The Rowena Reed Kostellow Fund


16 Feb 2020

Announcing the 30th Anniversary Rowena Reed Kostellow Awards to Jefferson and Cotton

Everardo Jefferson said that Rowena was pivotal in his life "in ways she’d never understand". The Rowena Fund is happy to present him with the 2020 Rowena Award and also to honor Billy Cotton with the Young Rowena Award. This will mark the 30th year of the Rowena Award program since Gina Caspi won the first award in 1990. Knoll will host the ceremony on March 26, 2020 in New York.

Everardo Jefferson BID ’68 is an architect who spent the last forty years creating modern designs that engage with the cultures and communities of New York. Jefferson studied at Pratt under Ivan Rigby, Bill Folger, and Rowena Reed. When he continued his education at the Yale School of Architecture, he took with him an understanding and attention to form, building a design philosophy centered on the experience of a place. Rowena had a great impact on Jefferson’s education that stayed with him throughout his career.

He co-founded Caples Jefferson Architects with Sara Caples, and for over thirty years they have focused their work on public and institutional clients, committed to engaging in the needs of the community. They are currently designing new institutional homes for The Africa Center and the Louis Armstrong House Museum. They won the AIA NY President’s Award in 2017 and State Firm of the Year in 2012, they were named City of New York MWBE of the Year in 2009; and the Architecture League of NY dubbed them Emerging Voices back in 1998. Jefferson has taught at colleges and universities, most recently as the Louis I. Kahn Visiting Assistant Professor at Yale School of Architecture. He is a New York City Landmarks Preservation Commissioner. Check out his work:

Young Designer Award: Billy Cotton

The young Rowena Award winner is interior and furniture designer Billy Cotton BID ’07. Billy founded his own company while freelancing for Domino magazine just after graduation. In 2010 he launched a tableware line at Bergdorf Goodman, in 2017 was added to the AD100. In 2019 he was named Senior Vice President and Creative Director of Ralph Lauren Home. “The teachings of Rowena are the bedrock of all my success and skill as a designer,” he says. “They acted as a Rosetta Stone for my brain, allowing me to see form and proportion in ways I never thought possible.” Check out his work:

The Rowena Award recognizes people who advance the principles of design that Rowena Reed Kostellow developed and rewards those who have excelled with their application. They join 28 other champions of the Abstract Principles of Visual Relationships who have received the award, including: Gina Caspi, Ivan Rigby, Eva Zeisel, Gerald Gulotta, William Fogler, Eugene Grossman, Ralph Appelbaum, James Fulton, Louis Nelson and Judy Collins, Bruce Hannah, Ted Muehling, Lucia N. DeRespinis, Tom Patti, Leonard Bacich, Bill Katavolos, Charles Pollock, Ruth Shuman, RitaSue Siegel, Linda Celentano, Dr. Tom Schutte, and John Cafaro, Dean and Sandra Richardson and Rowena Young Designer awardees, Ariana Zarillo, Cindy Juett, Rene Bouchara and Simon Hamui.

Since 1997 the Fund has awarded thousands of dollars in cash and scholarships encouraging students’ commitment to excellence.

About the RRK Fund

The Rowena Reed Kostellow Fund at Pratt Institute was organized after her death in 1988 to continue her teachings by supporting scholarships, publishing and programs. Rowena, with her husband Alexander Kostellow and Donald Dohner, created Pratt's Industrial Design program merging form, function, and industry. Their objective was to develop an education system based on analysis of abstract visual relationships that would be valid for all forms of visual expression, including architecture, product design, graphic design, and fine art.

The program flourished and became the foundation of many courses and ID programs around the world. For over 50 years, Rowena taught three-dimensional design at Pratt, where she told her students “If you can't make it more beautiful, what's the point?”

Learn more about Rowena, her teaching methodology, and Pratt Institute in Gail Hannah's book, Elements of Design: The Structure of Visual Relationships, published by Princeton Architectural Press.