Anne-Sophie Divenyi AIA
chair, senior capital project manager, Harvard University Office of Physical Resources and Planning
director of Art and Creative Initiatives, HUBweek
principal, MP Boston
Nicole Martineau AIA
senior associate, Arrowstreet
Paul Pettigrew AIA
director, Undergraduate Recruitment, Career Development & Alumni Outreach, MIT Architecture
Leah Triplett Harrington
assistant curator, Now + There
principal and director of Urban Design, CBT
senior lighting designer, Arup
Architectural philosophies and aesthetic tastes shift and change with their time and place. What is less visible but equally influential are a moment’s intangible values for beauty: aspects like the social, the environmental, the accessible, the resilient.
Though jurors don’t always unanimously agree on which project is most deserving of the medal, the list of finalists they curate represents exemplary work that embodies the many manifestations of beauty. Generally, only one project receives the medal, but these finalist groups should be leveraged to catalyze the creation of more sublime, energizing, sustainable, respectful, integrated buildings that will enhance the everyday experience of the city.
The beauty of this difficult award is that it is not static; with every coming year, there’s a new opportunity to redefine what is beautiful for the City of Boston, to nominate new work, and to elevate architecture—specific projects and the pursuits of the profession as a whole.
This year, the jury laid out multiple criteria for evaluating beauty: accessibility (physical, intellectual, and cultural); materiality and craft; a sense of being “of this time;” composition and order; innovation; the capacity to be iconic; and the ability to provoke an emotional response—something called “the wow factor.” The finalists seen here don’t just represent one or two of these criteria, but rather a confluence of all of them. In its finalists, and especially in its winner, the 2018 Harleston Parker Medal jury found multifaceted beauty—and, importantly, beauty specific to the singular region of Greater Boston.