University of Pennsylvania

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA


Weitzman School Honors Kohn, RPA, and Outstanding Students at Awards Gala

By Weitzman
Oct 31, '19 9:21 AM EST
Miller Professor and Chair of Architecture Winka Dubbeldam presents the 2019 Kanter Tritsch Prize to Patrick Danahy
Miller Professor and Chair of Architecture Winka Dubbeldam presents the 2019 Kanter Tritsch Prize to Patrick Danahy

Seven decades after he first came to Penn, A. Eugene Kohn (BArch’53, MArch’57) stood before a group of Weitzman faculty, alumni, donors, and students last week and told a story about his mother. When he was young, Kohn told the audience, she made a living as a dressmaker. But she refused to sell a dress to a customer if it wasn’t flattering, because eventually, the customer would discover it didn’t look good. That would be bad for the buyer, and for the reputation of the dressmaker. 

“It taught me something about ethics, and about moral leadership,” Kohn said. 

Kohn was reflecting on his formative years during his remarks at the Stuart Weitzman School of Design Awards, where he accepted the 2019 Kanter Tritsch Medal for Excellence in Architecture and Environmental Design, given in recognition of his years leading with the international architecture firm Kohn Pedersen Fox (KPF), which he co-founded in 1976. Images of KPF’s iconic towers in Shanghai, Tokyo, New York and across the world flashed on a screen behind him as he spoke. Kohn is a native Philadelphian, and a graduate of Central High School. He is also the author of a new book, The World by Design: The Story of a Global Architecture Firm, which was distributed to guests at the end of the event. 

“And it’s all stories,” he concluded, after receiving the award, “so it’s easy to read.” 

It was the second year that the awards were presented during a dinner and cocktail event at the IAC Building in Manhattan. Awards included the medal given to Kohn along with the Kanter Tritsch Prize in Energy and Architectural Innovation, which is awarded annually to a second-year Master of Architecture student. The awards were established through a generous gift from Weitzman alumna Lori Kanter Tritsch and Penn Trustee and Wharton alumnus William P. Lauder, and first awarded last year. This year’s Prize, a $50,000 scholarship for a Master of Architecture student in the final year of study, was awarded to Patrick William Danahy (MArch’20). 

Patrick Danahy, who was profiled in a short video screened at the event, was an architecture student at Clemson University trying to find the right application for both his creative and scientific passions before starting the Master of Architecture program at the Weitzman School. At Penn, he has worked as a research assistant in the Autonomous Manufacturing Lab, led by Assistant Professor Robert Stuart-Smith, and helped create an innovative prototype of a tiny house in the school’s Robotics Lab. There’s more research work in store for his last year at the school, Danahy said during the cocktail hour at the ceremony, including work related to artificial intelligence and “self-critiquing” design processes. With the Autonomous Manufacturing Lab, he’s working on a speculative redesign for the Notre Dame cathedral spire in Paris, which was destroyed by a fire in the spring.

The Weitzman School was introduced to the audience with the screening of a short video. The interviewees include the School’s five program chairs and several of the faculty members leading research centers.

The event was co-chaired by William P. Lauder and Lori Kanter Tritsch, Kevin and Erica Penn, and Bill Witte and Keiko Sakamoto. The host committee included Jay and Luciane Goldman, Scott and Wendy Kleinman, Leonard A. Lauder, and Barry S. Sternlicht of Starwood Capital Group.  The event was made possible by the generous support of the Co-Chairs and Host Committee Members along with the following Sponsors: Jay and Erika Abramson, Eugenie L. Birch, David J. Cohen, Dranoff Properties, Cathy Franklin and Jeffrey Baker, Gensler, Robin and Jeffrey Kaplan, Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates PC, Clarissa and Steven Lefkowitz, Matt Nord and Erika Weinberg, Owen Thomas, Barbara Van Beuren and Stephen Glascock. 

-Jared Brey

2019 Kanter Tritsch Prize recipient, Patrick William Danahy (MArch’20)

The Stuart Weitzman School of Design, 2019