Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Congratulations to Architect Andrew Skurman and Skurman Architects in San Francisco for Winning the Arthur Ross Award from the Institute of Classical Architecture

A brilliant and internationally recognized architect, Andrew Skurman is renowned and admired for his focus on classical architecture. 

The award celebration was held in New York earlier this month.

The prestigious Arthur Ross Awards were created to recognize and celebrate excellence in the classical tradition for architects, painters, sculptors, artisans, landscape designers, educators, publishers, patrons, and others dedicated to preserving and advancing the classical tradition.

Bravo, Andy. This international award recognizes your many years of practice, and many years of honoring classical architecture in projects around the world.

The Citation

The Institute of Classical Architecture & Art (ICAA) is pleased to announce that the Arthur Ross Awards 40th Anniversary will properly honor the winners of the 2020 Arthur Ross Awards for Excellence in the Classical Tradition. The awards represent a diverse set of talented architects, designers, artists, and academics, including Skurman Architects, Bob Christian Decorative Art, Hyde Park Mouldings, Hollander Design Landscape Architects, Charles Miers and Rizzoli New York, as well as John F.W. Rogers, and Michael Lykoudis.

In his address to the Institute of Classical Architecture awards event attendees, Andrew Skurman said:

“I must add that none of this achievement would be possible without our firm’s extended family of visionary and steadfast clients: modern day patrons of the classical building arts.

We have been fortunate to work with so many gifted designers, contractors, consultants and artisans, all of whom are instrumental to our success. I owe a special thanks to Suzanne Tucker of Tucker & Marks for decades of outstanding collaborations.

But, beyond our work, and the wonderful network of individuals who make our work possible, tonight, we celebrate Classical Architecture itself. The language of Classical Architecture originated in antiquity, and since then has continuously evolved. We invigorate this language by inventing new combinations and variations of it for each project, by teaching it to the next generation of architects and artisans, and by supporting and encouraging our fellow practitioners.

To be a Classical Architect is not only to preserve this language, but also to add to its beautiful vocabulary. That is the raison d’etre of my life’s work.

Thank you." 

Andrew Skurman is inspired by a broad range of classical architecture, from Greek and Roman, to French, Italian, Georgian English, and perhaps above all by Palladio.

City apartments, a colonial country house, a chic Paris apartment, an Italianate lakeside villa, a French Renaissance house, and a Norman-style carriage house are all in his vocabulary. He is currently working on classical residential projects in Japan, India, Paris, and locations in California.

“Today, we practice our appreciation of classical architecture with a light touch,” he said. ‘Today, heavily ornamented rooms look old-fashioned, and we love to exercise restraint,” he said. “These are residences that will endure, for decades, perhaps centuries. They have a timeless quality. They’re elegant, comfortable, balanced, and rich with light and air. I sometimes wonder about the future of my houses, asking myself what will become of them as time passes. I hope that the children who grow up in them will recall their childhood homes as places of beauty and comfort. I hope that the families that dwell within will be remembered for having lived there in happiness.”

“There is a dramatic interdependence between the austere and the voluptuous in Skurman’s work. His experiments with materials and collisions of style are reflected in his selections, fabrication, and placement of works of art, objects and materials. His approach to the issue of cultural memory and the challenge of historic precedent in architecture is uniquely embodied in his process.” – Diane Lewis, a fellow student of Skurman when they attended Cooper Union in the Seventies

The Architectural Aphorisms of Architect Andrew Skurman

Each architectural period has its measure of ornament. Today, too much is too much, too little is boring; we are in a time of balance.

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In an ideal architectural world, it takes three to tango: The client, the interior designer, and the architect.

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Based on European philosophy, science and arts, this country built its own culture. What I am doing is quintessentially American: I'm bringing the splendor of European architecture to modern America.

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Classical architecture is like European languages: there are many. The more fluent you are in several, the better you express yourself.

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What is the most important architecture? It is the one that moves people the most, today and over the centuries.

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The great British architect Quinlan Terry believes that architecture is of divine origin. Some scientists believe that the laws of physics and mathematics are of divine origin.

