The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has selected 14 recipients for the 2015 AIA Young Architects Award. This award, now in its 22nd year, honors young architects - licensed 10 years or fewer regardless of their age - who have shown exceptional leadership and made significant contributions to the profession early in their careers. All recipients will be presented the award at the AIA 2015 National Convention and Design Exposition in Atlanta. View them all, after the break.
Jose Alvarez, AIA, of Eskew+Dumez+Ripple
Alvarez is a native of Caracas, Venezuela and finished his architecture education in the United States. He has worked for New Orleans–based Eskew+Dumez+Ripple for the past 17 years and has been directly responsible for delivering some of the firm’s most iconic and challenging projects to date, including the New Orleans BioInnovation Center (NOBIC); the Shaw Center for the Arts in Baton Rouge, La.; 930 Poydras Residential Tower in New Orleans; and Teatro Santander, in São Paolo, Brazil.
Zachary R. Benedict, AIA, of MKM architecture + design
Benedict is an architect and urbanist at MKM architecture + design, a Ft. Wayne, Ind.–based firm known for its focus on health and wellness. Designing numerous projects, ranging from senior care facilities to public libraries, he manages the firm's community-based projects and research efforts. He has an extensive background in urban sociology and neighborhood revitalization, and his work focuses on the future of the American Midwest and the socioeconomic benefits of intergenerational communities.
Hafsa Burt, AIA, of HB+A Architects
Burt is dedicated to using her skills as an architect to enrich communities, with a special focus on environmental impact. She has been practicing for 16 years and has devoted most of that time to larger issues concerning public health outcomes. The energy she has spent in the education realm, from spearheading a fashion show at the Castro Valley School to mentoring students in art, architecture, and science careers, reflects an interest in the role of art in improving society that goes beyond architecture.
Justin Crane, AIA, of Cambridge Seven Associates
Crane co-founded Common Boston, a popular, grassroots architecture festival in Boston that he helped grow from a small organization to an 11-day, city-wide event that creates a dialogue between the public and architects in shaping a more sustainable, equitable, and inspiring built environment. He has focused on education in numerous ways, including as a board member and currently president of Learning By Design in Massachusetts, which focuses on K–12 education. One notable project includes completing the design for the exterior master plan for Boston’s New England Aquarium, and designing and managing the complex renovation of the aquarium’s Giant Ocean Tank.
Sarah W. Dirsa, AIA, of HOK
Dirsa co-founded HOK IMPACT and SEED St. Louis as ways to recognize the great community work already being done within the international design firm HOK and in St. Louis, respectively. Her taking on the role of HOK’s first-ever global chair of social responsibility speaks to her passion for promoting public interest design engagement at both the firm-wide and local levels. An example of her socially conscious work includes a project with the U.S. Green Building Council: She designed an orphanage in Haiti that allows for 100 percent on-site energy generation and borrows from ideas of biomimicry to provide a safe haven for vulnerable children.
Andrew Dunlap, AIA, of SmithGroupJJR
Dunlap is a member of several industry organizations, including AIA Detroit’s Building Enclosure Council (BEC), and has often shared his research and findings with the design and construction community. In addition to his industry involvement, he shares the professional side of the practice in the classroom by encouraging students to foster informal relationships with professionals and encouraging their participation in the AIA. Among his volunteer activities, he mentors students through AIA Michigan and SmithGroupJJR.
James 'Jim' Henry, AIA, of HDR
Henry earned a position at HDR as a senior healthcare designer and was subsequently named design principal at the firm’s Dallas studio, the youngest design principal in the firm’s 98-year history. The majority of his award-winning portfolio has centered on healthcare design. Two recent projects—the Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, an AIA Dallas Design Award Winner and the largest hospital construction project in the United States; and the Lackland Air Force Base Ambulatory Care Center, an Honor Award recipient in the U.S. Air Force Design Awards and the largest clinic ever designed for the Department of Defense—demonstrate his commitment to advancing health and wellness through design.
Chris Hong, AIA, of Group 70 International, Inc.
