Photos by John R Portman
Accompanied by the jaunty strains of the New Orleans Jazz Vipers, on May 12 the AIA’s Committee on Design and 120 of its closest friends honored the institute’s top award winners for 2011. The first-of-its-kind celebration was held at Calcasieu, a restaurant in New Orleans’ industrial and arts district as a part of the 2011 AIA Convention. Pella Corporation and Centerbrook Architects and Planners sponsored the event.
Anne Schopf, FAIA, design director of Mahlum in Seattle, chairs the COD. She said, “In the past there was never a single event where all of the award winners could gather at one time and place, and spend time together with each other and AIA members. We thought it was far past time that we ought to have created one, and we did.”
The COD submits recommendations to the AIA’s Board of Directors for five of the Institute’s most prestigious awards including, the Gold Medal; National Firm Award; AIA Honorary Fellows; the Collaborative Achievement Award winners, and the Twenty-five Year Award, which in 2011 went to Pei Cobb Freed & Partners for the John Hancock Tower.
“We’re extremely honored to have so many of the award recipients with us tonight,” Schopf told the crowd, surrounded by a Who’s Who of architecture and design luminaries. Joining her were AIA Gold Medalist Fumihiko Maki, and from the AIA’s National From of the Year BNIM, partners Robert Berkebile, FAIA, Tom Nelson, FAIA, David Immenshuh, Rod Kruse, FAIA, Steve McDowell, FAIA, Laura Lesniewski, AIA, and almost a dozen BNIM staff.
Also at Schopf’s side were Honorary Fellows from across the globe including Kengo Kuma, Tokyo; Carme Pinós, Barcelona; Marcio Kogan and Angelo Bucci, both of Sao Paolo; Kristin Jarmund, Oslo, and Louise Cox of Sydney, Australia.
Last but not least, collaborative achievement award winners David Burney, who wrote New York City’s Active Design Guidelines; Anne Frederiksen, Kent Pedersen, Hans Lindberg who represented Louis Poulsen Lighting; Nate Eudaly of the Dallas Architecture Forum, and landscape architect Peter Lindsay Schaudt of Hoerr Schaudt Landscape Architects helped fill out what was the undoubtedly the happiest corner of the room.
Mr. Maki probably summed up the sentiments of all the honorees when he said, “Many honors have been bestowed upon me. But this is among the greatest. It is like winning the Olympics.”
“We are confident that this will become an annual Committee on Design event,” said Schopf, “and have already begun to plan what we’ll do in Washington D.C., next year. We’re thinking we have to one-up the inaugural event, but not sure how to top the Jazz Vipers’ rendition of “You Leave Me Breathless.”