"Construction and design are inclusive of all cultures, originating in the common unity of the human condition and, like all endeavors, are the product of desire and reason, of dream and detail."
Jaan Holt, Director of the Washington-Alexandria Center
The Maine Prize for Architecture is a biennial award that acknowledges an architect, an individual, or an organization that has added significantly to the legacy of Maine building and to the Maine community in the belief that architecture plays a meaningful part in our lives.
The 2010 winner of the Maine Prize for Architecture is
Philip M. Isaacson.
Isaacson has been art and architecture critic for the Maine Sunday Telegram for 45 years. His early modern house in Lewiston, Maine, was built on a shoestring budget. He has painstakingly cared for the house for fifty years. The house today, is in splendid condition. You can see it displayed in the exhibition "maine modern: 50 years of modern architecture in maine, and in the October issue of dwell magazine. Only a personal love and appreciation can carry the torch for so many years. We can look around us tonight and understand the potential impact of great architecture.
In the year 2000, Phillip Isaacson wrote to the architects Wiebke and Steven Theodore, "I look at architecture constantly and read about it when I'm not looking at it".
Juror Wiebke Theodore writes, "thankfully he also writes about it! In Round Buildings, Square Buildings & Buildings that Wiggle like a Fish he describes Maine Grange Halls, the white washed buildings of Sabbathday Shaker Village and his own iconic modern home. He illuminates the qualities of great design.
The commission of his home and its careful preservation would in itself make him worthy of this prize. Its location in town, and use of local, readily available materials, make it as important today as it was when it was built. It has elegant simplicity and is resourceful."
Another juror, Edward Leger comments: In an age with a focus on the superficial and the ephemeral, it is rewarding that an individual such as Philip Isaacson continues to remind us not only of Maine's built heritage but of contemporary architecture and its place and importance in the life of Maine residents. Such passion for a subject is rare in our time."
Philip Isaacson is a Mainer who has taken risks. He has absorbed the knowledge of building; he is a writer, an attorney, and a preservationist. Philip has shown how one person can have great influence in the lives of many.
"Great architecture is not about political correctness, or architectural positioning. It is about creating new kinds of engagement with people and places through the design process as revealed and validated by the produced work."
Jay Merrick, Architecture Critic, The Independent