The Albert Simons Prize is an annual award for the Clemson architecture student studying at the Clemson Architecture Center in Charleston with the best project inspired by Greco-Roman classicism. This year’s prize is open to all undergraduate and graduate students in either semester of the Fall 2014 - Spring 2015 academic year, and all projects are eligible. The Prize is accompanied by a $500 cash award, and the winner will be announced at the end of the 2015 Spring semester.
I. To honor Charleston architect Albert Simons. Simons, who served as an instructor in architecture at Clemson College, was a committed student of traditional architecture and a leader in the preservation movement. His works of modern classicism embellish the City of Charleston like no others of the 20th century and are models for a contemporary, sustainable architecture that is of its time and of its place.
II. To promote traditional architectural education. Despite demand, out of 125 schools in the country only a few teach traditional architecture. Clemson - the only architecture school in the state - is not one of them. With its satellite program in Charleston, Clemson’s School of Architecture has the potential to offer students an extraordinary opportunity: the chance to study traditional architectural design in the heart of one of the world’s finest traditional cities. Architecture (the magazine) says there are “two parallel worlds” in architecture today: one devoted to “mainstream modernism,” the other to traditional architecture. Clemson’s School of Architecture is devoted to mainstream modernism and has no program in traditional architecture - but it could. And along with the College of Charleston’s Program in Historic Preservation and Community Planning and the American College of the Building Arts, Clemson’s Charleston architecture program could be at the core of a world-class Center for the Study of Contemporary Traditional Architecture. Contemporary Traditional Architecture could be treated as an elective concentration, special topics or certificate program without interfering with the current curriculum at the School of Architecture’s main campus.
III. To promote excellence in contemporary design.
Students may submit any project undertaken during their course of study in Charleston, be it course-assigned or independent study. Submittals can be made by email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line SIMONS PRIZE APPLICATION. Please include your contact information, images of your project, and a short description telling the jury about the project and how its design was inspired by Greco-Roman Classicism.
Bevan & Liberatos will be hosting an Open Discussion on the topic of contemporary traditional architecture and the use of precedent - date and time to be announced. Questions can be emailed to BevanandLiberatos@gmail.com.
A l b e r t S i m o n s
IN HIS OWN WORDS
“I suppose that those of us, who were grown and supposedly educated when World War I broke out, were among the last products of the Beaux Arts, though this tradition did not fade out in education until the Depression or a bit later. The young radicals of the Depression Days are now gray haired conservatives designing most of the big jobs. The time should not be now far distant for a fresh crop of young radicals with hatchets sharpened to cut the props from under the established order. If I may venture a guess they will not lead us back to orthodoxy and Vignola, but I hope to a revived respect for those fundamental qualities such as scale, harmony and character that have always been in accord with sensitive human preferences and therefore differentiate Architecture from Engineering.”
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“Having just come from a session of the jury of fellows where most of the best work submitted was definitely aligned towards modernism, it was a pleasure to visit your library and renew my acquaintance with the great men of the past who have made architecture such an eloquent expression of the human spirit. I have no quarrel with modernists, in fact, I admit that what they are doing is almost inevitable in this age which is almost wholly scientific. Much modern work is extremely dramatic, almost melodramatic in fact, but there is very little poetry of enchantment in any of it. I have no doubt that this deficiency will one day be restored. Then students will again seek the councils of the great men of the past and the study of their thinking will enrich our work with that sense of beauty now absent.”
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“After a couple generations of experimentation and controversy, modern architecture has achieved orthodoxy throughout the civilized world although it has given rise to a great variety of sectarians. With its establishment it has naturally grown more conservative and responsible. It will in time grow more gracious, more urbane and more attuned to human emotions, and Charlestonians should prepare themselves for its acceptance but on their own terms. We should ask our architects that our buildings be not only of our time but of our place. If we do this we can hope for another age of distinguished Charleston architecture.”
- Albert Simons
For information about contemporary classical and traditional design, see:
Schools with wholly traditional programs:
Schools where tradition is being taught alongside modernism: