RIBA Royal Gold Medal Acceptance Speech by Ray Eames Released for the First Time

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has unveiled a recording of the day Ray Eames became the first woman ever to receive the Royal Gold Medal. Commemorating a historical ceremony, the audio reveals the acceptance speech of Ray Eames, during the 131st presentation of the Royal Gold Medal to the office of Charles & Ray Eames in 1979.

RIBA, has released an audio recording of Ray Eames and RIBA President Gordon Graham at the RIBA Royal Gold Medal ceremony. Converted to a digital file by RIBA’s former Chief Archivist, the architectural historian Kurt Helfrich, the never-released audio highlights the day Ray Eames accepted the Medal, on 12 June 1979, one year after the death of her partner Charles Eames.

Selected by a committee with a strong affiliation to modernism philosophy and American design influences, the duo had a different architectural output from previous medal recipients. Awarded for the contribution to the general field rather than just for their architecture, Charles & Ray Eames were celebrated because of their design for everyday life.

RIBA Royal Gold Medal Acceptance Speech by Ray Eames Released for the First Time - Image 2 of 2
Eames House. Image via Library of Congress

"During the last 150 years, the Royal Gold Medal has crossed the Atlantic on ten occasions and tonight will be the eleventh. This is only the second occasion, however, that the medal has been conferred upon a corporate group of people. […] But this is the first and only occasion so far when the President of the day had the pleasure of investing a lady," stated Gordon Graham, RIBA President at the time while presenting one of the highest honors in architecture to Eames.

The first woman to bear the Royal Gold Medal since its inception in 1848, Bernice Alexandra "Ray" Kaiser Eames (1912–1988) was originally trained as an artist. In her emotional speech, Eames recalls influences such as design pioneer Gordon Russell and architectural historians Nikolaus Pevsner and Herbert Read, as well as architects Alison and Peter Smithson, whose brutalist style is attributed to the Eames.

News Via RIBA.

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Cite: Christele Harrouk. "RIBA Royal Gold Medal Acceptance Speech by Ray Eames Released for the First Time" 20 May 2020. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/939956/riba-royal-gold-medal-acceptance-speech-by-ray-eames-released-for-the-first-time> ISSN 0719-8884

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