We’ve built you a better ArchDaily. Learn more and let us know what you think. Send us your feedback »

Moshe Safdie Wins 2015 AIA Gold Medal

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. 

Why We Can Thank Gehry, Graves, and Scott Brown for Julia Morgan's AIA Gold Medal Win

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 GravesFrank 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 Indicator: What the Julia Morgan AIA Gold Medal Says about Equality in Architecture

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.

Julia Morgan Awarded 2014 AIA Gold Medal

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.”

Fumihiko Maki 2011 AIA Gold Medal Winner

© Imogene Tudor
© Imogene Tudor

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. “He has a unique style of Modernism that is infused with an ephemeral quality and elegance which reflects his Japanese origin. What stands out most about Mr. Maki is the consistent quality of his work at the highest caliber and the creation of ineffable atmospheres; his buildings convey a quiet and elegant moment of reflection,” colleague Toshiko Mori, FAIA, said of Maki. Also noteworthy is Fumihiko Maki’s close working relationship with each employee. Forty architects, urban planners, and administrative personnel, make up the staff of Maki and Associates, which is the type of working environment where each member is involved in and responsible for all aspects of projects. Maki himself is at the head of each commission and maintains the leadership role through to completion, including construction supervision. Established in 1965 Maki and Associates throughout its 42 years has been based in Tokyo, Japan. Maki studied at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design and Cranbrook Academy of Art, but has spent the majority of his life in Japan. Examples of Maki’s work include: The Spiral in Tokyo, Japan The Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, California The Kaze-No-Oka Crematorium in Kyushu, Japan Triad in Nagano, Japan The Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Maki is the 67th AIA Gold Medalist and joins a prestigious list including Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Sullivan, Renzo Piano, I.M. Pei, Cesar Pelli, Santiago Calatrava and last year’s recipient, Peter Bohlin, FAIA. He has received numerous awards including the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1993.