sharing his knowledge and experience with his contemporaries extends to a broad spectrum of civic engagement. This ranges from thoroughly researched counterprojects for important development proposals in New York City, including the Hudson Rail Yards in 2004 and the New York Public Library in 2014, to guiding organizations as a board member, including the Municipal Art Society of New York; the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art, where as board chair he promoted the formation of chapters throughout the country; and the U.S. General Services Administration’s Design Excellence Program.
In his many books, many of which he wrote with Anne Walker, preservationist and architectural historian, he explores the broad range of precedents from within the classical and vernacular traditions that underpin his and his firm’s work.
“Pennoyer’s books, which document the work of Harrie T. Lindeberg, Cross and Cross, Grosvenor Atterbury, Warren and Wetmore, and Delano and Aldrich, are an inspiration to Peter, Anne and their collaborators in the ongoing work of their firm. They are also guiding a generation of architects seeking to perpetuate the continuity that comes from practicing classicism as a living language capable of artistic expression and innovation,” the citation concludes.
“The combination of excellence in the practice of architecture, urbanist advocacy, civic engagement, academic research and publication elevates Pennoyer to the highest echelon among his contemporaries,” Polyzoides said.
This year’s Driehaus Prize laureate was selected by a jury composed of Melissa DelVecchio, partner at Robert A.M. Stern Architects; Michael Lykoudis, professor of architecture at the University of Notre Dame; Léon Krier, architect and urbanist; Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, founding principal of DPZ CoDesign and professor at the University of Miami; Demetri Porphyrios, principal of Porphyrios Associates, London; and Julia Treese, partner at Treese Architekten, Berlin. Polyzoides, also a partner in Moule & Polyzoides, Architects and Urbanists, Pasadena, California, served as jury chair.
The Driehaus Prize of $200,000 is granted by the Driehaus Trust, in the name of Richard H. Driehaus, founder and chairman of Chicago-based Driehaus Capital Management LLC.