David Gebhard Awards

2016 David Gebhard Awards for best book and article on Minnesota’s built environment

The Minnesota Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians (MNSAH) announced winners of the eleventh biennial David Stanley Gebhard Award, for best book and article on historical aspects of Minnesota’s built environment, at its annual meeting at the Minnesota Humanities Center in St. Paul March 16, 2016.

The winning book is Minnesota’s Own, authored by Larry Millett, with photographer Matt Schmitt, published in 2014 by the Minnesota Historical Society Press. One of the judges said “Larry Millett is about the closest thing we have to a celebrity author in this town (other than Garrison and Louise Erdrich, I suppose). His books are like a small industry of its own. But here’s the thing: this book is all sorts of charming. Beautifully produced, and gorgeous photos, of course, but also sparkling, well told stories about the homes. Completely compelling.”

In what turned out to be a very tough competition, the judges also awarded an honorable mention to two books: John H. Howe, Architect: From Taliesin Apprentice to Master of Organic Design by Jane King Hession and Tim Quigley, published in 2015 by University of Minnesota Press, and Saint John’s Abbey Church: Marcel Breuer and the Creation of a Modern Sacred Space by Victoria M. Young, published in 2014 by University of Minnesota Press. Apparently each of these books had one judge who thought it should have been the winner, and the judging ended up being quite spirited.

Who knew there could be a winning article about prestressed concrete? And yet, “Constructing Suburbia: The Hidden Role of Prestressed Concrete”, by Robert M. Frame III and Richard E. Mitchell, took the prize for best article. It was published in Minnesota History Quarterly, 64:4, the Winter 2014-15 issue.

The judges this year were Kristin M. Anderson, MNSAH president, Augsburg College art history professor and archivist; Greg Gaut, historic preservation consultant and previous St. Mary’s College history professor; and Scott Rohr, co-owner of The Yarnery in St. Paul, and our newest MNSAH board member.

The Gebhard Award honors David Gebhard, the late Minnesota-born Society of Architectural Historians president and nationally renowned writer.

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