Driehaus Prize: Architects Focus on Public Housing With Classical Style

Each year, the University of Notre Dame awards its Driehaus Prize to honor architects building in a classical or traditional style.

For the past eight years Geoffrey Baer has profiled the winners.

This year, that arduous assignment sent Baer to Paris, Northern France and Amsterdam to meet the husband-and-wife team of Marc and Nada Breitman, who have used their skills to create public housing that people actually want to live in.

Unlike much of modern public housing that was built in the 1960s and 1970s that was large scale but with little to please the eye, the Brietmans wanted to dignify public housing and build not just homes but diverse and vibrant communities.

And they have used their skills to help reinvigorate many mining towns in northern France after the decline of the coal industry.

Baer sits down with Phil Ponce to tell us more.

The documentary “Architects Marc and Nada Breitman: Talk of the Town” premieres on WTTW at 8 p.m. Thursday.

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