Receiving a major lifetime honor, the architect Heidi Creighton of Buro Happold has been elevated to the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the group’s highest recognition, for her “collaborative, human-centric practice championing environmental performance, health, and social equity. Through inclusive building design, progressive master planning, and persuasive advocacy, she has redefined human wellbeing as a broad, urgent societal mandate.”

Associate principal in Sustainability at the innovative global consultancy Buro Happold, the multicredentialed architect based in Los Angeles is also a LEED Fellow, WELL Faculty, and Fitwel Ambassador. Creighton has worked on a wide range of acclaimed building and sustainability projects, including the Santa Monica City Hall East, the Los Angeles Countywide Sustainability Plan called OurCounty, along with building projects totaling over 14 million square feet, completed or in design, to meet standards including LEED, WELL, net-zero energy (NZE) and Living Building Challenge.

A lifelong advocate of design to advance environmental and social goals, Creighton has been active in green building for more than 15 years, serving for six years on the board of directors of the US Green Building Council – Los Angeles. She currently serves on the AIA California Committee on the Environment (COTE) Steering Committee to continue to advance the state chapter’s position as a global leader in addressing challenges of climate change and natural resource depletion. Creighton was named a LEED Fellow in 2018 and broke ground as one of the world’s first WELL Accredited Professionals, or WELL APs.

Within Buro Happold, Creighton has led multiple initiatives dealing with companywide sustainability, wellness and diversity. The Los Angeles office’s workplace received LEED-CI Platinum certification and a Los Angeles Green Business certification, in addition to WELL certification. “Now, more than ever, a focus on human health and wellbeing needs to be the priority in all aspects of the built environment, requiring early
and intimate interaction with communities and occupants to put users’ need first, above all else,” says Creighton. As a result of this focused mindset, tens of thousands of students, workers, travelers and visitors have been positively impacted though Creighton’s 100-plus building projects, all focused on elevating the human experience. Metrics of this achievement include more successful social interactions, fewer physical health problems, lower overall stress and higher productivity.

Being elevated to the AIA College of Fellows reflects an individual’s “significant contributions to the profession of architecture,” according to the AIA. This prestigious title is its highest membership recognition, awarded to about 3% of AIA members.
Nominees are screened through five rigorous judging criteria:
o Promoting aesthetic, scientific and practical efficiency of the profession.
o Advancing the science and art of planning and building by advancing the standards of architectural education, training and practice.
o Leadership in the building industry and the profession of architecture.
o Ensuring advancement in living standards by improving the built environment.
o Making the profession of ever-increasing service to society.

“In her work, Heidi Creighton has tirelessly advanced social justice as a critical factor in fostering human wellbeing,” says Alice Kimm, FAIA, principal with John Friedman Alice Kimm Architects, Los Angeles, and Creighton’s sponsor for elevation to AIA Fellowship. “She has developed standards that benefit all of us through ongoing  experimentation with new technology, and she has shown us the undeniable connection between equity, creativity and productivity.”

"Heidi Creighton, FAIA, is a pioneering architect and a tireless advocate dedicated to innovative ways that social and environmental goals can be achieved through our design, engineering and consulting projects, and she has made valuable contributions to professional education and leadership,” says David Herd, managing partner of Buro Happold's California region. “Her contribution’s impact is evident beyond her portfolio of award-winning built works and seen in her leadership and mentoring of a new tide of professionals and clients that value design for its greatest uplift of society.”

In addition, Herd emphasizes Creighton’s record of service and philanthropic endeavors. At Buro Happold, she created and continues to lead the Collective Impact speaker series, which has brought together more than 190 speakers from 156 different organizations. She also led the Bridges to Prosperity build in 2018, with contractor PCL Construction, to construct a pedestrian bridge over the Rio Caloveborita in the Santa Fe region of rural Panama, which now links two communities long separated by a river. Her advocacy for a firmwide diversity initiative led to Buro Happold U.S. successfully pursuing a JUST Label, given in recognition of progressive policies, diversity and payscale transparency. Creighton also helped launch a Diversity & Inclusion Forum at Buro Happold, to elevate understanding and appreciation of diversity.

Creighton’s track record and her earning the highest recognition of her field also speak to the focus of her firm, Buro Happold, a world-class global practice of engineers, consultants, advisers, architects and other professionals. Focused on integrated thinking and a truly interdisciplinary, interconnected community of passionate experts, Buro Happold sets out to create transformative outcomes for clients and communities alike. Project teams aspire to deliver elegant solutions leaving a positive lasting legacy for the communities served, with value on the environment, human wellbeing, mutual responsibility and a transformative, sustainable future.