Zeuler R. Lima wins prestigious Bruno Zevi Prize for architecture writing

Zeuler R. Lima, Ph.D., assistant professor of architecture in the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, has won the 2007 Bruno Zevi Prize from the Bruno Zevi Foundation in Rome.

Lima received the award for his extended essay “Towards Simple Architecture,” about the Italian-Brazilian architect Lina Bo Bardi (Rome,1914-São Paulo,1992). The essay, which explores Bo Bardi’s contributions to the theory and practice of design, is supported by original archival material — notably a series of letters, written between 1945 and 1974, that chronicle a heated intellectual debate between Bo Bardi and Bruno Zevi.

Zeuler Lima
Zeuler Lima

“Lina Bo Bardi occupied a position of cultural importance in Latin America that is analogous to the one occupied by Frida Kahlo,” Lima explains. “She produced an original and critical body of work regarding architecture, design and criticism in the second postwar period. She was without doubt one of the great architects of the 20th century, and yet her work is very little known outside of Brazil and literature about her biography, writings and design is scarce.”

Lima is currently preparing a book about Bo Bardi’s life and work. In particular, the volume will focus on her relationship to modernism relating the architect’s early experiences in Italy and her experiences after emigrating to Brazil in 1946.

The Bruno Zevi Prize is awarded annually for a historical-critical essay offering an original analysis of an architectural work or theme or an architect of the past or present. The competition is open to holders of research doctorates with recognized experience in architectural history, theory and criticism. Lima’s winning entry will be published in the Quaderni of the Bruno Zevi Foundation. He will also spend 30 days in residency at the foundation while conducting additional research about Bo Bardi.

Zevi (1918-2000) was one of the most prominent historians and critics of 20th-century modern architecture and urbanism. Born in Italy, he came to the United States during the Second World War and studied at Harvard University, then under the directorship of Walter Gropius. While in the United States, Zevi also discovered the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, which helped shape his conception of Italian Social and Organic Architecture. A longtime professor at the University of Rome, he served as editor of the journal L’Architettura for more than four decades.

The jury for the Bruno Zevi Prize consisted of five renowned architects and architectural historians: Jean-Louis Cohen of the Ecole des Hautes Etudes in Paris and New York University; Berlin architect and author Zvi Hecker; Alessandra Muntoni, director of Metamorfosi Magazine; Antonino Saggio of the Università di Roma La Sapienza; and Dennis Sharp, chair of the International Committee of Architectural Critics in London.

Runners-up for the prize were Eeva Lisa Pelkonen of Yale University, Daniela Salvi of the University of Rome and Joseph Cory of the Israel Institute of Technology.