Professor receives award for fostering "humane values"

Author: Kara Kelly

Semes, Steven architecture award

Steven Semes, associate professor at the School of Architecture and academic director of its Rome Studies Program, has been named the 2010 recipient of the Clem Labine Award. Sponsored by Restore Media, publisher of Traditional Building and Period Homes magazines, the Labine Award goes to the person who has done the most to “foster humane values in the built environment.”

Semes will be honored Oct. 21 in Chicago at the Restore Media Awards Dinner. The ceremony, which will also honor the 2010 Palladio Award winners, is part of the Traditional Building Exhibition and Conference, which will be held Oct. 20 to 23.

Semes received the award for his work in preservation and sensitive design, as well as his articles, blogs, lectures and his 2009 book, “The Future of the Past: A Conservation Ethic for Architecture, Urbanism, and Historic Preservation,” which argues context matters and that new buildings and additions to old buildings should be harmonious with their neighbors.

Semes, Steven architecture book

“The goal of the award is to honor an individual who, over an extended period of time, has demonstrated a personal commitment to infusing humane values into the creation of public and urban spaces,” says Clem Labine, founder of Traditional Building, Period Homes and Old-House Journal. “The award’s underlying conviction is that the humanist principles of the Classical tradition are essential to creating a civil society.”

Co-chairs of the Award Selection Committee Martha McDonald, editor of Traditional Building magazine, and Will Holloway, editor of Period Homes magazine said Semes’ book is a major development in urban theory, and sets forth new criteria for what is appropriate in the creation of people-friendly civic spaces.

A practicing architect for more than 30 years, Semes has designed a wide variety of projects for preservation and new construction throughout the United States. He is also the author of “The Architecture of the Classical Interior” and a contributor to “The Elements of Classical Architecture.” His essays and reviews have appeared in the National Trust Forum Journal, Traditional Building, Period Homes, and American Arts Quarterly. He is a Fellow Emeritus of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Classical America.

Contact: Kara Kelly,, 574-631-5720