The Heritage Preservation Medal


It is often forgotten that none of the relevant works of architects and urban designers and none of the opportunities to create great work can take place without a patron – who is one step above a simple client. Spain and Portugal are fortunate to have such essential individuals and institutions and they deserve to be recognized.

The Richard H. Driehaus Medal for Heritage Conservation is an award given since 2019 together with the Rafael Manzano Prize for New Traditional Architecture. This distinction takes the patronage of Richard H. Driehaus himself as a model and is intended to honour stewards who, in public or private bodies, have made significant contributions to the conservation of heritage and to giving continuity to the architectural traditions of Spain and Portugal: entrepreneurs, developers, managers of foundations and leaders or promoters of other initiatives and institutions.

There is no cash award associated with this prize but a medal, designed by Rafael Manzano Martos, is given during the Rafael Manzano Prize ceremony at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Madrid. A video about the laurate is shown during the ceremony.

Entries are judged by the Manzano Prize Jury supplemented with up to three additional persons likely to know of potential candidates for this medal. 



The jury evaluates candidates based on the degree to which they have exemplified one or more of the following activities:

– Patronage of preservation and/or restoration of historic sites and structures demonstrating a sense of place.

– Promotion and/or development of new construction in keeping with the traditional identity of a heritage location.

– Promotion of intangible or material cultural heritage.

– Widespread dissemination of information about the value of built and/or cultural heritage.

– Advocacy for preservation, restoration or appropriate addition to endangered heritage sites, structures or cultural elements.

– Innovative leadership that provides models for successful heritage preservation and the practice of traditional design.



Entries must include the following documentation:

1. A 250-500 word personal or professional biography of the nominee.

2. Justification of no more than one page, in Spanish or Portuguese and in English summarizing the reasons why the nominee should receive this award.

3. Two recommendation letters signed by persons knowledgeable about one or more instances where the nominee has demonstrated the characteristics listed in the criteria.

4. Description of up to six instances where the support of the nominee has been instrumental in supporting heritage preservation and/or new work in harmony with it.

5. Up to six photographs documenting each instance submitted in #4.



Candidacies can be presented by:

– The Rafael Manzano Prize Jury Members

– The Rafael Manzano Prize Laureates

– The Ministry of Culture and Sports and the Ministry of Public Works and Infraestructure of Spain

– The Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Infraestructure and Housing of Portugal

– Departaments and Institutes of Heritage of the different regions in Spain and Portugal

– INTBAU Spain and INTBAU Portugal

– The Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando

– Other invited cultural entities

Richard H. Driehaus

It is fitting to name this medal after Richard H. Driehaus as his support for the heritage of Spain and Portugal and the opportunity to draw on this heritage as inspiration and guidance for new work provides an outstanding model of it.

Laureates since 2019

In the First Edition of the Medal, the winners of this recognition were Antonio Almagro Gorbea, promoter of the first works aimed at retrieving both the tangible and intangible heritage of Albarracín, and Antonio Jiménez Martínez, director and manager of the Santa María de Albarracín Foundation, dedicated to giving continuity and enlarging these first steps.

The second Heritage Preservation Medal was awarded to Vítor Cóias e Silva because his practice as civil engineer was especially highlighted, for having stood out in researching, developing, using and spreading technical solutions addressed to respect the structural and constructive integrity of monuments to be rehabilitated or restored. It is also noted his importance as educator for both the specialized and the general public, thanks to the coherence and continuity of his numerous initiatives aimed at promoting a better preservation of architectural heritage and building traditions through multiple congresses, publications, interviews and especially through the Pedra & Cal (Stone and Lime) magazine and the creation of civic platforms such as the Grémio do Património (Heritage Guild) or the Forum do Património (Heritage Forum).

The 2021 Heritage Preservation Medal has been awarded to José María Ballester in recognition of a career in which he has excelled in promoting and applying a broad and inclusive notion of heritage, without detaching it from land and landscape, natural and economic resources or traditional culture and knowledge. This vision has led him to implement rural development initiatives based on this concept of heritage, seeking to generate wealth and to keep people living in rural areas by developing their natural and cultural resources.

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