The AIA has announced the recipients of its 2015 Young Architects Awards, which honor 14 architects for their leadership and contributions to the profession.
José Alvarez, AIA
Alvarez was born in Caracas, Venezuela, and moved to the U.S. on his way to earning an M.Arch. at Tulane University. He serves as program director of the New Orleans chapter of the AIA Young Architects Forum, and has worked for Eskew+Dumez+Ripple for 17 years. With Alvarez at its helm, the Louisiana chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects has won several awards.
Zachary R. Benedict, AIA
Benedict manages community-based design and research for Ft. Wayne, Ind.-based MKM Architecture + Design. He has served on the local AIA chapter’s board of directors, and has extended the reach of those responsibilities to establish a partnership with Ball State University’s College of Architecture and Planning in Muncie, Ind.—an effort that has yielded more than 120 student projects focused on downtown Fort Wayne.
Hafsa Burt, AIA
On top of running her San Francisco-based firm hb+a Architects, Burt volunteers as an AIA member within various communities and is an involved community leader focused on positive, collaborative change. She is a member of the AIA California Council’s Committee on the Environment and regularly lectures on topics including improving indoor air quality. She has been practicing for 16 years.
Justin Crane, AIA
An associate of Cambridge Seven Architects, in Cambridge, Mass., Crane currently serves as president of Learning by Design in Massachusetts, a program which focuses on K-12 education in architecture. He also served as former chair of the Boston Society of Architects' Ethics Committee and founded the organization's Common Boston Committee, which organizes New England’s largest free architecture and design festival.
Sarah W. Dirsa, AIA
Dirsa, an architect at HOK’s St. Louis office, is the firm’s first social responsibility chair and a co-founder of the community service initiative HOK Impact. She is a member of the HOK team building the forthcoming net-zero William Jefferson Clinton Children’s Center in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Dirsa is the president and a founding member of community design nonprofit SEED St. Louis. She earned an M.Arch. and a master’s in urban design from Washington University, in St. Louis, in 2008.
Andrew Dunlap, AIA
Dunlap is an architect at SmithGroupJJR in Detroit specializing in building enclosures and thermal analysis with project work including the Cranbrook Art Museum in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. He mentors students through AIA Michigan and is a member of AIA Detroit’s Building Enclosure Council. Dunlap earned his M.Arch. from the University of Detroit Mercy in 2002.
James Henry, AIA
After working as the senior healthcare designer at HDR, Henry became a design principal at the firm's Dallas office—the youngest individual to hold that position in the firm's history. Henry serves as the director of communications in his second term as a member of the Dallas AIA chapter's board.
Chris Hong, AIA
Hong joined Honolulu-based Group 70 International as a project architect in September 2011 after working as an architect at NBBJ. He volunteers with Habitat for Humanity and is on the board of directors at AIA Honolulu, where he co-chairs the Young Architects Forum.
James A. Meyer, AIA
Meyer’s work in public design has helped local firms achieve smart public design work. In addition to founding the nonprofit Studio Main, in Little Rock, Ark., which focuses on public design, Meyer has also been a key player in the redevelopment of downtown Little Rock. He is involved with AIA committees and initiatives at local and national levels.
Ann Sobiech Munson, AIA
Sobiech Munson is a certified construction specifier at Substance Architecture in Des Moines, Iowa, and is a founding member of the nonprofit Iowa Women in Architecture, which aims to empower women’s involvement in architecture and design. In November 2013, she was elected to Slater, Iowa’s City Council. She has an M.Arch. from Iowa State.
Adrianne Steichen, AIA
An associate principal at Pyatok Architecture + Urban Design in Oakland, Calif., Steichen’s work focuses on affordable and student housing. She is a member of the organizing committee for the AIA San Francisco’s Missing 32% Symposium. In 2003, she was named the AIA California Council’s Associate Member of the Year. She has an M.Arch. from Tulane University.
Rebecca Talbert, AIA
Talbert joined AEC firm Dewberry as an architect last year. Previously, she was a project architect at RLF. In 2014, she received the AIA Florida Presidents Award. Talbert is a member of the city of Winter Park, Fla.’s historic preservation board. She earned her M.Arch. from the University of Florida in 2004.
Derek C. Webb, AIA
Webb is a principal at mArchitects in Houston, where he focuses on civic and institutional projects. Webb is currently a secretary on the AIA’s Houston chapter board, which he chaired in 2008. He received his M.Arch. and an MBA from Texas Tech University.
Elizabeth Whittaker, AIA
Whittaker is the founding principal of Merge Architects, in Boston, and is an assistant professor at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, where she earned her M.Arch. in 1999. She is also a member of the Boston Society of Architects’ board of directors, and in 2008 co-founded Young Architects Boston to facilitate collaboration among emerging practitioners.
This jury for the 2015 Young Architects Awards comprised: William J. Stanley, III, FAIA (chair) of Stanley Love-Stanley, Atlanta; Lenore M. Lucey, FAIA, of LML Consulting, Washington, D.C.; Jonathan Penndorf, AIA, of Perkins + Will, Washington, D.C.; Raymond Post, FAIA, of Post Architects, Baton Rouge, La.; Albert W. Rubeling, FAIA, of Rubeling & Associates, Towson, Md.; and John Sorrenti, FAIA, of JRS Architect, PC, Mineola, N.Y.