Awarded to Gwendolyn Wright, Professor of Architecture and Planning at Columbia University and host of PBS’ “History Detectives”
We honor Gwen, who is greeted on the streets of New York by “Hey, History Detective Lady,” because she shows the value of historical research to the public—the hidden story behind objects—that what you see on the surface is not the entire story. In her long career which encompasses scholarly publishing, academic teaching, and PBS programming, Gwen has focused on the many factors that influence architecture: social, economic, intellectual, political and cultural. She challenges readers, students, and television viewers think about the central place of architecture in the humanities and in our physical world. Her insights give all of us—students, professionals, citizens, and amateurs of all sorts—the spark of creativity to ignite our curiosity about our built world. Gwen helped us all experience that spark when she gave the inaugural SAH lecture at the Chicago Humanities Festival on November 11, 2012. We honor Gwen for showing us that in a world of instant gratification, there is enormous value in taking time to research, dig, analyze, make connections and reach out to all who share her infectious passion for history.