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Aia Gold Medal: The Latest Architecture and News

Marlon Blackwell Receives the 2020 AIA Gold Medal

The Board of Directors and the Strategic Council of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) have awarded renowned architect Marlon Blackwell, FAIA, with the 2020 Gold Medal. This prize credits an individual that had a lasting influence on the theory and practice of architecture.

Fulbright Building Addition. Image © Timothy HursleySrygley Office Building . Image © Tim HursleySt Nicholas Church. Image Courtesy of Marlon Blackwell ArchitectThe Ruth Lilly Visitors Pavilion . Image © Timothy Hursley+ 11

Julia Morgan: The Trailblazing Female Architect Overlooked No More by The New York Times

Since its founding in 1851, The New York Times has published thousands of obituaries listing the lives and legacies of some of the world’s most influential people. However, by their own admission, the listings have historically been dominated by white men. In order to address this, The Times launched its “Overlooked” series in 2018, telling the stories of women such as Sylvia Plath and Emma Gatewood.

In advance of International Women’s Day, The Times has published an obituary by Alexandra Lange detailing the life and legacy of Julia Morgan, the first woman to earn an architect’s license in California, and “a prolific designer of hundreds of buildings, namely the Hearst Castle at San Simeon."

The Hearst Wyntoon Estate; McCloud, CA (1919-1947) / Julia Morgan. Image courtesy of California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Robert E. Kennedy Library, Sarah Holmes Boutelle ArchiveJulia Morgan is the eighth posthumous winner of the Gold Medal, which has been issued since 1907. Image courtesy of The ChronicleAerial view of San Simeon under construction. Image courtesy of Cal Poly San Luis ObispoMills College; Oakland, CA (1904-1925) / Julia Morgan. Image © Mills College, F. W. Olin Library, Special Collections+ 6

Richard Rogers Wins the 2019 AIA Gold Medal

Richard Rogers has been awarded the 2019 AIA Gold Medal by the American Institute of Architects. The world-renowned architect and founding principal of Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners has been recognized “for his influence on the built environment [that] has redefined an architect’s responsibilities to society.”

Honoring “an individual or pair of architects whose significant body of work has had a lasting influence on the theory and practice of architecture,” the AIA Gold Medal is often considered the highest honor awarded in the United States for architecture.

NEO Bankside. Image © Edmund Sumner3 World Trade Center. Image Courtesy of Rogers Stirk Harbour + PartnersThe Leadenhall Building. Image © Richard Bryant – Courtesy of British Land/Oxford PropertiesY-Cube. Image © Grant Smith+ 7

James Stewart Polshek Wins 2018 AIA Gold Medal

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has named James Stewart Polshek, FAIA, as the recipient of the 2018 AIA Gold Medal. Lauded by the AIA for his “unparalleled vision and leadership,” Polshek has enjoyed fruitful professional and academic careers as a founding partner of James Stewart Polshek Architect (later Polshek Partnership and currently Ennead Architects) and a former dean of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation.

Honoring “an individual or pair of architects whose significant body of work has had a lasting influence on the theory and practice of architecture,” the AIA Gold Medal is often considered the highest honor awarded in the United States for architecture.

Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant. Image © Jeff Goldberg/EstoNewseum / Freedom Forum Foundation World Headquarters (2008). Image © Jeff Goldberg/EstoThe Rose Center for Earth and Space at the American Museum of Natural History in New York (2000). Image © Jeff Goldberg/EstoWilliam J Clinton Presidential Center and Park (2004). Image © Timothy Hursley+ 5

Black and Gold: How Paul Revere Williams Became the First African-American to Win the AIA's Highest Honor

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.

Paley Home. Image Courtesy of the AIACourtesy of the AIALAX Theme Building, completed with Pereira & Luckman, 1961. Image © Flickr user thomashawk. Licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0Paley Home. Image Courtesy of the AIA+ 7

Paul Revere Williams Wins 2017 AIA Gold Medal

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.

Denise Scott Brown and Robert Venturi Win 2016 AIA Gold Medal

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.

Best Products Showroom, Langhorne, Pennsylvania (1978). Image © Tom BernardEpiscopal Academy Chapel, Newtown Square (2008). Image © Matt WargoFranklin Court, Philadelphia (1976). Image © Mark CohnVanna Venturi House (1964). Image © Rollin LaFrance+ 7

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 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 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.