COD Receptions and Dinners

COD Fetes 2012 Awards Recipients At Second Annual Reception and Dinner

By Charles Linn, FAIA

Photos by Jeff Wolfram

So perfect was the AIA Committee On Design’s second annual reception and dinner for the recipients of the Institute’s top award winners that it would be easy to believe that Benjamin Henry Latrobe himself was smiling down upon on the event. The honorees were feted under crystal clear, starry skies on May 18th, 2012 in the courtyard behind the Decatur House in Washington, D.C., which Latrobe designed in 1817.

The COD was founded for the purpose of promoting design excellence within the Institute’s own membership; the broader design community, and the public at large. One of the most important roles it plays toward that end is recommending to the juries which of a plethora of worthy candidates should receive the Institute’s five most prestigious awards: the AIA Gold Medal; National Firm Award; recipients of Honorary Fellowship; the Collaborative Achievement Award winners, and the Twenty-five Year Award.

On this glorious evening Anne Schopf, FAIA, COD’s immediate past chair, briefly interrupted the roots-inspired music of the Sligo Creek Stompers to introduce many of the 2012 honorees. On hand were AIA Gold Medal winter Steven Holl, FAIA, who was joined by his senior partner, Chris McVoy. Members of the 2012 National Firm Award winner VJAA of Minneapolis, Minn., who enjoyed the event included Vincent James, FAIA; Nathan Knutson, AIA; Jennifer Yoos, AIA, and Paul Yaggie, AIA.

Paul Lubowicki, formerly of Frank O. Gehry & Associates represented the firm in the celebration of the Twenty-Five Year Award, which was given this year to Mr. Gehry’s own quirky Santa Monica residence.

Several Honorary Fellows, who were invested into the College of Fellows the day before, enjoyed the AIA’s own brand of American hospitality including Solano Benìtez, of Gabinete de Arquitectura from Asuncion, Paraguay; Richard Francis-Jones of Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp, from Syndey, Australia; Pierre-Antoine Gatier, Hon. FAIA who heads up his own firm in Paris, and Anya van der Merwe, Hon. FAIA, of Van Der Merwe Miszewski Architects, Cape Town, South Africa.

The Institute Honor Awards for Collaborative Achievement went to two different non-profit organizations. Abby Suckle, FAIA, Anne Lewison, AIA and Susan Chin, FAIA, took bows for cultureNOW, a nonprofit organization mapping history, art, and architecture in the public realm to create a “museum without walls.” A second Collaborative Achievement Award was given to the Rice Design Alliance, a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of architecture, urban design, and the built environment in the Houston region. It was represented by its president-elect, Lonnie Hoogeboom, AIA.

Of course, the reception and dinner was made possible through the largess of a number of generous donors including EFCO, a Pella Company, and Delta Light. A number of past National Firm Award winners also helped sponsor the event, including Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects; Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners; BNIM; Ennead Architects; Leers Weinzapfel Associates, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson; Centerbrook Architects and Planners; Olson Kundig Architects, and the Miller Hull Partnership.

Jeff Wolfram of Wolfram’s Architectural Photography, graciously served as the evening’s photographer. Schopf took a moment to thank the White House Historical Association, which made Decatur House available. She concluded the evening saying, “We hope to see you next year in Denver, where we can only hope to find a venue as wonderful as this one. And, we’d better start looking now!”

Design Excellence in 2011: COD Reception and Dinner

AIA Award Recipients Cheered At First-Ever COD Dinner and Reception

By Charles Linn

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.”