Douglas Ito, FAIA, honored with Whitney M. Young Jr. Award 2024

The Board of Directors and the Strategic Council of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) today honored Douglas Ito, FAIA, with the Whitney M. Young Jr. Award 2024.  

Established in 1972, the Whitney M. Young Jr. Award annually honors an architect or organization that champions a range of social issues.  

Ito is the managing principal of Seattle’s SMR Architects, where over the course of 26 years he has designed the entire spectrum of affordable housing, from shelters to single-family homes, proving himself an ardent proponent of mission-driven projects that generate significant social impact and transform communities. Ito joined SMR’s architectural staff shortly after completing his master’s program at the University of Washington. He has remained an essential leader at the 39-person firm, which has a sterling reputation for affordable housing, historic preservation, and sustainable design across Washington state. Harnessing his considerable experience working with diverse communities, Ito has designed housing for a range of low-income populations that include the formerly homeless, immigrants, and seniors. Ito ensures they have access to beautiful and safe buildings that greatly enhance their lives, no matter the budget. The firm has added more than 2,400 affordable housing units to the state, many of which Ito navigated through LEED certification. 

Recognizing that many of the firm’s clients are members of underrepresented communities, Ito leads SMR’s efforts to diversify its own ranks as well as the consultants it partners with. The firm’s approach to diversity, equity, and inclusion is an ongoing process, one that began with investigating the barriers people of color face in seeking to enter the profession. SMR continues to support its clients’ educational programs and regularly offers opportunities for young interns to shadow its architects.  

While service is embedded in SMR’s mission, Ito also supports initiatives focused on social equity and ending homelessness. In addition to his service on AIA Washington Council, where he is president of the chapter’s board of directors, he has been a vocal advocate for Washington’s most vulnerable residents as a member of the city of Tacoma’s Affordable Housing Technical Advisory Group and the Washington State Department of Commerce’s Affordable Housing Advisory Board.  

Perhaps most notably, he served on the Housing Development Consortium’s board for eight years, including through a pivotal moment in Seattle’s history of funding affordable housing. As president of the board, Ito was instrumental in stewarding a successful campaign for the city’s 2016 housing levy, a $290 million initiative that exceeded its goals of adding 2,150 new rental units and assisting 280 low-income homeowners. With that levy set to expire this year, Ito was asked to join the 2023 Housing Levy Committee and will advocate for its renewal and expansion as campaign co-chair. 

VisitAIA’s websiteto learn more about Ito’s selection as the 2024 Whitney M. Young Jr. Award recipient. 

AIA/ACSA Topaz Medallion for Excellence in Architectural Education 2024 Awarded to Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk

The Board of Directors and the Strategic Council of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) along with the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) today announced Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, FAIA, as the 2024 winner of the AIA/ACSA Topaz Medallion for Excellence in Architectural Education. 

The AIA/ACSA Topaz Medallion honors an individual who has been intensely involved in architecture education for more than a decade and whose teaching has influenced a broad range of students.
 Plater-Zyberk, who holds degrees from Princeton and Yale universities, has played a significant role in shaping the University of Miami’s School of Architecture since it was formally created by university President Edward T. Foote II in 1981. Since she began teaching at the university in 1979, Plater-Zyberk has continually sought out problems in the built environment that she could address collaboratively with students and colleagues.   

As dean of the school, a position she held for 18 years, she augmented the Bachelor of Architecture degree with two- and three-year master’s degrees in architecture, a post-professional master’s in urban design, and a master’s in real estate development and urbanism. In addition, she raised more than $10 million to support professorships, new programs, and the construction of three new facilities. During her leadership, the school experienced significant institutional growth, and she nurtured a culture of intellectual exchange, encouraging faculty to engage in research and share their work in publications.   

Informed by her experience as a co-founder of the Congress for the New Urbanism, she continues to teach important courses on architecture and urban design, including the recently developed course “Adaption to Climate Change.” Her former students can be found engaged in design initiatives in communities across the globe. In addition, Plater-Zyberk holds a parallel appointment within the university’s Miller School of Medicine and collaborates with faculty peers on research on the built environment’s impact on human health. She continues to lecture widely and is a visiting professor at institutions of higher education in the U.S., Europe, and Asia, presenting more than 100 lectures in the past decade alone.   

