Richard Guy Wilson joined the UVA School of Architecture in 1976. We invite you to take part in an extraordinary opportunity to honor Wilson’s legacy at the school.


For 40 years, he has had a major impact on countless students through his knowledge, teaching, mentorship— and his wit. Out of admiration for Professor Wilson’s teaching, Mallory Walker, an alumnus from the College of Arts & Sciences, has endowed the Richard Guy Wilson Prize for Excellence in The Study of Buildings, Landscapes and Places

As Walker described, "Professor Wilson is an extraordinary teacher at ease in demonstrating how political, economic, technological and artistic elements influence what we see and vice versa. He asks students to think about objects and places and the forces that were at work when a building or space was conceived. Were there political considerations? Was there a new artistic style created at the time? Did the building or place utilize a new technology? He asks us to critically think about the larger context of time and place when we study the constructed world."

RGW Prize Graphic



This $5000 cash prize recognizes the UVA student who produces the best scholarly or creative work engaging a historic building, place, or landscape. Accepted submissions include, but are not limited to, writing, design, poetry, painting, legal/business briefs, scholarly/research essays, film, and photography. The prize winner will be selected by a small committee of University faculty selected by the Chair of the Department of Architectural History.

Richard Guy Wilson asked that the award provide student support — fitting given his tireless focus on excellence in teaching and in helping students not only in architectural history, but also throughout the A-School and University. The Richard Guy Wilson Prize is a wonderful tribute to RGW, and the Architectural History department, the longest standing of its kind in American higher education. It also underscores how many departments and schools across UVA Grounds are enriching their disciplines with spatial, material, and geographic approaches. We welcome submissions from students in all schools of the University.


Prize Winner: 
Ethan Starr (MArH '23)
Building the Excavated City: Material Excavation and the Making of Kansas City, Missouri (Master of Architectural History Thesis)

Honorable Mentions:
Joyce Fong (MLA '24)
Grounding Communing: Re-envisioning a tangible future of communities in Richmond (a design proposal mapping historic patterns of environmental injustice in Richmond, Virginia & proposing new public commons)

Makshya L. Tolbert (MFA Creative Writing, '24)
Shade Is a Place (poems that are, in the author’s words, part of “a creative, scholarly, and social practice in curating relief and putting more tree shade on the ground across Charlottesville, Virginia")

Note: Due to COVID, The Richard Guy Wilson Prize was not awarded in 2020, 2021, and 2022.

Prize Winner: 
Piers Gelly (MFA '19)
Light Work (extended excerpt of a novel completed while a student in the MFA Program in Creative Writing)

Honorable Mentions:
Brian Cameron (Program in Political and Social Thought)
Unaffordable Injustice: Segregation, Gentrification, and Urban Policy in Charlottesville, Virginia

Adriana Giorgis (BSArch '19)
Villa Marittima: The Presence of Absence

Natasha Roth-Rowland (PhD candidate, Department of History)
The New Jewish Underground: Occupation, Excavation, and Neoliberalism in East Jerusalem

Prize Winner: 
Madelyn Hoagland-Hanson, Sarah Pate, Ru Wu (all MLA '19)
Turn Park (design proposal in response to the land-building and management strategies of the Meadowlands of New Jersey)

Honorable Mentions:
Lee Block (Department of Anthropology)
Sweetgum’s Amber: Animate Mound Landscapes and the Nonlinear Longue Durée in the Native South 

Claire Weiss (McIntire Department of Art)
The Construction of Sidewalks as Indicator of Social and Economic Interaction in Ancient Roman Cities

Elizabeth Spach (Department of History)
The Accidental City: Race and the 1963 Virginia Beach Merger

Heidi Siegrist (Department of English)
Modern Town

Prize Winner: 
Claire Eager (PhD, English, '17)
Complicit Paradise: Invasive Species and Collaborative Design in Donne and Bedford’s Twick(e)n(h)am (chapter from PhD dissertation)

Honorable Mentions:
Matthew Scarnaty (MArch and MLA, '17)
Cultural landscape analysis of the history of local food production in downtown Charlottesville



To apply, submit the application form and upload your application materials through the same form (applications should be submitted as a PDF file with a maximum file size limit of 25MB). Media such as audio, sound, film, artistic works, etc. can be hyperlinked through the submitted PDF - please be sure to check that your hyperlinks are working prior to uploading your file.


Please contact rgwilsonprize@virginia.edu 


Is there a limit on length for submissions?

The file size limit is 25MB.  While there is no hard limit for length of submissions, it is advisable if you have a particularly long document like a dissertation to consider submitting a selected chapter or summary.

Media such as audio, sound, film, artistic works, etc. can be hyperlinked through the submitted PDF - please be sure to check that your hyperlinks are working prior to uploading your file.

What kinds of work is eligible for submission?

Any work, scholarly or creative, produced while a student at UVA that concerns architecture or landscapes.  All formats are accepted including but not limited to visual arts, music, written pieces, fiction, legal briefs, business plans, architectural or landscape design work, photography, original plays, performance art, poetry, reports, and papers.

Who is eligible to apply?

Any UVA student who is a full-time student during the academic year*** (during which they are applying; Fall 2023 - Spring 2024) is eligible to apply, including undergraduate students, graduate students and PhD students.

Can students graduating before the deadline submit for the prize?

Yes, as long as the work was done while a student at UVA.

Are pieces that have been published eligible?

As long as the piece was produced when the submitter was a full-time student at UVA, it is eligible for Prize submission.

Are group projects eligible?

Yes, as long as all participants were full-time students at UVA at the time the project was produced.

Can collections of multiple pieces, like a portfolio of related artworks, or a collection of short stories, be submitted as one entry?


Are future students allowed to submit for the prize?

No.  All work submitted must be done while a current student at UVA.

Please direct questions about the prize to rgwilsonprize@virginia.edu


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