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Acanthus Awards Medal

MGLM Architects

Project Name

Acanthus Awards Medal

Project Status



  • Matthew McNicholas


  • General Contractor: Robert Baird
  • Other: Scott Morey





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Project Description

From AIA Chicago:

The annual awards program of the Chicago-Midwest Chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art sought a bronze award that exhibited the ideals of the Classical tradition while making the award specific to the chapter. They chose the name of the Acanthus Award of Arete. Arete is a Greek word translated as excellence in fulfillment of purpose or function, and the bronze was created to uniquely honor a project that exhibits that quality.

The origin of the design lies in the philosophical juxtaposition and harmonious interweaving of the geometric and the organic, embodying Chicago’s motto of URBS IN HORTO – City in a Garden – as well as local design traditions. The design is generated from a synthesis of 3 significant moments in the history of American Midwest architecture. The square frame represents the geometric layering present in the Prairie Style. The intersection and interaction of the natural and the geometric, as well as the “awakening” of the square, allude to Louis Sullivan’s teachings. Finally, the Acanthus leaves and corbels represent the Classical, as stipulated by the program.
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