Krzysztof Wodiczko, Julie Bargmann (MLA ’87), and Stella Betts (MArch ’94) among American Academy of Arts and Letters 2024 Architecture Award Winners

The facade of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial at night, a stone ruin of a city building on the edge of a river. Two hands are projected on a stone wall above the surface of the water and reflected in the water below.
Hiroshima Projection, 1999, Hiroshima, Japan. Image courtesy of Krzysztof Wodiczko.

The American Academy of Arts and Letters recently announced the winners of its 2024 Awards in Architecture, an annual awards program totaling $60,000 in prizes that honor established and emerging architects. Krzysztof Wodiczko, Professor in Residence of Art, Design and the Public Domain, Emeritus, at the GSD, Julie Bargmann (MLA ’87), and Stella Betts (MArch ’94) of the firm LevenBetts are among the recipients this year of a $10,000 award.

According to a statement released by the Academy, Krzysztof Wodiczko is being honored as a visual artist who explores “ideas in architecture through any medium of expression.” Known for creating large-scale slide and video projections in both gallery and civic settings, Wodiczko has produced more than 90 projects around the world since 1980. The installations often feature politically charged images and texts projected onto architectural facades and monuments, creating startling juxtapositions that prompt critical reflections on historical trauma and the power dynamics embedded in public space. Through his art, Wodiczko has engaged with immigrants, war survivors, domestic abuse victims, and homeless veterans.

Krzysztof Wodiczko, public projection, Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, DC, 1988
Krzysztof Wodiczko, Public projection at the Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, DC, October 25-27, 1988. Courtesy the artist and Galerie Lelong, New York.

Wodiczko has created projections on the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC (1988/2018); the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1989); Kraków’s City Hall Tower (1996); Boston’s Bunker Hill Monument (1998); Kunstmuseum Basel (2005); the Goethe-Schiller Monument, Weimar, Germany (2016); and the Admiral Farragut Monument in Madison Square Park, New York (2020). In 2021, the GSD exhibited the career-spanning Interrogative Design: Selected Works of Krzysztof Wodiczko at Druker Design Gallery. Coinciding with the retrospective, Harvard Art Museums presented the video-projection installation Krzysztof Wodiczko: Portrait.

Julie Bargmann (MLA ’87) is a landscape architect, founder of D.I.R.T. Studio (Dump It Right There), and Professor Emerita of Landscape Architecture at the University of Virginia. Her design practice rehabilitates contaminated and postindustrial sites, transforming neglected and abandoned lands into functional sites. Bargmann won the first Cornelia Hahn Oberlander International Landscape Architecture Prize in 2021 for her dedication to addressing social and environmental justice through building regenerative landscapes.

Stella Betts (MArch ’94) is co-founder and principal of LevenBetts. She is currently a senior critic at Yale University’s School of Architecture. In 2020, Betts was awarded the New Generation Leader by Architectural Record’s Women in Architecture Annual Award. The Academy’s press release notes that Bargmann and LevenBetts are representative of “American architects whose work is characterized by a strong personal direction.”

The Academy’s architecture awards program began in 1955 with the inauguration of the Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize and has since expanded to include four Arts and Letters Awards. This year’s recipients were chosen from a group of individuals and practices nominated by the members of Arts and Letters. The members of 2024 selection committee include the GSD’s Toshiko Mori (chair), Robert P. Hubbard Professor in the Practice of Architecture, and Marlon Blackwell, Robert P. John Portman Design Critic in Architecture. The committee also included Deborah Berke, Merrill Elam, Steven Holl, Michael Maltzan (MArch ’88), Nader Tehrani (MAUD ’91), and Billie Tsien.

The American Academy of Arts and Letters is an honor society of the country’s 300 leading architects, artists, composers, and writers. Each year it elects new members as vacancies occur, administers over 70 awards and prizes, exhibits art and manuscripts, funds performances of new works of musical theater, and purchases artwork for donation to museums across the United States. James Carpenter (LF ’90) will be inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters award ceremony in May. Carpenter is one of 19 new members and four honorary members that will be honored.