February 28, 2019
Boundary-breaking architects Elaine Molinar [BArch ‘88] and Craig Dykers [BArch ‘85] of international firm Snøhetta received the Texas Medal of Arts Award for Architecture last night at the Texas Cultural Trust’s awards show and gala in Austin. Dean Michelle Addington joined the celebration as a member of this year’s awards committee, appointed by the Texas Cultural Trust.
The Texas Cultural Trust’s Texas Medal of Arts Award is the state’s most respected arts distinction. Now in its tenth biennial year, the awards underscore the power of the arts to improve children’s education, contribute to the unique and proud cultural heritage of Texas, and stimulate the state’s economy.
Elaine Molinar and Craig Dykers, School of Architecture alumni and founding partners of international architecture, landscape, and design studio Snøhetta, are widely recognized for innovative projects that have created and transformed high profile public spaces. Their projects include the Alexandria Library in Egypt, The National September 11 Memorial Museum Pavilion and Times Square in New York, the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet in Oslo, and many others. Next up, their work will bring them back to the UT Austin campus as they reimagine the Blanton Museum of Art’s outdoor spaces.
Upon accepting their award, Molinar and Dykers gave a powerful speech about the role that Architecture should be commanding in society and in the construction of the built environment. They discussed how a lack of diversity and funding is limiting its reach. In a touching close to their acceptance speech, Dykers reflected back on their days as students at the School of Architecture and shared how he raised the money to ask Elaine out by playing flute on 6th Street, revealing the remarkable breadth of interests and abilities often seen in architects and designers.
Gilbert and Suzanne Mathews generously served as hosts for Dykers, Molinar, and Dean Addington. Professor Michael Benedikt and his wife, Amelie, were also present for the evening. In receiving this great honor, Dykers and Molinar wanted to acknowledge the important influence of Benedikt on their lives and careers.
UT Austin was well represented at this year’s event, which recognized leaders in ten categories spanning the visual, performing, and literary arts, architecture, and arts education. Academy Award-winning actor Matthew McConaughey [BS RTF ‘93] and author, journalist, and screenwriter Stephen Harrigan [BA ‘70] also received awards for their contributions to the cultural fabric of Texas. McConaughey, who is also a producer, director, philanthropist, and UT Austin professor, took home the 2019 Film award. Harrigan, best known for The Gates of the Alamo and contributions to Texas Monthly from the time of its founding, received the Literary Arts award.
Learn more about the Texas Medal of Arts Awards.