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First Annual Designers & Books Design Book of the Year Award Announced

Building Seagram by Phyllis Lambert named the Designers & Books 2013 Design Book of the Year, with The Houses of Louis Kahn and Various Small Books as Runners-Up

By Steve Kroeter February 12, 2014


We are very pleased to announce the first annual Designers & Books Design Book of the Year Award. The winner for 2013 is Building Seagram by Phyllis Lambert— a comprehensive personal and scholarly history of New York’s Seagram Building, one of the most iconic buildings of the 20th century, designed by Mies van der Rohe. The book was published by Yale University Press.

Ms. Lambert commented,

“Writing the book over ten years was demanding and often exhilarating; production was a collaboration of great editing and design; and the book’s reception has been wonderfully rewarding. I am honored and delighted that Building Seagram has received the first annual Design Book of the Year Award from Designers & Books.”

Honorable mention went to two titles: another architecture book from Yale, The Houses of Louis Kahn—and also a book from The MIT Press, Various Small Books, a tribute to the books created by the artist Ed Ruscha.

Phyllis Lambert, Building Seagram, 2013 (Yale University Press)

With many design awards, and many fiction and nonfiction book awards, but no book awards focusing specifically on design, the Designers & Books Design Book of the Year Award was initiated as a way to acknowledge the importance of the contributions by the more than 150 design book publishers operating worldwide.

The winner and two runners-up were selected from the 99 books named by the Designers & Books Book Board as Notable Design Books of 2013. Fifteen Book Board members voted for their top picks from the overall list. The list of 99 “Notable” titles is viewable here.

The voting Book Board members were:

•  Stanley Abercrombie: Books Editor, Interior Design magazine
•  Allison Arieff: Editor and content strategist for the urban planning and policy think tank SPUR
•  Zara Arshad: Founder and editor of Design China
•  Diana Balmori: founding principal of Balmori Associates
•  Ames Gerould: Art, design, and periodicals buyer at McNally Jackson Books
•  Wendy Goodman: Design editor of New York magazine
•  Steven Heller: Co-founder and co-chair of the MFA Designer as Author program at the School of Visual Arts
•  John Hill: Editor in chief of World-Architects eMagazine and founder of A Daily Dose of Architecture
•  Mark Lamster: Architecture critic of the Dallas Morning News
•  Ellen Lupton: Senior Curator of Contemporary Design, Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum
•  Stephanie Murg: Editor of UnBeige
•  Phil Patton: Design journalist, curator, and author
•  Maria Popova: Founder and editor of Brain Pickings
•  Alissa Walker: Urbanism editor at Gizmodo
•  Norman Weinstein: Design journalist and author

The award for 2013 carries with it an honorarium of $1,500—to be split equally among the author, the editor, and the designer of Building Seagram.

The Books

Building Seagram Phyllis Lambert
Barry Bergdoll
The Houses of Louis Kahn George H. Marcus
William Whitaker
Various Small Books: Referencing Various Small Books of Ed Ruscha Jeff Brouws
Wendy Burton
Hermann Zschiegner

The author of Building Seagram, Phyllis Lambert, is Founding Director Emeritus of the Canadian Centre for Architecture.

The editor is Michelle Komie, former Senior Editor, Art and Architecture at Yale University Press.

Jeff Wincapaw designed the book.

Publication of Building Seagram was supported by grants from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts and Furthermore: a program of the J. M. Kaplan Fund.

For the purposes of the award, “design” was defined as architecture, fashion, graphic design, interior design landscape architecture, product design, urban design, and all affiliated design disciplines.

This is the first year the award has been given. The intention will now be to issue the award annually.

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