University of Pennsylvania

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA


Acclaimed Designers and Promising Students Honored at 2020 Weitzman Awards

By Weitzman
Jan 13, '21 9:37 AM EST

Since architect Peter Eisenman founded the renowned Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies in New York in 1967, he’s earned important commissions around the world and published a number of influential writings. In 2005, his much-anticipated design for the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin was dedicated. This year, he co-authored the book Lateness, in which he brings an entirely original perspective to the legacy of Adolph Loos, John Hedjuk, and Adolph Rossi. And last Wednesday, from his home in Connecticut, Eisenman accepted the Kanter Tritsch Medal in Architecture during the 2020 Weitzman School Awards ceremony.

“It’s hard for my work to win prizes,” Eisenman said, holding the medal up to his webcam for the attendees to see, adding, “I want to thank Lori Kanter Tritsch.”

The all-virtual awards ceremony was another first in a year of unprecedented challenges and experiments at the Weitzman School and across higher education.

In accepting the Medal, Eisenman spoke about his career and intellectual interests with the Weitzman School’s Miller Professor and Chair of Architecture Winka Dubbeldam. Dubbeldam also presented the Kanter Tritsch Prize in Energy and Architectural Innovation, which is awarded to a Master of Architecture student entering their final year of study, to Paul Germaine McCoy. McCoy’s portfolio of work is “truly remarkable for its command of material and form, strong point of view, and intellectual rigor,” Dubbeldam said.

In a pre-recorded video, McCoy introduced himself as “a gay, Mexican-American architect from Mission, Texas,” whose mother sold everything she had in Zacatecas as part of a lifelong mission to get him the best education possible.

“One of the things that made Penn stand out for me was its focus on drawings,” McCoy said. “Drawings are something that has agency not only in practice and in terms of the law, but they’re also this incredible workspace to think through and express different modes of representation, texture, and hopefully something that’s immersive, that invites anyone outside of design to engage with.”

McCoy said he considered winning the Prize to be another platform for greater opportunities. The Kanter Tritsch prize includes a $50,000 scholarship to cover the winning student’s final year of study. The Kanter Tritsch Medal and prize were established in 2017 by a $1.25 million gift from alum Lori Kanter Tritsch (MArch’85), an architect and member of the Weitzman Board of Advisors. and her partner William Lauder, a 1983 graduate of the Wharton School and Penn trustee.

This year’s award winners are recognized, along with 2018 and 2019 honorees, on a dedicated website that debuted in November. 

-Jared Brey