Protected: Vincent Scully Prize

2021 Recipient: Mabel O. Wilson

On October 19th, 2021 The National Building Museum awarded its Vincent Scully Prize to  Mabel O. Wilson, the Nancy and George E. Rupp Professor of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation at Columbia University. Wilson is the 23rd recipient of the annual award that recognizes excellence in practice, scholarship, or criticism in architecture, historic preservation, and urban design.  An architect, scholar, researcher, artist, writer, and curator, Wilson’s work focuses on Black culture and history and the ways they intersect with the built environment. In a conversation with Steven Nelson, Dean of the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art, Wilson discussed her career and ongoing work to expand the narrative of African American contributions to the built environment. Read the press release here.

In her talk, Wilson addressed:

  • How the invention of racial difference was influenced by and influences the aesthetic and technical dimensions of architecture in the early modern era of the nineteenth century.
  • How and why historically marginalized groups were excluded from the commemorative landscape of memorial structures in American cities.
  • How to articulate criteria and practices that can be used when public memorials or monuments are contested.

Vincent Scully Prize

The Vincent Scully Prize, established in 1999, is named for the esteemed professor who inspired so many across the building disciplines. Scully was the Sterling Professor Emeritus of the History of Art at Yale University and Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Miami. For more than four decades, his teaching and scholarship profoundly influenced prominent architects, urban planners, and others.

The Prize recognizes excellence in practice, scholarship, or criticism in architecture, historic preservation, and urban design. The nomination and selection process for each year’s recipient resides within the Prize jury. The Museum participates in deliberations and may submit candidates, but it does not vote on finalists. Current jury members:

  • Chair: Ellen Dunham-Jones, Professor, Director, Urban Design Program, Georgia Tech School of Architecture
  • James Corner, FASLA, Founder and CEO, James Corner Field Operations
  • Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, Partner, DPZ/CoDesign
  • Paul Goldberger, Architecture Critic, Contributing Editor, Vanity Fair
  • Walter Hood, ASLA, Creative Director and Founder, Hood Design Studio



2021: Mabel O. Wilson
2019: Elizabeth Meyer, FASLA
2018: Robert Campbell and Inga Saffron
2017: Laurie Olin, FASLA
2013: Joshua David and Robert Hammond
2012: Paul Goldberger
2011: William K. Reilly
2010: Adele Chatfield-Taylor
2009: Christopher Alexander
2008: Robert A. M. Stern
2007: Richard Moe
2007: Witold Rybczynski / Read the transcript
2006: Phyllis Lambert
2005: His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales / Read the transcript
2005: His Highness the Aga Kahn / Read the transcript
2002: Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown / Read the transcript
2001: Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk and Andres Duany
2000: Jane Jacobs / Read the transcript
1999: Vincent Scully