The acclaimed architecture and urban design firm Cooper Robertson has announced the elevation of partner Brian Shea to the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the national group’s highest honor, recognizing “exceptional work and lasting contributions to architecture and society.” In addition, Shea and the firm have won several recent design honors for innovative planning and building projects.
Since joining Cooper Robertson in 1979, Brian Shea FAIA has helped transform and revitalize downtowns, waterfronts, college campuses, and complex urban sites in more than 30 cities worldwide. He has served as a design leader on some of the firm’s most significant works, including such notable master-planning projects as New York City’s Hudson Yards, Battery Park City, and redevelopment of 42nd Street. Other significant efforts have ranged from Shea’s input shaping Baltimore’s Inner Harbor area, Barcelona’s Diagonal Mar zone, and the Disney developments Val d’Europe in France and the planned town of Celebration, Fla.
“As an insightful and inspired designer, Brian Shea has focused his professional career and extraordinary talents on urban design in part through his interest in effecting large-scale change and advancing an agenda to create humane environments for people to live, work and recreate, through design,” says Cooper Robertson’s founding partner emeritus, Alexander Cooper, FAIA. “He has shaped the fabric of cities, new communities and campuses, and his leadership within the firm has made him an inspiration to hundreds of colleagues past and present.”
In addition to recognizing his project work, Shea’s election to the AIA College of Fellows acknowledges his extensive mentorship and teaching efforts. Shea has served as instructor for the Urban Land Institute’s (ULI) Real Estate Degree Program, the Smithsonian Museum’s Neighborhood Design Workshop, the Seaside Institute, and the University of Maryland’s School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. Shea has also served as a jury
member and a visiting professor at Yale University, Harvard University, Columbia University and the University of Notre Dame, as well as for the Boston Society of Architects.
Shea’s AIA Fellowship further underscores Cooper Robertson’s core values of serving clients and communities by integrating architecture and urban design into projects that succeed at creating humane environments in even the largest scaled and most intensely urban contexts. Underscoring the honor, Cooper Robertson has recently achieved a number of significant milestones including the completion of major architecture and urban design projects including the opening this summer of the new Gateway Arch Museum in St. Louis, an ambitious expansion and renovation of the original Eero Saarinen design. Other newly completed projects include the Miracle Mile Streetscape, a reimagined pedestrian district in historic downtown Coral Gables, Fla., and design of the New York Botanical Garden’s Edible Academy, a new, state-of-the-art facility offering year-round programs and STEM education activities related to nutrition and health.
With Shea’s involvement, Cooper Robertson is also involved in some of North America’s largest-scale urban design efforts. New, high-profile commissions include the urban design framework for M City -- a 15-acre, 4.3 million-square-foot development in Mississauga, Ontario -- as well as the master plan for Riverton, a 418-acre new community considered the largest mixed-use development in New Jersey history. In addition, Cooper Robertson is master planner for the 1,300-acre Charlotte River District along the Catawba River in Charlotte, N.C., as well as for university campuses including Springfield, Missouri’s Drury University and Longwood University in Farmville, Va.
“Brian and I have worked together for nearly thirty years. He is talented, prolific, and intensely insightful with an intellectual curiosity that is unparalleled," says John Kirk, AIA, partner at Cooper Robertson. "His accomplishments as an architect are matched only by his energy as a devoted friend and mentor.”