Arch + Eng, Design

Robert Rubin Receives AIANY Award of Merit

The American Institute of Architects New York Chapter (AIANY) conferred its highest annual awards and toasted the winners of the 2016 AIANY Design Awards at the Honors and Awards Luncheon on Friday, April 15, 2016.

Every year, AIANY honors architects, philanthropists, public servants, and organizations that are committed to improving communities through design excellence. The Chapter’s annual Honors and Design Awards reinforce AIA’s central principle: design matters.

“Robert Rubin has made a tremendous contribution as a connoisseur to the preservation of some of the most idiosyncratic and unique works in architecture. Perhaps best known for his work on the Maison de Verre in Paris, Rubin has preserved and brought to the public eye works by Jean Prouve, Shigeru Ban, and Buckminster Fuller. Rubin is a true renaissance man: an impressive intellectual, informed patron, and generous philanthropist,” remarked Carol Loewenson, FAIA.

Robert Rubin began his adult life as a commodity and currency trader. During his 25 years on Wall Street, he served on the New York Federal Reserve’s Foreign Exchange Committee, as well as on President Clinton’s Commission on Capital Budgeting. At the turn of the millennium, he cashed in his chips and enrolled in the Theory and History of Architecture PhD program at Columbia University, where he’s ABD. He writes on such diverse subjects as Alexander Calder and Rayner Banham and curates exhibitions on art, architecture, and cinema.

He co-authored, with Olivier Cinqualbre of the Centre Pompidou, Jean Prouvé: Tropical House. Most recently, he curated Walkers: Hollywood Afterlives in Art and Artifact, currently on view at the Museum of the Moving Image. He has also contributed an essay on Pierre Chareau’s time in America to the catalog for the upcoming exhibition on Chareau at the Jewish Museum. He and his wife Stéphane donated the Tropical House to the Centre Pompidou in 2002. In 2005, they acquired Chareau’s Maison de Verre in Paris, which they open on a regular basis to architects and architecture schools. Rubin also restored the largest of Buckminster Fuller’s three Fly’s Eye Dome prototypes. His next exhibition, Richard Avedon’s France: Old World, New Look, opens in Paris in fall 2016.

As a patron of new architecture, Rubin, with architect Roger Ferris, built a golf clubhouse on Long Island that stood the conservative typology on its ear with its openness and informality. That building has had a widespread influence in the golf industry. With architect Gordon Kipping, he recently completed a golf learning center with state-of-the-art simulators in a community space in Harlem, where at-risk youth go for academic tutoring and golf instruction.

About the Award of Merit
The Award of Merit is conferred to a non-professional for contributions as a client, public servant, critic, or layperson in any appropriate field related to the profession. Past recipients include Richard Buckminster Fuller (1952), Lewis Mumford (1962), David Rockefeller (1965), Jane Jacobs (1980), Phyllis Lambert (1991), Design Trust for Public Space (2001), former DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan (2008), and Alexander Garvin (2012).