David Rifkind Awarded Alpha Rho Chi Gold Medal

Chicago, IL – March 22, 2014 – Alpha Rho Chi (APX) awarded David Rifkind the APX Gold Medal for his distinguished work as an emerging architect and historian. Rifkind received the medal at APX’s National Convention during a banquet marking the fraternity’s centennial. Rifkind was also given the honor of being featured speaker at the centennial banquet.

Rifkind’s work as an architectural historian focuses on how architectural modernism has been shaped by political identity and agendas. His doctoral thesis on how the fascist rulers of Italy used modern architecture between the World Wars formed the basis of his first book, The Battle for Modernism: Quadrante and the Politicization of Architectural Discourse in Fascist Italy. The book was awarded the 2011 James Ackerman from CISA Andrea Palladio – one of the most prestigious international awards for architectural history.

Extending this subject to Italy’s former colonies in East Africa, Rifkind investigated the legacy of its colonial urban design and architecture. His work is the first to combine field study in Ethiopia with archival research in Italy. An early article from this research in the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, “Gondar. Architecture and Urbanism for Italy’s Fascist Empire,” earned him the society’s 2012 Founders’ Award for best article by an emerging scholar in the previous two years.

His article for the Journal of Architectural Education, “Misprision of Precedent: Design as Creative Misreading” was a winner of the JAE’s 2012 Best Scholarship of Design Article Award. Most recently he co-edited A Critical History of Contemporary Architecture: 1960-2010 with Elie Haddad, published in March 2014.

Tin House InteriorIn addition to his work as historian and theorist, Rifkind practices architecture. His house, “Tin Box,” was designed with his wife Holly Zickler to be highly sustainable with an efficient steel frame, mostly recycled materials, and a water collection/filtration system that produced most of the building’s own drinking water. The landscape was designed to grow produce and provide habitat for native wildlife. For its sustainable attributes, the house was awarded LEED-H Platinum and Florida Water Star Gold certification. “Tin Box” was featured inResidential Architect magazine, Florida/Caribbean Architect magazine and as well as on HGTV’s “FrontDoor” and on NBC 6 in Miami.

Rifkind is an assistant professor teaching architectural history and theory at Florida International University in Miami, Florida. Prior to coming to FIU in 2007, Rifkind earned his Doctor of Philosophy at Columbia University, building on his Architecture degrees at Boston Architectural Center and McGill. In 2013, Rifkind became a faculty member of Alpha Rho Chi at FIU’s Nicon Chapter. The Alpha Rho Chi Gold Medal is the fraternity’s highest award for professional distinction. The award requires the approval of over 3/4 of the fraternity’s chapters and alumni associations, and this is the first such award in the past 15 years. Previous winners of the Alpha Rho Chi Gold Medal include I.M. Pei and Samuel Balen, FAIA.