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Louis Kahn Receives 25th Brendan Gill Prize

Esteemed architect Louis Kahn will receive, posthumously, the Municipal Art Society’s 25th Brendan Gill Prize in recognition of his magnificent conception and design of FDR Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island.

FDR Four Freedoms Park, designed by Kahn in 1974, the year of his death, was opened in October 2012. The park was realized with the help of Ambassador William J. vanden Heuvel, Chairman of the Four Freedoms Park Conservancy, whose dedication guided the project for three decades and who raised the funds to construct the memorial and to endow its stewardship for years to come; Architect and Executive Director Gina Pollara who passionately understood Kahn’s vision and supervised construction; and Sally Minard, President of Four Freedoms Park Conservancy, which will ensure the maintenance of this great public space.

A memorial to Franklin Delano Roosevelt filling four acres, the park is named after the four essential freedoms Roosevelt spoke of in his 1941 State of the Union address: Freedom of Speech and Expression; Freedom of Worship; Freedom from Want and Freedom from Fear.

The Brendan Gill Prize is an annual cash award given to the creator of a work of art made during the previous year that captures the energy and spirit of New York City. The FDR Four Freedoms Park Conservancy will use the cash prize to maintain the park.

The prize is named for longtime New Yorker theater and architecture critic, champion preservationist and former MAS chairman Brendan Gill.  A man of extraordinary intelligence and wit, Gill shared his remarkable talents with New York City and with MAS until his death in 1998. The prize was established in his honor in 1987 by his friend and fellow MAS board member Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis along with board members Helen Tucker and Margot Wellington. Ms. Tucker continues to serve on the jury along with Randall Bourscheidt, Kathryn Chenault, Heidi Ettinger, Tom Finkelpearl, Gail Gregg, Paul Gunther, John Haworth, Suketu Mehta and Vin Cipolla.

Recent prize recipients include musician Sufjan Stevens, artists Mike and Doug Starn, John Morse, Jeanne-Claude and Christo, and actress Sarah Jones.

Ambassador William J. vanden Heuvel will accept the prize on behalf of Louis Kahn and FDR Four Freedoms Park on Tuesday, February 26, at the MAS Annual Meeting.