The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has announced the winners of its annual awards honoring individual architects and firms.
The AIA has bestowed the 2010 AIA Architecture Firm Award—its highest honor for architecture firms—on Pugh + Scarpa Architects of Santa Monica, Calif., recognizing the firm's 35 years of excellence. Pugh + Scarpa's work, which seamlessly blends architecture, art, and craft, has garnered 13 national AIA awards in the past 10 years, in addition to more than 40 state and local AIA awards and a 2008 Lifetime Achievement Award from Interior Design magazine. The firm also is noted for its long-standing involvement in its community, its attention to sustainable design, and its practice of nurturing in-house talent. (Read more about Pugh + Scarpa from ra's June 2007, August 2006, and January 2006 issues.)
Peter Bohlin, FAIA, founder of Bohlin Cywinski Jackson (BCJ), is the 2010 AIA Gold Medal winner, the AIA's highest individual honor. Bohlin is being honored for the lasting influence his body of work has had on the theory and practice of architecture. Renowned for his versatile and contextual use of materials, Bohlin has designed everything from rural houses to nature centers to urban buildings over his long career. His projects have earned 14 national AIA awards, as well as numerous state and local AIA awards. A common thread through all of Bohlin's work is its deference to site context and tendency toward design humility, a quality the AIA notes has become increasingly rare among top-tier practitioners. BCJ received the AIA's 1994 Architecture Firm Award. (Bohlin was ra's 2000 Hall of Fame award winner. BCJ also won a 2009 residential architect design awards Grand award as well as a Merit award.)
The AIA also has honored Michael Graves, FAIA, with the 2010 Topaz Medallion for Excellence in Architectural Education to recognize his contributions to education. Graves has spent more than four decades as an architectural design and theory educator, teaching for 39 years at Princeton University's School of Architecture, serving as a visiting professor, giving lectures, and participating in design juries at several other schools of architecture in the United States. He currently serves as Princeton's Robert Schirmer Professor of Architecture, Emeritus. At Princeton alone, Graves has influenced and shaped the minds and future careers of thousands of students across several disciplines, enriching them with his own sense of the past in the context of current aesthetic and social interests, while his own exceptional career as a practitioner provided them with a positive role model, according to the AIA. For Graves, teaching has been a way to contribute to architecture's future. Graves received the 2001 AIA Gold Medal and has won 12 national AIA Honor awards; and the AIA New Jersey established the Michael Graves Lifetime Achievement Award in his honor. Michael Graves & Associates has won more than 65 AIA New Jersey awards.
Benjamin Vargas, FAIA, of Bartizan Group Architects & Project Managers, San Juan, Puerto Rico, is the 2010 recipient of the Whitney M. Young Jr. Award. Throughout his years of involvement in the AIA, Vargas has advocated to survey and remedy the lack of minority participation in the organization and in the profession. He has led many of the AIA's diversity initiatives, helping to create the Diversity Recognition program in 2009, helping to craft the organization's position statement on diversity in 2005, and participating in the planning for the Diversity Plenary in 2007. Vargas, who served as the AIA Board's Florida/Caribbean regional director in 2002, has continually worked to raise awareness of the gap between Hispanic and Latino presence in the AIA and in the profession; he has also actively encouraged collaboration and helped establish networks among practitioners in the Caribbean.
In addition to these annual awards, the AIA inaugurated as its 86th president George H. Miller, FAIA, partner at Pei Cobb Freed & Partners. Miller served as AIA first vice president throughout 2009. He joined Pei Cobb Freed & Partners in 1975 (then called I.M. Pei & Partners) and has worked on many notable projects during his time with the firm. He served as president of the AIA New York Chapter in 2003, was the New York regional director from 2003 to 2006, and chaired both the 2007 Board Community Committee and the AIA 150 Oversight Task Force.