Outside of the academy, Plater-Zyberk continues to practice at DPZ CoDesign, the Miami-based firm she co-founded in 1980 with Andrés Duany, FAIA. Building on its well-established reputation for innovation and community design, the firm now boasts six partners with offices across the nation. Its work, widely celebrated with awards and honors, has contributed to the discourse on community, town planning, and urban design.   

VisitAIA’s websiteto learn more about Plater-Zyberk’s selection as the recipient of the 2024 AIA/ACSA Topaz Medallion for Excellence in Architectural Education. 

Sho-Ping Chin honored posthumously with Edward C. Kemper Award 2024

The Board of Directors and the Strategic Council of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) are honoring Sho-Ping Chin, FAIA, with the Edward C. Kemper Award 2024.    

The Edward C. Kemper Award, named in honor of the AIA’s first executive director, is given annually to an architect who has contributed significantly to the profession through service to the AIA.
 A champion for women in design, Sho-Ping Chin, FAIA, made a remarkable impact on the profession throughout her lifetime, and her enduring legacy continues to inspire architects across the nation. As a leader, Chin was able to simultaneously instigate and inspire, whether heading a project team, engaging her clients, or serving alongside her colleagues at AIA. Through her various efforts, she changed the practice of architecture at the national level, and her advocacy advanced the roles of women in the full spectrum of architecture, urban design, sustainability, and social responsibility.   

As a principal at Boston’s Payette, Chin was committed to elevating the design of health care facilities, improving their efficiency and humanizing clinical spaces with natural light and material palettes soothing to both patients and staff. Chin, in her role as a firm leader, eagerly welcomed talented young professionals from across the world, including India, China, and Turkey, embracing their differing viewpoints and experiences to expand our common architectural heritage.   

No matter a project’s scale or budget, she challenged project teams and clients alike to envision uplifting spaces. Her careful consideration is clear in a broad swath of projects, from the $200 million Children’s Hospital at Hershey Medical Center to the pro bono St. Boniface Hospital in Haiti, built in the wake of the devastating 2010 earthquake.   

Among Chin’s most significant contributions to the profession was founding and leading the Boston Society of Architect’s (BSA’s) Women Principals Group in 2006. Since its inception, the group has grown into a critical resource for the city’s current and future architectural leaders. In collaboration with BSA’s Women in Design group, Chin helped launch a mentoring program to share knowledge and experiences with the next generation of women leaders.   

Chin’s positive BSA experiences spurred her to look beyond the Boston region and organize the Women’s Leadership Summit, the first national AIA gathering of women leaders held in Chicago in 2009. The first gathering drew 150 attendees from 23 states; today, the summit draws more than 1,000 participants from all 50 states and is the most significant gathering of women architects in the country. To ensure the continued development of emerging women leaders, a memorial fund in her name was established by colleagues, family, and friends to provide grants that cover the costs of attending the summit.   

VisitAIA’s websiteto learn more about Chin’s selection as the 2024 Edward C. Kemper Award recipient. 

2024 AIA Gold Medal awarded to David Lake and Ted Flato

The Board of Directors and the Strategic Council of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) are honoring David Lake, FAIA, and Ted Flato, FAIA, with the 2024 AIA Gold Medal.
 The Gold Medal honors an individual whose significant body of work has had a lasting influence on the theory and practice of architecture. As a pair, Lake and Flato have delivered on their vision to connect people to nature through restorative and sustainable strategies. Their Austin based firm Lake|Flato continues to be at the forefront of sustainable design, winning an industry best 15 COTE (Committee on the Environment) Top 10 Awards and designing healthier, more sustainable, and inclusive places inspired by nature.

Austin native David Lake founded Lake|Flato with Ted Flato in 1984. Outspoken advocates for urban development, Lake and Flato have established themselves as citizen architects through their numerous plans and designs in cities across Texas and beyond. 

Since receiving his Bachelor of Science in Architecture from Stanford University, Flato has built a career that has received wide acclaim for his straight-forward designs that leverage each unique site and connect people to the natural environment. Flato’s collaborations and environmental advocacy, alongside, Lake, have helped protect and preserve accessibility to 50,000 acres of land in Texas, a state where less than 4 percent of land is publicly available, while conserving 35,000 acres of critical habitats from West Virginia to the Florida Everglades. 

At the helm of Lake|Flato over the last 40 years, Lake and Flato have reframed the conversation around sustainability and social and environmental responsibility through their inclusive design practice that will reverberate for decades to come.

VisitAIA’s websiteto learn more about Lake and Flato’s selection as the 2024 AIA Gold Medalist.