James Stewart Polshek Gets the Gold

John Hill
7. December 2017
James Stewart Polshek (Photo: Aislinn Weidele)

Polshek, who graduated from Yale in 1955, started his eponymous firm in 1963, and from 1972 to 1987 served as dean of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. His practice evolved over the years and eventually changed its name to Ennead Architects in 2010, following Polshek's retirement. "Polshek has fostered an environment," per the AIA's announcement on his Gold Medal, "wherein design excellence, effective collaboration and rigorous research work in concert to create enduring architecture."

American Museum of Natural History, Rose Center for Earth and Space (Photo: © Jeff Goldberg/Esto)

Although many of Polshek's most recognizable projects, such as the Rose Center for Earth and Space on Manhattan's Upper West Side, are located in and around New York City, he never restricted himself to the region. For instance, one of his most high-profile projects is the William J. Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock, Arkansas. The building for the 42nd president of the United States boldly cantilevers over a new park along the south bank of the Arkansas River.

William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park (Photo © Timothy Hursley)

Fittingly, like Denise Scott Brown and Robert Venturi receiving their AIA Gold Medal when the AIA's national convention was held in their hometown of Philadelphia in 2016, James Stewart Polshek will receive his Gold Medal at the AIA Conference on Architecture 2018 in New York City in June.

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