Helpern Architects


At the symposium announcing the 2015 AIANY Design Awards, the Nave of Sterling Memorial Library at Yale University was the sole historic preservation project recognized. Awardees are selected for their “distinguished achievement”; there were 35 winners out of almost 400 submissions.

After two days of deliberation, the international jury gathered at an evening program to announce and comment on how each winner “uniquely contributed to the design conversation.” The panel was moderated by Beatrice Galilee, Associate Curator of Architecture and Design at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

AIANY’s online publication eOculus reported on the symposium. It stated that the jurors found that “Helpern Architects’ restoration of the Nave … was one of several restoration projects that impressed the jurors … [Juror Richard Maimon, FAIA] described the sophistication of lighting and millwork as outstanding features of this restoration. He also praised the architects’ astute understanding of the different uses of a library in the 21st century as opposed to the 1930s, when the library was built, which made for a successful restoration of the historic building.”

David Helpern, FAIA, remarked that, “Considering that the other 34 projects were not just remarkable but very contemporary in their style, it’s gratifying that the Nave made it through the jury review. Yale wanted ‘past and present, traditional and contemporary, the physical and the digital’ to ‘come together in harmony.’ We’re very pleased that the jury agreed.”

Caption: The Jury displayed these before and after views of the Nave’s renovation to show why the Nave received an award.