Jorge Silvetti wins the 2018 AIA Topaz Medallion for Architectural Education

The Harvard Graduate School of Design’s Jorge Silvetti has been named the 2018 winner of the AIA Topaz Medallion for Excellence in Architectural Education, an award granted by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the Association of the Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA), considered the highest honor given to educators in architecture. The AIA has been granting this award to individuals for their dedication to education and influence on students of architecture since 1976.

Jorge Silvetti, recipient of the 2018 AIA Topaz Medallion

Buenos Aires–born Silvetti founded his Boston-based practice MACHADO SILVETTI with Rodolfo Machado in 1974, and joined the GSD faculty one year later. He would go on to serve as the chair of the GSD’s Department of Architecture from 1995 to 2002. He is currently the GSD’s Nelson Robinson Jr. Professor of Architecture.

In its release, the AIA praises Silvetti for “propagating a distinct school of thought among the design professionals who have graduated [from the GSD] in the past 42 years.”

“This is not a stylization of architecture that is visually and immediately identifiable, but a way of thinking about history, precedent, and the contextual complexities of architectural production that has inspired generations of architects and educators such as myself,” wrote Christian Dagg, head of the Auburn University School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture, in a letter nominating Silvetti for the AIA/ACSA Topaz Medallion.

“As chair of the architecture program at Harvard, his emphasis on design as a form of research, coupled with his expansion of the field of architecture to include other design practices, had a profound effect on the discipline at large—an influence that can still be felt today,” Mónica Ponce de León, dean and professor at Princeton University’s School of Architecture, wrote in a letter supporting Silvetti’s nomination. “Through conferences, symposia, and exhibitions, Silvetti brought allied disciplines in conversation with architecture—long before interdisciplinary became a catchphrase in academia.”

MACHADO SILVETTI's John and Mable Ringling Museum, Center for Asian Art in Sarasota, Florida, completed in 2016
MACHADO SILVETTI’s John and Mable Ringling Museum, Center for Asian Art in Sarasota, Florida, completed in 2016

In addition to his teaching honors, Silvetti and his firm MACHADO SILVETTI have been widely recognized, including three awards from the American Institute of Architects, nine Progressive Architecture awards and citations, seven Boston Society of Architects awards, and eight design awards from the New England AIA chapter. In 1991, the firm was given the First Award in Architecture by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. The firm’s notable projects include work at Princeton University, Harvard University, Rice University, Arizona State University, the University of Arkansas, the University of Utah, the American University of Beirut, as well as a public library branch in Boston, a private development in Boston, and a new center of comparative archaeology at the Getty Villa in Malibu, California.

View a full selection of MACHADO SILVETTI’s projects via the firm’s portfolio.

Silvetti recently presented the Eduard Sekler Memorial Lecture at the GSD, entitled “TYPE: Architecture’s elusive obsession and the rituals of an impasse.”

To learn more about Silvetti’s Topaz Medallion honor, visit the AIA’s news announcement.