Sculptor Albert Paley is best known today for what one critic has described as "towering explorations of form, composition and the surprisingly expressive range yielded by deftly worked ferrous metals." Paley is the first metal sculptor to receive the coveted Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Institute of Architects, the AIA's highest award to a non-architect.
Much of Paley's work reflects his consciousness of gateways, portals and arches as symbolic architectural structures. Ancient civilizations, especially the Roman Empire, understood the transformative role of archways that were passed through ceremonially. The act of passing through became transitional, in that the individual who was one person before went in, and someone different when he came out. Triumphant armies, returning from great battles were declared victors as they passed through the cities' ceremonial archways.