Hill-Stead Museum Announces the First Recipient of Theodate Pope Riddle Women in Architecture and Design Award

Hill-Stead Museum is pleased to announce Deborah Berke, Founding Partner of Deborah Berke Partners and Dean and J.M. Hoppin Professor of Architecture at the Yale School of Architecture, as the recipient of the inaugural Theodate Pope Riddle Women in Architecture and Design Award. The award recognizes women who have made significant contributions to both design excellence and the advancement of women in the fields of architecture and design.

Theodate Pope Riddle (1867-1946) designed Hill-Stead as a home for her family in 1901 and transformed it into a museum through her last will and testament. On the occasion of the museum’s 75th anniversary, we celebrate and honor her legacy by creating this award. Theodate was one of the first women to become a licensed architect in both New York and Connecticut. Throughout her lifetime, Theodate demonstrated gifted design instincts, unwavering initiative, and keen sensitivity to not only the art of architecture but also the immense power of place.

After considering many incredible and qualified candidates, we selected Deborah Berke as the first recipient of this award. Like Theodate, Deborah has been a trailblazer in the field. She has also demonstrated the same commitment to creating environments of learning as Theodate did back in her day.

In the words of Myles R. Brown, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, member of Hill-Stead Museum Board of Governors:

Deborah embodies Theodate’s pioneering spirit as an Architect, firm owner, spokeswoman for the profession, and the first woman to be named Dean of the Yale School of Architecture in its 100-year history. Her work as an architect is impactful and beautiful with an understated elegance that embodies what she describes as “the architecture of every day.” She is a role model for how architectural practices and educational institutions should strive to foster the principles of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Please join us in celebrating Deborah and this new award, as we honor our founder Theodate and her legacy.

About Deborah Berke

Deborah Berke in the materials library at Deborah Berke Partners. Photo: Winnie Au.

Deborah Berke, FAIA, LEED AP is an architect, educator, and the founder of New York-based architecture firm Deborah Berke Partners. Deborah leads the firm alongside her ten partners. Among the firm’s most significant works are the Residential Colleges at Princeton University, the Cummins Indy Distribution Headquarters, the Rockefeller Arts Center at SUNY Fredonia, the Yale School of Art in New Haven, Connecticut, and the 21c Museum Hotels across the South and Midwest. In 2017, Deborah Berke Partners was honored with a National Design Award from the Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, recognizing their excellence in interior design.

Deborah is the Dean of the Yale School of Architecture, the first woman to hold the position. She has been a Professor at Yale since 1987. She is the recipient of the AIA/ ACSA Topaz Medallion, the highest honor for architectural education. In 2012, she was the inaugural designee of the Berkeley-Rupp Prize at the University of California at Berkeley, which is given to an architect who has advanced the position of women in the profession and whose work emphasizes a commitment to sustainability and the community. She is a board member of the James Howell Foundation, a member of the board of directors of Yaddo, and an advisor to the Norman Foster Foundation. She serves on the jury for the Pritzker Architecture Prize, the highest honor in the field. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Deborah is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design and The City University of New York. In 2005, she was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts from the Rhode Island School of Design.