The Awards recognize the achievements and contributions of architects, painters, sculptors, artisans, interior designers, landscape designers, educators, publishers, patrons, and others dedicated to preserving and advancing the classical tradition.

NEW YORK, NY, March 21, 2024 /24-7PressRelease/ — The Institute of Classical Architecture & Art (ICAA) announces the winners of the 2024 Arthur Ross Awards for Excellence in the Classical Tradition. This year’s winners—an illustrious roster of architects, designers, artists, educators, writers, and urbanists—include Abdel-Wahed El-Wakil, Féau Boiseries, Julia Watson, Markham Roberts, Thomas Wells Schaller, and Stephen A. Schwarzman.

In a dinner to be held on Monday, May 13th at the University Club of New York, the following will be honored, by category:

ARCHITECTURE | Abdel-Wahed El-Wakil, Doha, QA

Abdel-Wahed El-Wakil is one of the leading voices in contemporary Islamic architecture and a practitioner known worldwide for his use of traditional form and technique. Over the past four decades, Abdel-Wahed El-Wakil has built mosques, public buildings and private residences throughout the Middle East maintaining balance between continuance and change. His work celebrates the overall principles of Islamic architecture and culture while reflecting the regional character and locality in which each structure resides. He works with traditional design principles that use indigenous materials and processes, and integrates them with contemporary technology to create familiar, functional and environmentally sustainable structures that are both timeless and for our time.

Prof. El-Wakil once was quoted as saying, “To abandon tradition, to disregard the achievements and models of the past and to be caught up in the trauma of change means to be incapable of handling the new.” He also said, “Concerning my attitude towards design: I can cautiously say that I seek the essence within the natural order to guide and inspire my work. God Almighty has requested man to seek inspiration in the natural world.”

He is the recipient of two Aga Khan Awards: the first he received in 1980 for the Halawa house in Agamy, Egypt, and the second was awarded in 1989 for his work on the Corniche Mosque in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. In 2009 he was also given the Driehaus Architecture Prize.

INTERIOR DESIGN | Markham Roberts, New York City, US

Born in Indianapolis, Markham Roberts graduated from Brown University and moved to New York to work with the great American interior designer, Mark Hampton, before opening his eponymous firm in 1997. Called “a master of timeless American style” by Vogue, Markham has earned the reputation as one of the top decorators of his generation.

Markham and his work have been featured in Architectural Digest, Cabana, Domino, Elle Decor, Galerie, House Beautiful, House & Garden, Southern Accents, Town & Country, Veranda, Vogue and The New York Times. Since 2014, Markham has been named to the AD100. In addition, he is included in Inspired Design: The 100 Most Important Designers of the Past 100 Years, the historic list of all-time great decorators. Markham’s highly respected monograph, Decorating: The Way I See It, highlights his thoughtful and imaginative approach to decorating. His second book, Notes on Decorating, further illustrates his refined and singular method of designing interiors.

Known for his creativity and his ability to work in a wide variety of styles, Markham adeptly interprets his clients’ needs and desires to seamlessly reflect their style and not merely his own imprint. Whether working on commercial projects or for private clients, across the country and abroad, Markham infuses interiors with his sophisticated and personal touch, applying his knowledge and experience individually and specifically to each project.

Markham lectures on decorating across the country and sits on the board of the Cain Foundation, a philanthropic trust established by his late grandparents to support the arts, education, and to assist those in need.


For 150 years, Féau Boiseries has been perpetuating the tradition of French-style interiors by combining a unique collection of antique wood paneling decors with the exceptional craftsmanship of its workshops.

The Féau collection, patiently assembled since 1875, features rare and iconic pieces ranging from the 17th to the 20th century by some of the greatest architects and decorators in French history: Claude-Nicolas Ledoux, François-Joseph Bélanger, Charles Percier and Pierre Fontaine, Jacques-Emile Ruhlmann, Jean-Michel Frank, and Emilio Terry, to name but a few. It continues to expand under the aegis of Guillaume Féau, a passionate collector.

With countless complete rooms, panels, fragments of carved wood, plaster casts, watercolors and drawings, this priceless collection reflects the firm’s spirit, love of beauty and passion for the decorative arts. It enables Féau Boiseries to offer architects and interior designers from around the world an invaluable source of inspiration and style accuracy when designing French-style classical decor. The traditional handcrafting techniques which have been passed down unchanged from generation to generation ensure the highest level of quality and precision in the building of these spectacular rooms.

Féau Boiseries has always maintained close ties with the United States. With clients such as Henry Frick, Henry Ford, the Getty, the Vanderbilt, the Wrightsman and other past and present members of the American elite, Féau Boiseries has worked on many exceptional interiors across the country.

FINE ARTS | Thomas Wells Schaller, New York City, US

Thomas W. Schaller is a multi-award-winning artist, architect, and author based in New York City. He is a winner of the Alpha Rho Chi Medal, a Graham Foundation Grant, AIA Award Winner, Gold Medal Winner by the Circle Arts Foundation, and a two-time winner of the Hugh Ferriss Memorial Prize. He is the author of three books, including The Art of Architectural Drawing and Architecture in Watercolor, which received an American Institute of Architecture Award of Merit. His new book, Thomas W Schaller: Architecture of Light is published by Penguin Random House. His best-selling DVD, Watercolor: The Power of Design is published by Streamline Media and his new ground-breaking interactive online course “Design and the Power of Imagination” is hosted by Terracotta LLC.

