New York University Professor Richard Sennett has been named the winner of the 2009 Heinrich Tessenow Medal for his work in the areas of urban culture and public space. Since its inception in 1963, the medal had been awarded exclusively to architects and designers. Sennett, a sociologist, is the author of several works, including The Craftsman (2008), which explores artisans across different historical periods.
Established by Hamburg’s Alfred Toepfer Foundation, the prize honors Heinrich Tessenow (1876-1950), a German architect, professor, and urban planner during the Weimar period. The medal was created “to honor people who have achieved distinction in craft and industrial form-making and in the teaching of the culture of living and building, and who have through their life’s work acted in the spirit of Heinrich Tessenow.” The Heinrich Tessenow Society will award Sennett the medal at a February 26 ceremony in Berlin.
A renowned social critic, Sennett is the author of: The Culture of the New Capitalism (2006); Respect in a World of Inequality (2003); The Corrosion of Character: The Personal Consequences of Work in the New Capitalism (1998); Flesh and Stone: The Body and the City in Western Civilization (1994); The Conscience of the Eye: The Design and Social Life of Cities (1990); Authority (1980); and The Fall of Public Man (1977).
Sennett, also a professor of sociology at the London School of Economics, holds the rank of University Professor at NYU. The title is conferred upon outstanding scholars in recognition of the interdisciplinary dimension of their work.
Sennett is the founding director of the New York Institute for the Humanities at NYU, which was established in 1976, and is a member of numerous international associations and scientific academies, including the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Royal Society of Literature, and the Royal Society of the Arts. In 1998, he was awarded the European Amalfi Prize for Sociology and Social Sciences, followed by the “Das politische Buch” (The Political Book) prize endowed by the Bonn-based Friedrich Ebert Foundation in 1999. In 2006, he was the winner of the Hegel Prize awarded by the city of Stuttgart and, in 2008, received Germany’s Gerda Henkel Prize, which recognizes outstanding scholarly achievement in the historical humanities.