Topaz Vision

November 15, 2003 · by Marvin Malecha

The recipient of the 2003 Topaz Medallion, Dean Marvin Malecha comments on the award and architecture education in these written remarks:

“If we are to advance as a profession we must have the courage to venture and to fail. The Gothic Cathedral at Beauvais is a lesson for our profession. Try and try again they could not succeed because the builders had finally gone too far and a new thing had to emerge. Brunelleschi came to our rescue and provided us a model for all time.”

–Marvin Malecha, 2003 Topaz Medallion winner

“I am privileged to be a witness to the light of Architecture, which no single individual, period of history, or culture can comprise.

It is an ancient beacon representing the luminosity of generations. Inspiring the joy of teaching and practice providing light for the path ahead.

Out of this light many encouraging hands have been extended to me by family, teachers, friends, and colleagues, instilling within me intense curiosity and the love of learning.

I recognize that the light passing through the Topaz illuminates my responsibility to extend my hand to others knowing that the power of ideas is the most important legacy.

In the reflected light I see the power of our discipline recognizing that our urge to make and do is challenged by what we have done for others. For in the work of our hands we find the truth about ourselves.

Through drawing I have learned that knowing how to see transcends skill because deeply embedded memories and sensations make every stroke an expression of the heart. It is passion for design as a calling, a wondrous inheritance, a celebration of ideas, a determination to venture, a life of reflection, collaboration, and as a sacrifice of love that inspires my life and carries me to moments of freedom insuring the continuing brilliance of the beacon.

Out of respect for this incredible honor I promise passion to broadly cast the light of architecture because I love students and a student I will remain! Thank you, from my heart, thank you."

–Malecha’s written remarks
Dean, N.C. State University

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