The Board of Directors of The American Institute of Architects (AIA) voted yesterday to award the 2012 AIA Gold Medal, considered to be the profession's highest honor that an individual can receive, to Steven Holl, FAIA. The Gold Medal honors an individual whose significant body of work has had a lasting influence on the theory and practice of architecture.
“What, in my view, especially commends him as a candidate for the Gold Medal,” wrote Harry Cobb, FAIA, of Pei Cobb Freed, in a recommendation letter, “is his brilliantly demonstrated capacity to join his refined design sensibility to a rigorously exploratory theoretical project.”
Holl completed two projects located in China in 2009 that are emblematic of his approach to architecture and his innovative method of design inquiry: the Linked Hybrid, in Beijing, and the Vanke Center in Shenzhen. In addition to China, Holl’s work can be seen across the United States and Europe, like the Nelson Atkins Museum Bloch Building in Kansas City, Missouri; MIT’s Simmons Hall in Cambridge, Massachusettes; the Knut Hamsun Center in Norway; or NYU’s Department of Philosophy, as well as Pratt Institute’s Higgins Hall Insertion in New York City.
The 2012 AIA Architecture Firm Award, the highest honor the AIA bestows on an architecture firm, went to VJAA, the Minneapolis-based firm, noted for its consistently rigorous approach to research-driven form-making.
“We are honored to be recognized by the AIA with this important award,” said Vincent James, FAIA, principal at VJAA. “This recognition is due to talented and committed employees, ambitious clients and the strong support we receive from our local design community. With this encouragement, we will continue to build a practice that strives to innovate while creating a responsive architecture that is sensitive to its users and its place.”
The AIA also selected Mortimer Marshall, Jr., FAIA, as the 2012 recipient of the Whitney M. Young Jr. Award, given to an architect or architecturally oriented organization exemplifying the profession's responsibility toward current social issues. Marshall is being recognized for his continued dedication to the profession and his approach to architecture as a vehicle for leadership and service.
The 2012 Topaz Medallion for Excellence in Architectural Education was given in conjunction with the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) to George Baird, Intl. Assoc. AIA, one of Canada's most celebrated architects, for his association with the University of Toronto's architecture school. 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.