Yesterday, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) announced that they had awarded the 2017 Gold Medal to Paul Revere Williams. Despite the manic production rate of his five-decade-long career, those not familiar with the architecture of Hollywood’s early years might be forgiven for not recognizing Williams’ name. But he is notable for having designed around 3,000 buildings, for being “the architect to the stars” including, among many others, Frank Sinatra... and for being the first black member of the AIA.
Aia Gold Medal
Black and Gold: How Paul Revere Williams Became the First African-American to Win the AIA's Highest Honor
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has announced Paul Revere Williams, FAIA as the posthumous winner of the 2017 AIA Gold Medal. With a portfolio of nearly 3,000 buildings over five decades, Williams’ career was notable for breaking boundaries within the profession as the first black member of the AIA.
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has announced Denise Scott Brown, hon. FAIA and Robert Venturi, FAIA, as joint winners of the 2016 AIA Gold Medal. The AIA cited the duo for their "built projects as well as literature that set the stage for Postmodernism and nearly every other formal evolution in architecture." Scott Brown and Venturi are the first ever pair to receive the Gold Medal, after the AIA approved a change to its bylaws in 2013 that allowed the award to be presented to up to two individuals working together.
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has just announced that Moshe Safdie, FAIA, will be the 2015 AIA Gold Medal recipient. Honoring him for his “comprehensive and humane approach to designing public and cultural spaces across the world has touched millions of people and influenced generations of younger architects,” the AIA believes that Safdie's work has had a lasting influence on the theory and practice of architecture.
“Moshe Safdie has continued to practice architecture in the purest and most complete sense of the word, without regard for fashion, with a hunger to follow ideals and ideas across the globe in his teaching, writing, practice and research,” stated Boston Society of Architects president Mike Davis in his nomination letter.
Considering Julia Morgan was overlooked for over 100 years and has been dead for over 50, naysayers may consider her recent accolade as the first woman to receive the AIA Gold Medal something of an empty gesture. However, the prestigious group of supporters who compiled her nomination package - among them Michael Graves, Frank Gehry, and Denise Scott Brown - would beg to differ. To find out how and why the trio championed Morgan's case, check out this article on SFGate.
The recent announcement that Julia Morgan has posthumously received the 2014 AIA Gold Medal, the AIA’s top honor, while positive and inspirational, raises some important questions concerning the recognition and advancement of women in the profession. She is the first woman, living or dead, to receive the honor in the award’s 106-year history. From 1907 to 2012, all recipients have been men.
It seems Morgan was destined to be first. She was the first female graduate of the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris (1902) and the first woman to obtain an architecture license in California. She is known principally as architect of the extravagant and stunning Hearst Castle in San Simeon, California and the designer of over 700 buildings.
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has announced today their decision to posthumously award the 2014 AIA Gold Medal to Julia Morgan, FAIA (1872-1957), “whose extensive body of work has served as an inspiration to a generation of female architects.”
“Julia Morgan is unquestionably among the greatest American architects of all time and a true California gem,” said Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) in her recommendation letter. “Morgan’s legacy has only grown over the years. She was an architect of remarkable breadth, depth, and consistency of exceptional work, and she is widely known by the quality of her work by those who practice, teach, and appreciate architecture.”
In recognition of his contributions to architecture in both theory and practice Fumihiko Maki was recently named the 2011 AIA Gold Medal Winner. Maki, arguably one of Japan’s most distinguished living architects, will be honored with the award in New Orleans at the AIA National Convention.