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Francesca Alchanati Wins 'Ize Prize' for Architecture

April 20, 2020

Steve Izenour, 1940 – 2001, was an architect, urbanist and theorist who worked closely with Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown. With them, he co-authored the phenomenally influential book, Learning from Las Vegas. He was also a much loved colleague and instructor in the Architecture program at Drexel.


Known by his friends as “Steve Ize,” he is honored each year through a student competition offered in the fourth year. Students are encouraged to explore space, image, and graphics through the design of a small building. And no project in honor of Steve would be complete without it also being fun, ironic, playful and whimsical.


This year’s project involved a bike rest stop along the Schuylkill River off of Kelly Drive. In our current all-online universe, students had a week to develop an idea and post it into our electronic blackboard where it was judged by a panel of Drexel luminaries, all former colleagues and friends of Steve.


On a Saturday morning, with coffee cups in hand and, in some cases, unruly hair, the jury assembled on Zoom. There were serious deliberations, lighthearted banter, and a few questionable jokes, generally at each other’s expense. In other words, exactly as Steve would have wanted it.


The winner of this year’s Ize Prize is Francesca “Frankie” Alchanati. Her lyrical, spacious and inviting design was a clear jury favorite. Gi Giannone took second place and Natalie Cross took third. The jury, operating with its usual flexible rules, chose to make two additional awards: Wes Stoltzfus was honored for his powerful day/night images, and Jonathan “JP” Porat was awarded the newly minted ‘Strangely Extraordinary’ citation.


The jury also noted that all of the submissions contained compelling ideas and images. The entire body of work will be on display in yet another electronic site – MURAL – for all to see.