Press Release | Washington, DC | October 15, 2018

Jury Announces the Winners of the 2018 Richard H. Driehaus Foundation National Preservation Awards

The National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Richard H. Driehaus Foundation National Preservation Awards are the nation’s highest honor in the field of preservation

Three dynamic projects, ranging from the reimagining of a former asylum to the adaptive reuse of a historic school to the groundbreaking transformation of a 1.5 million square-foot mixed-use facility, are the winners of the 2018 Richard H. Driehaus Foundation National Preservation Awards according to an announcement made today by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Given each year at the end of a juried competition, the Driehaus Foundation National Preservation Awards, the nation’s most coveted and prestigious, are bestowed on historic preservation efforts that demonstrate excellence in execution and a positive impact on the vitality of their towns and cities.

“Through creative and meticulous restorations that reinvigorate older buildings, elevate the quality of public life, serve contemporary needs in their communities, and educate and encourage others, these projects are outstanding examples of the power and potential of preservation to improve lives,” said Stephanie Meeks, president and CEO of the National Trust. “We are honored to partner with the Driehaus Foundation to celebrate the preservationists of today and inspire those of tomorrow.”

Chosen from among 50 nominated projects by a jury led by Pulitzer Prize-winning architecture critic Paul Goldberger, this year’s winners are: the Crosstown Concourse in Memphis, Tennessee for transforming one of the first Sears, Roebuck and Company stores into a sustainable, mixed-use “urban village”; The Douglass at Page Woodson in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma for artfully converting a historic school into an affordable apartment community; and the Richardson Olmsted Campus in Buffalo, New York for reviving an architectural masterpiece.

In selecting the winners, the jury, which also includes Getty Conservation Institute historian Jeffrey Cody and longtime Atlanta preservationist and community activist Mtamanika Youngblood, considered a wide range of criteria, such as the difficulty of the challenge, the quality of the restoration work, the uniqueness of the effort, and the impact of the project on the community.

“The quality of the submissions made these awards an especially difficult choice this year, but they demonstrate how much the Driehaus program represents the best of preservation in action,” said Paul Goldberger. “All three of the winning projects are innovative and transcendent preservation successes that we hope will spur more creativity in reuse all over America.”

“We congratulate this year’s honorees and thank them for their thoughtful and transformative work,” said Kim Coventry, executive director of the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation. “This National Trust award is one of the most important awards that the Driehaus Foundation supports to encourage public and private preservation and innovation in creating a built environment that respects the past while enriching the present and the future.”

Established in 2012, the Driehaus Foundation National Preservation Awards have honored distinguished individuals, nonprofit organizations, public agencies, and corporations whose skill and determination have added to the richness of their communities by preserving their architectural and cultural heritage. As the most sought after of all National Trust awards, the initiative recognizes efforts in landmark preservation, historic restoration, skilled craftsmanship, and educational and advocacy campaigns.

This year’s Richard H. Driehaus Foundation National Preservation Awards winners will be honored as part of PastForward 2018, the nation’s largest historic preservation conference, on November 14 at the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre in San Francisco. Members of the public are invited to learn more about the award-winning set of projects, individuals, and organizations that have demonstrated excellence in the field of preservation at:

The 2018 Driehaus Foundation National Preservation Award winners:

  • Crosstown Concourse (Memphis, TN): Though much has changed since the facility opened as a Sears, Roebuck and Company distribution center and retail store less than two miles from downtown Memphis in 1927, Crosstown Concourse is the product of nearly five generations of innovators, dreamers, and builders. Today, having overcome two decades of blight, Crosstown Concourse is the catalyst for the revitalization of not just a distressed and abandoned building, but an entire neighborhood. Initially conceived as a home for a small start-up arts organization, the building has evolved into a 1.5 million square-foot mixed-use “vertical urban village.” Designed by Looney Ricks Kiss in association with DIALOG, the Concourse project is exemplary not just for its remarkable size, but for the many ways it puts community first: in meeting the needs of its residents; in the extent of its grassroots involvement; in the educational and cultural opportunities it provides; and in the residential and commercial developments that are reinvigorating the community.
  • The Douglass at Page Woodson (Oklahoma City, OK): The restoration and adaptation of Page Woodson School into affordable apartments marks a vibrant cultural renewal in Oklahoma City. In a public-private partnership, the badly decayed 1910 school house—renamed in 1934 for abolitionist Frederick Douglass when it became an all-black high school—underwent extensive restoration and now accommodates 60 affordable apartments and a community auditorium. Developed by Colony Partners and SCG Development and designed by Smith Dalia Architects, the restoration capitalized on the building’s outstanding example of Classical Revival red brick, its rich artisanal ornamentation, and educational themes to give this affordable housing solution a far more distinguished architectural identity than it would otherwise have today. Oklahoma City’s Ambassador's Concert Choir has started planning on how best to connect the community to the historic auditorium, which once hosted such personalities as jazz great Duke Ellington and Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.
  • Richardson Olmsted Campus (Buffalo, NY): Reuse of the massive 145-year-old Richardson Olmsted Campus, the former Buffalo State Asylum and widely considered to be one of Buffalo’s most important and beautiful buildings, is the story of a threatened National Historic Landmark, the community effort to save it, a public-private partnership, skilled planning and design, and, ultimately, of success and rebirth. The transformation of the campus, a masterpiece of design by architect Henry Hobson Richardson and landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, into a new hotel and architecture center occupying the iconic Towers Building and its two flanking structures is expected to be the crown jewel of a planned, mixed-use civic campus contributing to Buffalo’s architectural heritage. Supported by state funds and historic tax credits, the first phase of historic restoration created nearly 600 jobs and generated new sales tax revenues while playing an integral role in the cultural renewal and attraction of the Buffalo-Niagara region.

About the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation National Preservation Awards

The Driehaus Foundation National Preservation Awards have honored distinguished individuals, nonprofit organizations, public agencies, and corporations whose skill and determination have given new meaning to communities by preserving their architectural and cultural heritage. The coveted awards recognize efforts such as citizens saving and maintaining important landmarks, companies and craftsmen restoring the richness of the past, public officials supporting preservation projects and legislation in their communities, and educators and journalists helping Americans understand the value of preservation.


The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded nonprofit organization, works to save America’s historic places. | @savingplaces

This May, our Preservation Month theme is “People Saving Places” to shine the spotlight on everyone doing the work of saving places—in big ways and small—and inspiring others to do the same!