David M. Schwarz

2015 Laureate

2015 Schwarz Rhd Laureateheadshot 22

David M. Schwarz, an architect known for excellence in traditional design and his commitment to the creation of vibrant public environments, has been named the recipient of the 2015 Richard H. Driehaus Prize at the University of Notre Dame. He will be awarded the $200,000 prize during a ceremony on Saturday, March 21 in Chicago. 

“David Schwarz has succeeded in establishing a renewed and spirited dialogue about the nature of architecture and urbanism in the post-war period,” said Michael Lykoudis, Driehaus Prize jury chair and Francis and Kathleen Rooney Dean of Notre Dame’s School of Architecture. “He has woven traditional principles with modernity throughout various scales and building types that characterize our contemporary world. His approach to significant commercial and institutional buildings as well as urban design indicates his sensitivity to how buildings’ characters contribute to a sense of place. His firm’s designs for large buildings usually thought of as the domain of engineers — such as sports arenas and stadiums — illustrate how classical, traditional and modern languages of architecture can be used to re-imagine the scale of these very large structures and successfully connect them to their communities.”

“Celebrating those who make substantive contributions to classical architecture in the modern world is essential to expanding the ideals of traditional and sustainable urbanism in contemporary life,” said Richard H. Driehaus, founder, chairman and chief investment officer of Chicago-based Driehaus Capital Management LLC. “Therefore I am pleased with the selection of David Schwarz as the 2015 Richard H. Driehaus Prize laureate. His work has demonstrated how architecture can contribute to the creation of dynamic and strong communities.”

Schwarz approaches design with a belief in humanism that emphasizes pedestrian-friendly and socially active architecture with the goal of enabling civility and productivity in urban environments. He believes in building spaces for people, paying careful attention to issues of scale and material. His historically informed designs create lively public environments that meet the needs of diverse audiences.

Emphasizing that good design transcends typology, Schwarz is dedicated to the development of singular solutions for each of his projects. He is committed to the use of architecture to create sustainable neighborhoods that foster a sense of humanity, community and common purpose.

Jury Citation

“David Schwarz has done as much as any architect today to bring traditional architecture into public view, and to make it part of living, active communities,” said Paul Goldberger, contributing editor at Vanity Fair and member of the Driehaus Prize jury. “His work has a remarkable range that encompasses arenas, schools, concert halls, apartment houses, a major league baseball park, a hospital, libraries, museums, small-town streetscapes and a vibrant urban square. What these buildings have in common is that they all show how successfully new architecture designed in a traditional style can enrich the public realm. If there is any architect who truly understands the concept of place, it is David Schwarz. He sees every building he designs as having a responsibility not just to the people who will use it but to everyone who will see it.”

“Literature, visual art, architecture and years of experience are brought to bear on the work of David Schwarz,” said Demetri Porphyrios, principal of Porphyrios Associates and another member of the Driehaus Prize jury. “What emerges is his passion for architecture, formal curiosity and the re-awakened enjoyment of art-deco and classical architecture.  With regard to the city, the work of David Schwarz is also a testimony to the civic splendor that architect and patron can achieve with compelling force.”

Additional Information

Schwarz is president and CEO of David M. Schwarz Architects Inc., which he founded in 1976 in Washington, D.C. He received his bachelor's degree from St. John’s College in Maryland and a master of architecture from Yale University. He currently serves as chairman of the Yale School of Architecture Dean’s Council.