New Fellows Celebrated

Fellows Fete 2013

Robert W. Moje, FAIA, Elizabeth A. Reader, FAIA and Alan L Hansen, FAIA, (center foreground) newly elected Fellows of the American Institute of Architects, were honored by their Region of the Virginias colleagues at the 2013 Fellows Fête held in the Virginia State Capitol on Richmond, March 23, 2013

Fellows on the stairs included (left to right): John A. Burns, FAIA; W. Douglas Gilpin, Jr., FAIA; William A. Cox, FAIA; Albert J. “Jack” Davis, FAIA; Bruce M. Justice, FAIA; Thomas L. Kerns, FAIA; Paul H. Barkley, FAIA; Paula J. Loomis, FAIA; Charles Mata, FAIA; Baird M. Smith, FAIA; Michael Bednar, FAIA; Elizabeth W. “Jo” Lawson, FAIA; Robert E. Brown, Jr., FAIA; M. Jack Rinehart, FAIA; Steven E. Loomis, FAIA; Mary P. Cox, FAIA; Robert A. Boynton FAIA, Helene Combs Dreiling, FAIA; and John K. Mott, FAIA. (Not pictured, but present: Timm Jamieson, FAIA) Photo by Jeanette F. Barkley

Hansen, Moje, Reader Elevated to Fellowship

Three Virginia members — Alan L. Hansen, FAIA, Robert W. Moje, FAIA, and Elizabeth A. Reader, FAIA — have been elevated to Fellowship, the AIA announced today.

Alan L. Hansen, FAIA
Alan L. Hansen, FAIA

Hansen, a Director at DBI Architects, Inc., is noted for his work to form the Loudoun County Design Cabinet through the county’s Department of Economic Development. The Cabinet promotes high-quality, environmentally sustainable, and culturally respectful architectural and landscape design in one of the fastest growing communities in Virginia.  The Design Cabinet is made up of planners, architects, landscape architects, and engineers who, in volunteer collaboration, resolve community design challenges that arise when an agrarian county steeped in historical significance faces sweeping cultural and economic change.  Having successfully set the Design Cabinet in motion, Hansen encourages every architect in a community without a design recognition mechanism to create one as a Citizen Architect, thereby embracing the AIA’s national initiative to promote design excellence through collaboration with community decision makers.

Robert W. Moje, FAIA
Robert W. Moje, FAIA

A founding principal of VMDO Architects in Charlottesville, Moje has advanced the practice of educational facility design considerably by developing innovative instructional environments for a multitude of school districts, enriching the spaces where children learn and where educators teach. He leads VMDO Architects’ public K-12 school projects, directing design teams to create great schools that inspire students to become active participants in the learning process. In the current fast-paced Information Age where students cannot learn enough, fast enough, solving that mission has required a new direction in educational architecture. Moje has defined this new direction with his commitment to designing every school space – hallway, cafeteria, playground, and classroom alike — in innovative ways that promote opportunities for teaching and learning.

Elizabeth A. Reader, FAIA
Elizabeth A. Reader, FAIA

In a small city within a rural area, Reader has established a vibrant, diverse, collaborative architecture practice that excels in design and is committed to bettering the community. Along with her husband and partner, Beth Reader began her practice — Reader & Swartz Architects, P.C.,  — during the 1990 recession, in a small city of 21,950 people, proving that architecture firms don’t need to be located in large metropolitan areas to be viable. The firm has received over fifty design awards, from national, state, and regional entities for a diverse range of project types, from low-income housing, to museums, to innovative adaptive reuses of historic buildings. The firm’s work has been published in many books and magazines. Additionally, she has served as an advocate for architecture and small design firms by serving as both a juror, and a speaker, for many AIA programs. Over the years, design award juries have consistently praised her ability to achieve excellence in design. Doing good design work, despite a project’s budget or location, is an essential component of her practice.

The Fellowship program was developed to elevate those architects who have made a significant contribution to architecture and society and who have achieved a standard of excellence in the profession. Election to fellowship not only recognizes the achievements of architects as individuals, but also their significant contribution to architecture and society on a national level.

The 2013 Jury of Fellows from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) elevated 122 AIA members to its prestigious College of Fellows. Out of a total AIA membership of over 80,000 there are over 3,000 members distinguished with this honor.

The 2013 Fellows will be honored at an investiture ceremony at the 2013 National AIA Convention on Friday, June 21.


Prize for Design Research and Scholarship Announced

The jury for the 2012 Virginia Society AIA Prize for Design Research and Scholarship met by conference call on Thursday, Sept. 6. Jury chair Brian Lee, FAIA, and jurors Phil Enquist, FAIA, and William Baker, PE, all with Skidmore Owings and Merrill, reviewed and discussed the nine entries, assessing them on originality, impact, purpose, methods, and conclusions. The jury unanimously selected “New Directions in Design Research: The Role of School Architecture in the Prevention of Childhood Obesity” as the 2012 Prize for Research and Scholarship. This paper was submitted by VMDO Architects in Charlottesville in collaboration with Terry Huang, Ph.D. and Matthew Trowbridge, M.D.  The jury made these comments about the entry:

“Initially, the study title seemed naïve in linking architecture to the daunting societal problem of childhood obesity. However, the research presented a measured and well-documented series of facts and arguments corroborated by well-respected writers and thinkers. It contained insight into current education designs for the school physical environment that unwittingly reinforce unhealthy cultural habits and preferences. The project then focused on a specific design measures, large and small, to change the perceptions of and obstacles to healthy eating and cooking. The Jury was impressed that a series of discrete, often incremental, moves and ideas could potentially shift behavioral patterns and make a difference in our schools regarding children’s life choices. So often our design profession has taken a narrow rather than holist view of how buildings are experienced. Here, we are shown how food processed, presented, and integrated into the learning environment can make a daily difference to the child. In our discussion, it was this relevance and societal impact that lead us to select it as the winner of the Prize.”

The Jury was also impressed by a scholarly paper submitted by Elissa Rosenberg of the University of Virginia, “Gardens, Landscape, Nature: Duisburg-Nord, Germany,” evaluating a large scale urban garden by a contemporary landscape architect working toward a new spirit of sustainability. They wrote:

“This well-written critique clearly discussed a design methodology and work in a way that could have larger application of sensitive, adaptive reuse and a poetic ecology. The ideas seem fresh and original compared to the current repetition of mainstream sustainable design gestures. From the paper, the Jury thought the design was inspirational enough to be a place they wanted to visit. The submission was awarded a 2012 Honorable Mention.”

Jurors were very positive about the existence of a competition of this nature. They included these comments as part of their written response to the Prize entries:

“If the submissions were indicative of architectural interest in research, we can benefit from more dialogue between the academy and profession. There seems to be a lack of clarity and consistency towards research by our community involving building or environmental issues of today. Do we have a common research agenda that addresses the pressing topics that affect our world? Can we challenge ourselves to embark on research that is widely applicable or a game changer to today’s normality? Can the schools and profession collaboratively cultivate an ability to question our condition and use research to formulate creative and timely solutions that have impact and influence?”

The Prize will be awarded at Architecture Exchange East and the winner will present his work at seminar 207 at 10:45 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 8. The Prize for Design Research and Scholarship is sponsored by MTFA Architecture.