Thomas’ work has been featured in countless exhibitions around the world and is in many public and private collections. He is a Signature Member of many arts organizations including the American Watercolor Society, the National Watercolor Society, and Transparent Watercolor Society of America, and an elected member of the International Masters of Watercolor Alliance. He was recently appointed to the Advisory Board of American Watercolor Weekly and Streamline Publishing, and elected Artist Member of the California Art Club and the Salmagundi Art Club, NYC. He is president emeritus of the American Society of Architectural Illustrators and a founding member of the group North American Watercolor Artists.

EDUCATION | Julia Watson, New York City, US

Designer, activist, academic and author, Julia Watson is a leading expert on Indigenous nature-based technologies. Her unconventional research led her to writing and design projects inspired by pilgrimages to sacred natural sites, while her formal education has led to speaking and teaching positions with TED, NPR, The Long Now, Harvard, Columbia, RISD, and Rensselaer universities. Her work has been widely published in journals such as SPOOL, KOOZARCH, LAF, Topos, Scroope Journal, and the UN’s Indigenous Peoples and Climate Technologies Guidebook.

In 2019, TASCHEN published her award-winning bestseller, Lo—TEK: Design by Radical Indigenism, which will be followed by a sequel, Lo—TEK: Water, in 2025. Coined by Julia, Lo— TEK has been featured twice in The New York Times, The Guardian, Monocle, and Architectural Digest, and many more publications. Her work has been supported by a Christensen Fund grant, an Arnold W. Brunner award for Architectural Research, and two New York State Council of the Arts Architecture + Design awards. Her studio work involves landscape and urban design projects, writing, lecturing and futures consulting for the sustainability & innovation sectors.

Julia lives between Brooklyn, New York and Springs, Long Island with her family and dog, Rigby.

PATRONAGE | Stephen A. Schwarzman, New York City, US

Stephen A. Schwarzman is Chairman, CEO and Co-Founder of Blackstone, one of the world’s leading investment firms with over $1 trillion Assets Under Management, with leading investing businesses across asset classes, including private equity, real estate, credit and insurance, infrastructure and life sciences. Mr. Schwarzman has been involved in all phases of Blackstone’s development since its founding in 1985.

In both business and philanthropy, he dedicates himself to tackling big problems with transformative solutions. His major gifts have helped establish a new center at the University of Oxford to redefine the study of the humanities for the 21st century, create a new college at MIT dedicated to the study of artificial intelligence, build a first-of-its-kind student center at Yale, renovate and expand the New York Public Library, and found an international fellowship program, Schwarzman Scholars, at Tsinghua University in Beijing to educate future leaders about China.

Mr. Schwarzman is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Business Roundtable, and International Business Council of the WEF. He was named one of Barron’s “World’s Best CEOs” in 2019; one of Forbes’ Top 50 “World’s Most Powerful People” in 2018; Forbes’ most influential person in finance in 2016; and one of TIME’s “100 Most Influential People” in 2007. His honors include both the Légion d’Honneur and Ordre des Arts et des Letters at the Commandeur level from France, and Order of the Aztec Eagle from Mexico, for his work on behalf of the U.S. in support of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement in 2018. Also, at the University of Oxford, Mr. Schwarzman was elected a Wykeham Fellow at New College in 2021 and a Waynflete Fellow at Magdalen College in 2023. In 2024, Mr. Schwarzman was appointed as an Honorary Knight of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (KBE) in recognition of his services to philanthropy.

In 2019, Mr. Schwarzman published his first book, What It Takes: Lessons in the Pursuit of Excellence, a New York Times best seller which draws on his experiences in business, philanthropy, and public service.


The 2024 Arthur Ross Award winners were selected by a jury that included Melissa DelVecchio (Chair), Aimee Buccellato, Whitley Esteban, Alexa Hampton, Marieanne Khoury-Vogt, Deborah Nevins, and Anne Walker. The event Co-Chairs of this year’s Arthur Ross Awards are Gilbert P. Schafer III and Bunny Williams, and the honorary chairs are Janet C. Ross, Suzanne Tucker, and Suzanne Santry.

Established in 1982 by Arthur Ross and Henry Hope Reed, the Awards recognize the achievements and contributions of architects, painters, sculptors, artisans, interior designers, landscape designers, educators, publishers, patrons, and others dedicated to preserving and advancing the classical tradition.

ICAA President Peter Lyden had this to say: “The story of classical and traditional architecture, art, and design is a global one, encompassing a great diversity of practices, languages, and precedents, and fittingly this year’s Arthur Ross Award winners reflect a far-flung cross section of practitioners. Between them, they have conjured spectacular projects firmly rooted in the architectural vernacular of the Middle East, crafted thoughtful and eloquent interiors, drawn from carefully preserved historic works of artisanship to create exquisite new decorative elements, brought to life awe-inspiring paintings, drawn from indigenous technologies to advance sustainable practices, and supported the preservation and restoration of masterpieces of classical and traditional architecture.”

The 2024 Arthur Ross Awards celebration at The University Club on May 13th will commence with cocktails at 7 PM. The Awards dinner and ceremony will follow at 8 PM. The dress code for the event is black tie (floor length or cocktail dresses for ladies).

The Institute of Classical Architecture & Art (ICAA) is a nonprofit membership organization with a mission to advance the appreciation and practice of the principles of traditional architecture and its allied arts by engaging educators, professionals, students, and enthusiasts. The ICAA is headquartered in New York City with regional Chapters across the United States. It offers a wide array of programs that are designed to promote the appreciation and practice of classical and traditional design, including classes, travel, lectures, awards, and conferences. It publishes an academic journal called the Classicist, an acclaimed book series called the Classical America Series in Art and Architecture, and an original documentary film series, Design in Mind. The ICAA’s weekly content series, Classicism at Home, offers articles, short films, online courses and lectures, an original podcast series, and much more.

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