Weitzman’s celebration of visionary architecture and planning returns to New York

Held at The Shed in New York City, and hosted by Weitzman Dean Fritz Steiner, Penn President Liz Magill joined the celebration with awards and prizes for innovative architecture and planning.

The Weitzman School Awards made its in-person return to New York City in February for the first time since 2019, with a celebration of some of the school’s brightest students and honors for professional excellence in architecture and city planning.

enn President Liz Magill with Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin.
Penn President Liz Magill with Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin, who accepted the Witte-Sakamoto Family Medal for Hartford400. (Image: Lou Caltabiano)

The ceremony was hosted by Dean and Paley Professor Fritz Steiner and held at The Shed in Manhattan, a flexible, customizable space for cultural programming that was designed by the firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro, one of the night’s two professional honorees and the 2022 Kanter Tritsch Medalist in Architecture.

“I don’t know about you, but I have found that returning to public life renews our appreciation of great design in the places where we live and where we gather,” said Penn President Liz Magill.

The Weitzman School Awards began in 2018 with the Kanter Tritsch Prize in Energy and Architectural Innovation, established by a $1.25 million gift from current Weitzman adviser Lori Kanter Tritsch and her partner, Penn Trustee William P. Lauder. The award provides a $50,000 fellowship prize for a promising graduate architecture student and a medal of excellence for a practicing architect. The following year, the school also awarded the first Witte-Sakamoto Family Prize in City & Regional Planning, established with a $1.25 million gift from former Weitzman Advisor William Witte and his wife, Keiko Sakamoto. The award provides a $50,000 fellowship prize to an outstanding planning student entering their final year of studies at the Weitzman School, and a medal to a city or firm for an innovative plan.

The Awards celebration raises funds for student scholarships in architecture and planning.

The 2022 Kanter Tritsch Prize was awarded to Kyle Troyer, an architecture student from Berlin, Ohio, whose work at Penn has explored new ways of thinking about materiality and form in architecture, said Miller Professor and Chair of Architecture Winka Dubbeldam. Troyer said his work has been driven by questions about how design decisions can reverberate through architecture and society more broadly.

“We have the ability to challenge the canon. We have the ability to challenge known forms and typologies—things that have become a sort of backbone to the architectural discipline,” he said. “I think you start to challenge that when you start asking why you’re doing the thing that you’re doing: Why are we here in this moment?”

The recipient of the Witte-Sakamoto Family Prize was Jasmine Siyu Wu, a city planning student whose research focuses on equity in access to drivers’ education for teens. The Witte-Sakamoto Family Medal was given in recognition of Hartford400, a comprehensive plan for the city of Hartford, Connecticut, on the 400th anniversary of its urban settlement.

This story is by Jared Brey. Read more at Weitzman News.