AIA Virginia is pleased to announce the jury for the 2024 AIA Virginia Prize. The competition — which took place over the weekend of Feb. 2-5 —challenged students to design a public library in Phoebus, VA as a community public room to be a place both welcoming and safe for individuals, as well as for groups that choose to gather and interact.

The AIA Virginia Prize is a design charrette that engages students at all of the accredited architecture programs in Virginia.  Conducted simultaneously at each institution, students are given the competition program Friday at 5 p.m. They work over the weekend to create a board presenting their design solution by 9 a.m. the following Monday.  The competition is intended to promote collaboration between the profession, students, and professors in Virginia.

Each school’s faculty reviewed the submissions and sent up to 10 finalists for final consideration by the jury which will be chaired by Trey Trahan, FAIA, NOMA.

About the Jury

Trey Trahan, FAIA, NOMA approach to architecture begins with his conviction that a building can create something that extends beyond its walls—and when we build, we shape our landscapes, communities, and cultures. His practice is dedicated to creating spaces resonant with authenticity, cultural significance, and ecological resilience, resulting in a harmonious portfolio that blends the arts, conservation, historic preservation, and social responsibility. Trahan’s work, oriented towards serving the public, strives to create venues that foster powerful communal experiences and connections, reaching beyond the
traditional bounds of architecture—to shape our landscapes, communities, and cultures. Trahan is commended for his innovative use of sustainable materials, stemming from his strong personal belief in environmental conservancy. The firm has signed the AIA 2030 Commitment. He has navigated a four-decade career exploring global artistic and construction traditions, drawing influences from Eastern, Western, and Indigenous cultures. Trahan’s particular interest in Japanese culture is reflected in his extensive collection of ceramics, lacquerware, and bronzes by notable Japanese artists, with objects dating back to the 1500s. This deep interest in how materiality shapes cultures has profoundly influenced the firm’s approach to the built environment. Trahan received the Architecture Review Emerging Architecture Award in London in 2005 and was elected to the AIA College of Fellows in 2006. The firm has received recognition for combining research in emerging materials and construction with a connection to history, place, and culture, creating innovative work that feels simultaneously rooted and contemporary. In 2021, he was honored as the Laureate of the American Prize for Architecture by The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design and The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies.

Robbie Eleazer, AIA is passionate about finding new expressions of built form and working with clients to communicate those expressions to their stakeholders. The experience he brings to the New York design team includes a range of projects that exhibit inclusive design including the Coca-Cola Stage at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, GA, to the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum in Washington D.C. He has contributed to work that has gained national recognition for innovation and leveraged technology in the design of beautiful facilities that contribute to wellness.
As a leader in the computational design community, Robbie engages with
technology to expand his understanding of what architecture can be and
how it impacts people’s lives, particularly regarding materiality and safety
practices to encourage public health. Robbie has contributed his expertise to a diverse portfolio of work that purposefully integrates buildings into their landscapes—believing that architecture should defer to natural settings wherever practical. Robbie’s experience includes leading the conceptual and technical design for high performance façades in a variety of climactic zones; working on complex, multi-phased projects that involved site planning, strategic renovation, and new construction; specializing in work where landscape-driven solutions provide a framework for buildings; and significant experience in cultural

David Sweere, AIA a native Arkansan and graduate from the Fay Jones School of Architecture + Design at the University of Arkansas, joined Trahan Architects’ New York studio in January 2022. He believes place memory and cultural context are critical sources of inspiration in a world of increasing globalization and optimization. Prior to joining Trahan Architects, David was a designer at MARVEL in New York and Marlon Blackwell Architects in Fayetteville, Arkansas, where he gained experience on a wide range of cultural, master planning, educational, retail, and government projects. He also served 9 years in the United States Air Force as an Electrical Journeyman, including multiple tours abroad in base maintenance and new construction units. In 2019, he received The Aydelott Travel Award, a $20K travel grant focused on self-directed architectural analysis, through which he traveled to 13 countries across Europe and Asia. In presenting this work, David has lectured at the Bengal Institute for Architecture, Landscapes, and Settlements and the University of Arkansas.