Reynold Levy, President of Lincoln Center, Selected as Design Patron Award Recipient of Cooper-Hewitt’s 10th Annual National Design Awards

July 15, 2009
News Release

Reynold Levy, president of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, has been selected the winner of the 2009 Design Patron Award by Paul Warwick Thompson, former director of the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. Levy is being recognized for his design stewardship of the Lincoln Center campus renovation project.

The Design Patron Award, which recognizes outstanding support and patronage within the design community, was created by Thompson in 2001 as one of the National Design Awards. The annual awards honor excellence and achievement across various disciplines, including architecture, communication, fashion, interaction, interior, landscape and product design. Unlike other National Design Awards, which are selected by a jury of leading figures in design, the Design Patron Award winner is chosen by the museum’s director. Levy will be officially honored, along with all of the 2009 National Design Award winners, at an Oct. 22 gala dinner at Cipriani in New York and a White House ceremony July 24 in Washington, D.C.

Levy has been instrumental in the dramatic transformation of Lincoln Center, the world’s leading performing arts center, which unites 12 performing arts and educational organizations on one campus. Under Levy’s direction, the organization embarked on a thorough renovation and revitalization of the campus’ original design, which resulted in the innovative West 65th Street and Promenade projects—scheduled to be completed for Lincoln Center’s 50th anniversary in 2009-2010.

“Working with Diller, Scofidio + Renfro, Levy has set a model internationally for the rejuvenation of our urban cultural centers. Peeling back facades to connect performance centers with the streetscape, re-routing car traffic below ground and simplifying pedestrian walkways and signage all have a humanizing quality that makes cities—and this city in particular—vibrant and pleasurable places,” said Thompson. “It takes a design patron of vision to work alongside an exciting architect to achieve this transformation, and Levy is such a patron.”

The West 65th Street Project, designed by 2005 National Design Award winners Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with FXFOWLE Architects, creates a “Street of the Arts” lined with new building facades, integrated information technologies and new indoor and outdoor dining facilities. The Promenade Project, designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro in association with Beyer Blinder Belle, utilizes the same design vocabulary and mix of transparent materials used in the West 65th Street Project—glass, travertine and new landscape features—to further unite Lincoln Center with the surrounding cityscape.

Levy joined Lincoln Center as president in 2002. Previously, he had served as president of the International Rescue Committee, the senior officer of AT&T in charge of government relations, president of the AT&T Foundation and executive director of the 92nd Street Y. A graduate of Hobart College, Levy holds a law degree from Columbia University and a doctorate in government and foreign affairs from the University of Virginia. He currently serves on the boards of the International Rescue Committee, Aspen Institute’s Program on Philanthropy, the Institute for International Economics and Third Way, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and of the Century Association. Levy is the author of three books, most recently “Yours for the Asking: An Indispensable Guide to Fundraising and Management” (2008, John Wiley and Sons).

Levy joins previous Design Patron Award winners Architecture for Humanity, an organization that brings sustainable architecture to global communities in need; Maharam, a fourth-generation, family-run textile company; Craig Robins, a Miami-based real estate developer; Richard M. Daley, mayor of Chicago; Amanda M. Burden, the chair of the New York City Planning Commission; and hotelier André Balazs, among others.

The National Design Awards and National Design Week are made possible by the generous sponsorship of Target.

About the National Design Awards
First launched at the White House as a project of the White House Millennium Council, the Awards were established to broaden awareness of the role of design in daily life by honoring individuals in all areas of design, as well as its patrons and supporters.

The Awards are accompanied each year by a variety of public education programs, including the fourth annual National Design Week from Oct. 18 through 24. Throughout the week, the museum will offer free admission for all visitors; host a series of programs for the public, students and teachers; and celebrate design on its Web site with initiatives such as the People’s Design Award, which gives the general public an opportunity to nominate and vote for a design from Sept. 22 through Oct. 20 by logging onto

To learn more about the National Design Awards and for a complete list of 2009 winners, please visit  

About Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum
The Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum is the only museum in the nation devoted exclusively to historic and contemporary design. The museum presents compelling perspectives on the impact of design on daily life through active educational programs, exhibitions and publications. Founded in 1897 by Amy, Eleanor and Sarah Hewitt—granddaughters of industrialist Peter Cooper—as part of the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, the museum has been a branch of the Smithsonian since 1967. 

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