University of Pennsylvania

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA


Professor of Architecture David Leatherbarrow Awarded 2020 AIA/ACSA Topaz Medallion for Excellence in Architectural Education

By Weitzman
Dec 16, '19 3:43 PM EST

Release Date: December 12, 2019

PHILADELPHIA— David Leatherbarrow, professor of architecture
at the University of Pennsylvania Stuart Weitzman School of Design, has
been named as the 2020 recipient of the AIA/ACSA Topaz Medallion for
Excellence in Architectural Education. The announcement was made this
morning by the Board of Directors and the Strategic Council of the
American Institute of Architects (AIA) along with the Association of
Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA).

The AIA/ACSA Topaz Medallion honors an individual who has been intensely
involved in architecture education for more than a decade and whose
teaching has influenced a broad range of students.

For nearly four decades, Leatherbarrow has trained reflective
practitioners through his graduate and undergraduate courses exploring
the interdependence of design and theory. One of the world’s leading
experts in the history and theory of architecture, he has supervised 30
dissertations and advised an additional 30 that included prominent
leaders from around the world. As many of his students will attest, his
energy and optimism for the built environment are infectious, and his
positive vision is ceaselessly inspiring.

At Penn, where he has taught since 1984, Leatherbarrow created a
foundational culture that persists to this day. For 20 years, he led the
Weitzman School’s first-year studio, which he coupled with a course
focused on his signature integration of design and theory. In addition,
he has taught the required first-semester course in the school’s PhD
program, and his instruction has established fluency in architecture’s
theories and history for countless scholars and teachers. His academic
leadership at the Weitzman School includes service as chair of the
Department of Architecture and two decades as chair of the PhD in
Architecture program.

Leatherbarrow is among several Penn faculty and alumni to receive the
Topaz Medallion. Previous recipients include: G. Holmes Perkins (1979), a
professor of architecture who served as dean from 1951-1971; alumnus
(BArch’37) Joseph Esherick (1982); Denise Scott Brown (1996), an alumna
(MCP’60, MArch’65) who was on the faculty from 1960-1965; Professor
Emeritus Lee Copeland (2001), who served as dean from 1979-1991; and
Adele Naude Santos (2009), an alumna (MArch/MCP’68) who was on the
faculty from 1981-1990.

Visit AIA’s website to learn more about Leatherbarrow’s selection as the AIA 2020 Topaz Medallion recipient