Yale Professor Vincent Scully Wins Prestigious Urban Development Prize

Esteemed Yale professor Vincent J. Scully Jr., one of the nation’s foremost architectural historians and critics, has been selected as the fourth annual recipient of the Urban Land Institute J.C. Nichols Prize for Visionary Urban Development.

Scully has taught several generations of the nation’s most prominent architects, urban planners, scholars, developers and politicians throughout a career that spans more than a half-century. At the age of 83, he continues to fill Yale lecture halls with his popular courses, the history of architecture and the history of art.

The architectural critic Paul Goldberger, a student of Scully’s at Yale and a member of the Nichols Prize selection jury, stated:

“Through his writing, his deep and constant civic engagement, and most of all his lifetime of teaching at Yale, Vincent Scully has had an extraordinary influence on the shape of the American city. He has always taught that the point of architecture is not just the making of buildings but the making of civilized communities, and he has helped two generations of students to understand how much cities matter to the future of this country. My own attitudes toward the city were shaped in large part during my years as his student-and like many people who were privileged to study with him, I think of myself as Vince Scully’s student not only during my years at Yale, but for the rest of my life.”

Scully is the author of many books that have helped to shape public discourse about the built environment. Among his works are “American Architecture and Urbanism”; “The Shingle Style and the Stick Style”; and “The Earth, the Temple, and the Gods.” A collection of some of his most influential pieces, “Modern Architecture and Other Essays,” was published earlier this year.

Scully’s dedication to architecture as a force in civic life is exemplified by his endorsement of planned, small developments modeled on traditional small towns as a way of restoring a sense of community in a car-dominated culture. Although he was never officially on the faculty of the Architecture School, his influence profoundly affected the future architects, planners and urban designers who were his students. He insisted that those who would practice architecture learn its history, a position that was against the prevailing current of Modernism when he introduced it to the classroom.

A native of New Haven, Scully enrolled as a student at Yale at the age of 16. More than 65 years later, in the spring of 2003, the dean of Yale School of Architecture, Robert A.M. Stern, announced the establishment of the Vincent J. Scully Jr. Visiting Professorship in Architectural History at Yale.

The National Building Museum in Washington created the Vincent Scully Prize in 1999. Established “to honor individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the built environment through scholarship, research, writing or professional practice.” the Prize was first awarded to Scully.

The Urban Land Institute is a nonprofit educational and research organization. Established in 1936, the Institute has more than 18,000 members representing all aspects of land use and development.

The J.C. Nichols Prize awards an individual whose career reflects a commitment to the highest standards of responsible development. The $100,000 prize is named for Kansas City, Missouri, developer J.C. Nichols, a founding ULI member, who had a wide impact on land use in the first half of the 20th century.

Scully will receive the prize at a luncheon next month in New York.

Media Contact

Dorie Baker: dorie.baker@yale.edu, 203-432-1345