Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) has announced that the firm of Weiss/Manfredi will receive the ninth Veronica Rudge Green Prize in Urban Design in recognition of the Seattle Art Museum’s Olympic Sculpture Park. Transforming a dilapidated brownfield site, the park creates a new landscape for art within the urban infrastructure, reconnecting the city to the Puget Sound waterfront. This is the first time the winning project has been located in the United States.
Sponsored by the School’s Department of Urban Planning and Design, the $50,000 prize will be presented Dec. 5 at the GSD. An accompanying exhibition and publication of a book about the winning project are also scheduled for the award ceremony.
The strategy of Weiss/Manfredi to design a park that crosses and connects Seattle’s urban fabric without denying the energy of the heavily trafficked area running along the waterfront deserves special credit. The park not only brings sculpture outside of the museum walls, but brings the park itself into the landscape of the city. The park becomes a piece of sculpture itself, reframing its urban condition. The Olympic Sculpture Park represents a breed of institutional urban design that succeeds in expanding a specific, noncommercial project to create a robust community on a greater urban level and take advantage of the views of the Olympic Mountains across Puget Sound. (The firm of Charles Anderson Landscape Architecture of Seattle was the local partner.)
The Veronica Rudge Green Prize in Urban Design is awarded every two years by the GSD to recognize excellence in urban design around the world with an emphasis on projects that contribute to the public realm of a city and improve the quality of urban life. The Green Prize is the foremost award recognizing achievement in this field. The prize has previously honored major projects in Amsterdam; Rio de Janeiro; Barcelona; Aleppo, Syria; Mexico City; and Tokyo by such leading designers as Sir Norman Foster, Fumihiko Maki, West 8, and Alvaro Siza.
Weiss/Manfredi is a multidisciplinary architectural practice based in New York City. The firm has won national and international competitions and been featured in publications and exhibitions at venues worldwide, including the Museum of Modern Art and the Venice Architectural Biennale.
Marion Weiss is the Graham Professor of Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design. She received a bachelor’s of architecture degree from the University of Virginia and a master’s of architecture degree from Yale University.
Michael Manfredi received a bachelor’s of architecture degree from the University of Notre Dame and a master’s of architecture degree from Cornell University, where he is the Gensler Visiting Professor at the College of Architecture, Art and Planning.