Carl Laubin has painted a beautiful capriccio to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the Richard H. Driehaus Prize. He portrays an imaginary town made up of the works of the first ten Driehaus laureates, among whom are Léon Krier, Quinlan Terry, and Demetri Porphyrios, as well as Allan Greenberg, Jaquelin T. Robertson, and Michael Graves. In the foreground is the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates, a bronze miniature of which is presented to each laureate. It’s fun to try and identify the individual works in this large (5½ by over 8 feet long) painting. But what is more striking is that Laubin has created a convincing urban landscape solely out of landmark buildings. That, of course, is the advantage of classicism: however it is interpreted, it is a tradition that manages to produce a more or less coherent whole. Even Abdel-Wahed El Wakil’s mosque, standing next to a Seaside beach house by Robert A. M. Stern, doesn’t look too out of place. Can one imagine a similar townscape of Pritzker Prize winners? Well, maybe with the work of some of the early laureates—Pei, Bunshaft, Tange, Siza—but modern buildings need a background of nineteenth and early twentieth century urbanism to shine. A town made up of only signature buildings by our current generation of stars would resemble a carnival or a theme park—Pritzkerland.
There is a discussion of the Driehaus Prize and a larger image of Laubin’s painting here.