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When I see great art and architecture, it brings about the feeling of transcendence.

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Some patrons treat architects like part time servants, others like admired artists. It says little about the architect, a lot about the patron.

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We see how admirable the architecture of the past was, but we forget that only the exceptional has remained. This leaves room for the architecture of the present and the future. I would like to come back in a hundred and again in a thousand years, to see what is left.

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Each artist has an intimate evaluation of his own work. I'm convinced that Palladio, Michelangelo, Mozart knew that we would continue to celebrate their glory hundreds of years later, and that their names would be unforgettable. 

Architects Speak: Andrew Skurman’s Favorite Quotes on the Meaning, Ideas, Magic and Work of Architecture

“Design is not making beauty, beauty emerges from selection, affinities, integration, love.”— Louis Kahn

“We are searching for some kind of harmony between two intangibles: a form which we have not yet designed and a context which we cannot properly describe.” — Christopher Alexander

“Architecture is an art when one consciously or unconsciously creates aesthetic emotion in the atmosphere and when this environment produces well-being.” — Luis Barragan

“I think that the ideal space must contain elements of magic, serenity, sorcery and mystery.”— Luis Barragan

“Architecture is a visual art, and buildings speak for themselves.” — Julia Morgan 

“My buildings will be my legacy... they will speak for me long after I'm gone.
 — Julia Morgan

Andrew and Françoise Skurman in their Nob Hill apartment.

Biography of Architect Andrew Skurman

Architect Andrew Skurman founded his firm in San Francisco in 1992. As principal and owner of Skurman Architects, he focuses on superbly crafted custom residences that are logically planned to the specific requirements and wishes of his clients. His expertise lies in the elegant and refined expression of Classical architecture and the interpretation of French, Georgian, and Mediterranean styles.

Skurman recently received the honor of being named a Chevalier of Arts & Letters by the Minister of Culture of France.

He is an appointed member of the prestigious Council of Advisors of the National Institute of Classical Architecture and Classical America.

Skurman is currently designing projects in Japan, Northern India, Northern and Southern California, New York, Nevada, France and China.

Skurman received his Bachelor of Architecture in 1976 from Cooper Union in New York City. He began his design career apprenticing with the New York firm of I.M. Pei & Partners from 1976 to 1980. He worked in the San Francisco office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and later as a Studio Director at Gensler and Associates in both San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Residences designed by Skurman Architects have been featured in numerous publications. Work by the firm is also included in San Francisco Style (Chronicle Books) by Diane Dorrans Saeks. In 2010 Skurman received the title of Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters, from the French Minister of Culture. 

About the Institute of Classical Architecture and the Arthur Ross Award

The Institute of Classical Architecture & Art (ICAA) is a nonprofit membership organization committed to promoting and preserving the practice, understanding, and appreciation of classical design.

To do so, the ICAA offers a broad range of educational programs. These include intensives for architecture and design students, introductory programs for middle school students, lectures and walking tours for the public, continuing education courses for professionals and enthusiasts, travel programs to visit classical masterpieces, the publishing of original and reprinted books, and an annual journal entitled the Classicist. Through the annual Arthur Ross Awards, as well as other national and regional award programs, the ICAA also honors contemporary leaders of classical design and the related fields.

The ICAA is a national organization, with 15 chapters across the country and headquarters in New York City. Each chapter organizes its own local programming to reflect the unique members and architectural traditions in its region. The ICAA’s membership represents the diverse and dynamic cross-section of all those involved with the building arts, from architects and designers, to patrons and artisans. These members benefit from the robust network of local and national programs and networking opportunities. Likewise, the organization is continually enriched and inspired by responding to the needs, interests, and passions of its growing membership base.”

For more information: www.classicist.org


Andrew Skurman | Skurman Architects
3654 Sacramento Street, San Francisco, California.
INSTAGRAM: @andrewskurmanarchitects


Images courtesy of Andrew Skurman, used here with express permission of the architect.

Images of two apartments on Nob Hill — designed by Skurman Architects — by Lisa Romerein. Used with express permission of the photographer.

Lisa Romerein Photography
INSTAGRAM: @lisaromerein

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