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A Florida Grapefruit sorting machine served as inspiration for Vero Beach, Fla.-based architect Scott Merrill when he designed a porch connecting two guest houses. Another design, a chapel in Seaside, Fla., again echoes the lines and angles of the traditional sorter.

In January, the University of Notre Dame announced Merrill will receive the Richard H. Driehaus Prize for that design and others, citing his ability to design classical architecture that expresses regional identities. The prize is awarded to a living architect whose work exemplifies the values of traditional and classical architecture in a contemporary built environment, and creates a positive cultural, environmental, and artistic impact.

“Scott Merrill has demonstrated how the principles of classicism can be used as a foundation for designing buildings that respond to and express regional character while employing the richness of precedents found throughout the ages, including our own,” said Michael Lykoudis, Driehaus Prize jury chair and Francis and Kathleen Rooney Dean of Notre Dame’s School of Architecture. “His applications of architectural forms from various times and places to modern settings are used to reinforce the values of community, beauty and sustainability without sacrificing economy.”

On his website, Merrill notes the lines and shadows of the grapefruit sorter from one of Indian River County’s fruit packing houses “present a complex pattern of light and shadow that is pleasing in no small measure because one intuitively understands the purpose and relative proportion of every member of the assembly.”

A porch assembly designed by Merrill was inspired by the lines and angles of a traditional Indian River packing house Grapefruit sorter. Photo provided by Merrill, Pastor and Colgan Architects.

A chapel in Seaside, Fla. designed by Merrill also shares an affinity with the lines and angles of the grapefruit sorter.

Chapel designed by Merrill in Seaside, Fla. Photo by Steven Brooke Studios.

The Grapefruit sorter-inspired porch and chapel are two of many projects Merrill, along with his firm Merrill, Pastor and Colgan Architects, has designed around the world, including a federal courthouse, churches, town halls, a university addition and master plan, an office campus, hotels, barns, mixed-use blocks, gardens, plazas, courtyards, a high speed train station, clubs, and multifamily and single family housing.

Merrill and his work will be featured in a documentary airing on PBS station WTTW in Chicago on March 17.