2019 Druker Award & Lecture: Rodolfo Machado and Jorge Silvetti

The Druker Lecture Series welcomed Rodolfo Machado and Jorge Silvetti of Machado Silvetti as the BPL Griffin Award winners for 2019.

Acclaimed architects Rodolfo Machado and Jorge Silvetti spoke at the Boston Public Library’s annual Druker Lecture Series on November 9 when they are honored with the Boston Public Library’s Griffin Award for 2019. This acclaimed annual public lecture, established by the Druker family in 2001, focuses on the understanding and appreciation of design and architecture in the urban environment.

The Griffin Award is presented annually to a speaker or speakers who has or have made outstanding and important contributions to the world of urban art and architecture. This award is a reproduction of the historic copper griffins gracing the roofline of the Boston Public Library’s iconic McKim Building (1895), designed by acclaimed architect Charles Follen McKim.

Rodolfo Machado was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1942 and is a citizen of the United States, where he has resided since 1968. Mr. Machado received his Diploma in Architecture from the Universidad de Buenos Aires in 1967. During the academic year 1967-68 he studied urban design at the Centre de Recherche d’Urbanisme, in Paris, France and in 1971 received his Master of Architecture degree from the University of California at Berkeley where he continued doctoral studies in architectural theory until 1973. Mr. Machado practiced architecture in San Francisco, California and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania before associating with Jorge Silvetti in 1974 with whom he incorporated the practice in 1985.

In addition to his architectural practice, Mr. Machado has been a member of the Harvard University faculty since 1986, where he was Professor in Practice of Architecture and Urban Design at the Graduate School of Design from 1986 to 2010, chaired the Department of Urban Planning and Design from 2004 to 2009 and is currently Professor in Practice of Architecture and Urban Design, Emeritus. Mr. Machado has conducted seminars, lectured, and has been a visiting critic at many schools of architecture in this country and abroad. He has taught at Carnegie-Mellon University and at the Rhode Island School of Design, where he chaired the department of architecture from 1978 until 1986.

Most notably, Mr. Machado has been Bishop Professor of Architecture at Yale University, Smith Professor of Architecture at Rice University, Jean Labatut Professor of Urbanism at Princeton University, and Thomas Jefferson Professor in Architecture at the University of Virginia. Mr. Machado has served as a juror for a number of national and international competitions and prizes. In 1995, he curated an exhibition entitled “Monolithic Architecture” at the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh. His drawings and projects have been extensively published and exhibited in museums and galleries around the world.

Jorge Silvetti was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he received his diploma in architecture from the University of Buenos Aires. He continued studies at the University of California, Berkeley, receiving his Master of Architecture degree and pursuing post graduate work in the area of architectural theory and criticism. Mr. Silvetti formed a practice with Rodolfo Machado in 1974, formally incorporating in 1985.

In addition to his architectural practice, Mr. Silvetti has served as a juror for the Pritzker Architectural Prize since 1996, and in 2000 he became a juror for the Mies van der Rohe Prize for Latin American Architecture. In total, he has received ten Progressive Architecture awards—many in collaboration with Rodolfo Machado—and was the first person to receive awards in all three categories (architecture, urban design, and research). Mr. Silvetti’s writings have appeared in numerous architectural and urban design magazines, including Oppositions, Controspazio, Daidalos, Metamorfosi, Harvard Architectural Review, and Assemblage.

Mr. Silvetti has taught at the University of California, Berkeley, Carnegie-Mellon University, the Polytechnic Institute of Zurich, the University of Palermo, Sicily and Nihon University, Tokyo. Since 1975, he has taught architecture at the Graduate School of Design, Harvard University, where he became tenured Professor of Architecture in Design and Design Theory in 1983, was Director of the Master of Architecture program from 1985 to 1989, and was named Nelson Robinson, Jr. Professor of Architecture in 1990. From 1995-2002, he chaired the Department of Architecture at Harvard, where he continues to teach. He has also been appointed to the Art of the Ancient World Visiting Committee at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Machado Silvetti is an architecture and urban design firm known for distinctive spaces and unique works of architecture in the United States and abroad. Our designs result from the careful integration of the client’s aspirations, the project’s programmatic requirements and the culture and character of its location. In everything we believe that design should exceed the merely functional or inevitable, and that architecture can meaningfully advance society and culture. Our projects are meant to be timeless—profoundly responsive to present conditions while firmly related to the history and culture of architecture. And through an inseparable commitment to architectural invention and innovative technique, we work to ensure that clarity resonates throughout a design from concept to construction.

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