An anomaly among American architects, Frederic Schwartz entered over 60 competitions during his lifetime as an architect. He did win a few of those, and in some, where he participated and did not win as a finalist or runnerup, he received high marks from the critics. In the Ground Zero competition, one of the most high-profile competitions ever staged in the U.S., his proposal on the Think Team with Rafael Viñoly and Ken Smith was chosen as the winner by the committee, only to be overruled by then Governor Pataki. Not only did he leave a lasting mark on the environment by those projects which were realized, he was also a constant advocate for civic improvements, bettering the environment we live in.
When I spoke with him about his participation on the team which won the Nairobi Al Jamea Campus Competition, he said that it gave him great satisfaction, because it was the biggest competition he had ever won (and it was built!). Of course there are several of his projects which are often visited, where the layperson may not know who the architect was: the Staten Island Ferry Terminal in Manhattan and the 9/11 Memorials in New Jersey and Westchester County, New York are the best examples—the latter two being competition winners. Those who wish to study architecture should take a page from this architect, for he was not just about designing buildings, but making all of our lives better. -Ed