Every year the AIA awards their highest honor awards at the end of the year to some of the best in the field. The list of awards includes, Firm Award, Edward C. Kemper Award, the Topaz Medallion for Excellence in Architectural Education, the Whitney M. Young Jr. Award and the AIA Gold Medal.
Those that were awarded for 2016 are inspirational, all pushing the limits of what architecture is and constantly working to better the profession and architectural education. Personally, (judging by my Facebook page many others feel this way as well) the AIA Gold Medal winners (yes, I do mean winner(S)) is the most exciting award of the season. Denise Scott Brown and Robert Venturi were both awarded with the Gold Medal. Not only are they the first pair to win this prestigious award, but Denise Scott Brown is the first living woman to be awarded with the highest honor of the AIA (Note: Julia Morgan, FAIA was the first official woman to win, but was honored posthumously).
The work of Scott Brown and Venturi is notable, mostly because their partnership has existed since the 1960s. What is even more notable, is that in the past, Venturi has been nominated for the Gold Medal but historically the award was awarded to single architects and Venturi said, “Not without Denise.” (Architectural Record).
Not only is this monumental for the pair and Denise Scott Brown, it is notable for women in the architectural profession. It is an exciting time to be a woman in architecture. Each year, we keep making strides. However, the important lesson is that sometimes it takes an entire career lifetime to gain the recognition that is so deserving. This is a monumental step and I cannot wait to see both Scott Brown and Venturi awarded in May in their hometown, Philadelphia.
AIA 2016 Honor Award Winners:
Topaz Medallion for Excellence in Architectural Education: Douglas S. Kelbaugh, FAIA Emeritus
Whitney M. Young Jr. Award: R. Steven Lewis, AIA
Firm Award: LMN Architects
Edward C. Kemper Award: Terrance Brown, FAIA