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Architect Phyllis Bronfman Lambert to Receive 2019 Distinguished Achievement Award

Phyllis Bronfman Lambert, architect, author, scholar, curator, conservationist, activist, and critic of architecture and urbanism, will receive the Alumnae/i Association Of Vassar College (AAVC) Distinguished Achievement Award during the fall Convocation ceremony in the Vassar College Chapel on September 4 at 3:30pm.
Lambert, Vassar class of 1948, is Founding Director Emerita of the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA), which she established in 1979 as an international research center and museum. Through its projects—research, events, exhibitions, publications, and collections—the CCA seeks to create a new discourse for the architecture of the 21st century.

For Lambert, architecture is a public concern. In June 1954, prior to proposing Ludwig Mies van der Rohe as architect for the Seagram Building in New York City, Lambert wrote to her father—the company’s president: “Your building is not only for the people of your companies who work there, but for all who pass by, for the area it is in, for New York City, and for the rest of the world.” Her book Building Seagram is a cultural history of architecture, art, urban regulations, and real estate, as well as of conservation and stewardship in New York City.

Lambert graduated from Vassar in 1948 and after earning a master of architecture degree in 1963 from the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, she has worked—for over seven decades—to advance the quality of contemporary architecture together with the social issues of urban conservation.

In 1975, in her native city, she founded the urban preservation organization Héritage Montreal, and was instrumental in establishing the largest and most vital nonprofit cooperative housing renovation project in North America. Lambert has continued to pursue social housing through the Fonds d’Investissement de Montréal, the only such investment fund in Canada.
Lambert sees equitably structured public involvement as essential for ensuring the physical and social standards of change in cities. Civic partnerships involving community roundtables have been crucial in revitalizing Montreal’s Old Port, in which Lambert has played a key role.

Lambert has received high praise for her work. She is a Fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada and a recipient of its Gold Medal, as well as an Honorary Fellow of the American Institute of Architects and the Royal Institute of British Architects. She received the Golden Lion of the Venice Architecture Biennale, honoring her lifetime of achievement.

Sharon Chang, class of 1984, Chair of AAVC’s Alumnae/i Recognition Committee, says, “We were struck by Ms. Lambert’s humanistic and holistic approach to a lifetime of work that has made both domestic and global societal impact. Her examination of architecture and urbanism goes far beyond the structural to the sociological, the political, the historical, the economic, and the artistic. Her eminent body of work exemplifies what a multidisciplinary liberal arts education at Vassar can engender. We hope her return to campus will excite students when they witness what is possible here at Vassar.”

Posted by Office of Communications Monday, August 26, 2019