Hong has worked at NBBJ in Seattle and Group 70 International in Honolulu and his industry involvement includes AIA Hawaii and the construction committee for the Honolulu Habitat for Humanity, among many others. Additionally, he is passionate about mentoring; over the past decade he has led design-related high school mentoring programs and has worked closely with students at the University of Hawaii, University of Washington, and University of Oregon.
James A Meyer, AIA, of WER Architects
Meyer founded studioMAIN in Little Rock, Ark., a nonprofit made up of design and construction professionals who volunteer their time creating a venue to pursue work in public interest design. In raising general awareness and interest in design issues through exhibitions and outreach, his most significant efforts involve activist measures to overcome obsolete infrastructural models. He conducts an annual public-space design competition, such as the one in 2014 that upgraded a dysfunctional urban stream into a neighborhood recreational greenway. He is harnessing underutilized professional resources in the design community statewide to enhance stewardship of the public realm.
Ann Sobiech Munson, AIA, of Substance Architecture
Munson co-founded, iaWia—Iowa Women in Architecture, a nonprofit to empower individuals and advance women in design. The formation of iaWia was partly inspired by her experience teaching at Iowa State University, where she witnessed the lack of diversity among those entering the architecture profession. The group’s in-depth process, including workshops and analysis, resulted in a groundbreaking white paper, “Best Practices Recommendations for the Design Profession.” In November 2013 she was elected to a seat on the City Council in Slater, Iowa.
Adrianne Steichen, AIA, of PYATOK | architecture + urban design
Steichen joined Oakland, Calif.–based Pyatok Architecture + Urban Design and took on the firm's social mission to design exemplary residential communities for those in need of low- and moderate-income housing, as well as students. She is committed to advocating for affordable housing and volunteering with housing and community organizations. She has been active in the San Francisco Housing Action Coalition and regularly attends Association for Community Design conferences and San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association programs, as well as playing an active role in the AIA locally and nationally. She has enthusiastically contributed to The Missing 32% Project to help other women find their way as architects.
Rebecca Talbert, AIA, of Dewberry Architects
Talbert is an architect, educator, and active advocate for the architecture profession. In addition to working full time, she has taught evening architecture classes as an adjunct professor for eight years. She has twice served as AIA Orlando state director, and has been a member of various AIA Orlando committees as well as AIA Florida task forces. Rebecca is also an active member of the Winter Park Historic Preservation Board—many of her volunteer efforts focus on historic preservation—as well as several other organizations within her community, such as Friends of Casa Feliz.
Derek C. Webb, AIA, of m ARCHITECTS
Webb concentrates modern healthcare design with his work at mArchitects. His leadership with the AIA Houston Chapter and Rice Design Alliance, as well as his teaching efforts at the University of Houston, Prairie View A&M University, and the Art Institute of Houston, has demonstrated a commitment to the profession and to emerging professionals in their professional development. His involvement in the Young Architects Forum (YAF) and AIA has been integral in creating a mentorship program as well as taking on the role of public relations for YAF. He is also known as a mentor to seasoned and emerging professionals eager to share his knowledge in his selfless commitment to the profession.
Elizabeth Whittaker, AIA, of merge architects
Whittaker is a founding principal of Merge Architects in Boston and has been widely recognized for her inventive designs, frequently executed for small spaces on small budgets. She is on the faculty at the Harvard University Graduate Design School, of which she is an alumna, and also teaches at several other design studios. She is actively involved in the AIA community and serves on the Boston Society of Architects Board of Directors. A strong believer in collaboration and discussion, she co-founded Young Architects Boston (YAB) in 2008 to create a forum for emerging practices to collaborate on an installation and exhibition for the 2008 AIA National Convention in Boston.
2015 Jury: William J. Stanley, III, FAIA (Chair), Stanley Love-Stanley, PC; Lenore M. Lucey, FAIA, LML Consulting; Raymond 'Skipper' Post, FAIA, Post Architects; Albert W. Rubeling, FAIA, Rubeling & Associates, Inc. and John Sorrenti, FAIA, JRS Architect, PC.
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