The William C. Noland Medal, as the highest award bestowed on a member architect, is intended to honor a distinguished body of accomplishments, sustained over time, that spans a broad spectrum of the profession and that transcends the scope of normal professional activities. For 2023, the medal is awarded to Brian J. Frickie, FAIA.
As senior principal, president, and CEO of Arlington’s Kerns Group Architects, Frickie has helped his firm earn more than a dozen design awards. Within the firm he has institutionalized a practice culture that encourages young professionals to take on leadership roles on projects, in the office, in the AIA, in the profession, and in their communities.
But it is his service to the profession at state, local, and national levels that sets him apart as a worthy recipient of the Noland Medal. As his nomination asserts, “his visionary activism and collaborative, participatory style uphold the profession’s stature, elevate the organization’s relevance, and empower individual architects.” Over four decades, Brian has worked through local, state, regional, and national AIA components and in community organizations to highlight the instrumental roles architects can have in solving society’s most pressing issues.
As president of AIA Virginia, Frickie implemented initiatives to reconnect architects in schools and firms, to rebuild relationships among architects at all levels of the AIA, and to prepare future leaders. As charter member and later chair of the AIA National Small Firm Roundtable (SFRT), Brian refined and refocused the SFRT to… “advance the mutual interests of architects practicing in small firms,” and rebranded it as the Small Firm Exchange (SFx). Within the SFx mission, Frickie conceived AIAKinetic, the SFx APP (Architects’ Professional Primer), and served as its program director and managing editor. And, while representing The Virginias on the AIA National Strategic Council, he convened the Professional Development Study Group and chaired the AIA National Strategic Planning Committee in creating AIA’s 2021-2025 Strategic Plan, which is now being implemented.
Frickie has devoted his career to preparing future generations of architects to take on the mantle of creating a better environment for society, becoming more effective leaders, and developing a better profession. His vision of a year-long leadership development academy for emerging professionals came to fruition in 2009 as AIA Virginia’s Emerging Leaders in Architecture (ELA) program, now one of the oldest and longest continuously operating leadership programs for architects in the country.
For his passionate service, Brian Frickie, FAIA, will be presented with the Noland Medal at the Visions for Architecture event on Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023, at the Hippodrome Theatre in Richmond.