Robert Silman, founder and president emeritus of structural engineering firm Silman and lecturer in architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, has been presented with the Louise du Pont Crowninshield Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP). The Crowninshield Award is the NTHP’s highest national recognition, given with what the NTHP writes is “the greatest care and only when there is indisputable evidence of superlative achievement over time in the preservation and interpretation of our cultural, architectural or maritime heritage, including buildings, architecture, districts, archeology, cultural landscapes, and objects of significance in the history and culture of the United States.”
Silman’s receipt of the Crowninshield marks the first time that the award has been bestowed upon a technologist. It recognizes, among other achievements, Silman’s work on more than 450 historic structures and landmarks, including Carnegie Hall and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, and the U.S. Supreme Court Building and the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. Silman spoke with the GSD last fall about his work on renovating the Harvard Art Museums alongside Renzo Piano.
“I am so honored to be recognized by the National Trust,” Silman said in a press statement. “This is the premier preservation organization and I am confident that they will continue to lead the nation in efforts to preserve our history and our culture.”
Robert Silman founded the firm Silman in 1966 and has been recognized for his particular expertise in historic preservation. He has been appointed to the Advisory Board for the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training, for which he is past-chairman, representing the fields of engineering and preservation education. He has lectured at various conferences and written articles on sustainability for Structural Engineering International.
In association with the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Friends of the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training, Silman assisted in writing the Pocantico Proclamation on Historic Preservation and Sustainability. This work was followed with the Nashville Challenge in October 2009, which he co-chaired. In addition to serving as lecturer in architecture at the GSD, he has previously taught at Columbia and Yale, and recently completed his term as a member of Cornell University’s College of Architecture, Art and Planning Advisory Council.