Two UNM Architecture Faculty Win Prestigious Rome Prize

April 24, 2023

Aaron Cayer and Cesar Adrian Lopez

Today, the American Academy in Rome announced the winners of the 2023-24 Rome Prize and Italian Fellowships. Two UNM School of Architecture and Planning faculty in the Department of Architecture will receive their prizes in person today in New York City during their annual Arthur and Janet C. Ross Rome Prize Ceremony. We congratulate Assistant Professor Aaron Cayer (Historic Preservation and Conservation) and Cesar Adrian Lopez (Architecture) who were among the recipients of this prestigious award. Cayer’s project is entitled: “Building Legitimacy: Designing, Disseminating, and Preserving a New Religion,” and Lopez’s project is entitled: “Citizenry Actions.” Historically, two prizes are awarded nationally in Historic Preservation & Conservation and two prizes are awarded in Architecture.

Dean of the School of Architecture and Planning, Robert Alexander González, responded to the announcement, stating: “This is one of the top and most competitive awards in these two disciplines, and a first win like this for UNM and the Department of Architecture. It is a rarity to have two winners in one department, an indication that big things are happening here in New Mexico. We’re proud of Cayer and Lopez for being so competitive in their fields, and we wish them a very productive time in Rome.” Chair of the Department Chris Cornelius also commented: “This is a great honor and a testament to the high level of quality teaching and research taking place in our department. We look forward to having them share their independent research work with their colleagues and the students upon their return.”

These highly competitive fellowships support advanced independent work and research in the arts and humanities. This year, the gift of “time and space to think and work” was awarded to 36 American artists and scholars. They will each receive a stipend, workspace, and room and board at the Academy’s eleven-acre campus on the Janiculum Hill in Rome, starting in September 2023.

Rome Prize winners are selected annually by independent juries of distinguished artists and scholars through a national competition. The 11 disciplines supported by the Academy are: Ancient Studies, Architecture, Design, Historic Preservation and Conservation, Landscape Architecture, Literature, Medieval Studies, Modern Italian Studies, Music Composition, Renaissance and Early Modern Studies, and Visual Arts.

The Rome Prize competition received 988 submissions, representing 44 US states, Washington DC, Puerto Rico, and 4 different countries. The individuals represent an acceptance rate of 3 percent. A full list of the 2023-24 Rome Prize winners and Italian Fellows, as well as the international jurors who selected them, can be found here: