Columbus Regional Hospital
Robert A. M. Stern is a contemporary architect with a profound sensitivity to tradition. With a portfolio of high-profile projects that range from single-family residences to skyscrapers, Stern finds inspiration in architectural history and a sense of place and time. Stern is participating in the Architecture for Everyday Life session of “Foundations and Futures,” where he will converse with stakeholders Lynne Maguire and Jim Bickel of Columbus Regional Hospital.
Stern has led his architectural firm, Robert A. M. Stern Architects (RAMSA), since founding it in 1977. The firm is one of the largest and most renowned in the country, with projects spanning the globe. Stern is perhaps best known for shaping the skyline of New York City with high-rises like 15 Central Park West. His diverse body of work also includes institutions like the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia, set to open in 2017, and ambitious planning projects such as the entire town of Celebration, Florida. In Columbus, Indiana, RAMSA designed Columbus Regional Health, a complex project that totally re-imagined the hospital’s campus as an elegant ensemble of buildings that are both welcoming and functional. Stern’s designs feel classic, featuring traditional materials and historically inspired forms even in the tallest skyscrapers. In 2011 Stern received the Driehaus Architecture Prize, which is awarded for a career of achievement in classical architecture. But Stern doesn’t like to limit his work to a single signature style, preferring to approach each design as a response to the project, the location, and its traditions.
Stern’s sensitivity to tradition is informed by his work as a teacher and a scholar of architectural history. Educated at Yale and Columbia, Stern has maintained close ties with both universities. For many years, he was a professor of architecture and director of the Historic Preservation Program at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation at Columbia University. Stern then returned to Yale, serving as the dean of the Yale School of Architecture from 1998 until this summer, when Deborah Berke—another “Foundations and Futures” participant—took over the role. Stern is also author of many books about architectural history, often focused on New York City. One recent book, Paradise Planned: The Garden Suburb and the Modern City, recounts the widespread propagation and adoption of the garden suburb model as well as its relevance to modern urban planning. He closed his tenure at Yale with an exhibition titled “Pedagogy and Place: Celebrating 100 Years of Architecture Education at Yale” and a book of the same name. The National Building Museum recognized Stern’s distinguished career as a teacher and writer with the Vincent Scully Prize in 2008.
Stern’s work as an architect and a scholar shows us that architecture can respect past traditions while serving the community’s present and future needs. He will bring his deep experience designing, teaching, and writing about architecture to the Architecture for Everyday Life session of “Foundations and Futures,” which will explore Columbus’ architectural heritage in relation to the life and work of the community.
Images by Peter Aaron / OTTO and NC3D