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AIA Names Winners of Thomas Jefferson and Collaboration Awards

February 11, 2009

By Aleksandr Bierig

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has announced the 2009 winners of its Thomas Jefferson Award for Public Architecture, along with the recipients of its Honors for Collaborative Achievement.

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The 2009 Thomas Jefferson Award for Public Architecture is given for architectural achievement or advocacy in three categories: public-sector architects, private-sector architects with a notable portfolio of public facilities, and public officials or other individuals who have expanded the public’s awareness of design excellence.

The award for public-sector architect went to Roger Boothe, AIA, the director of urban planning for the city of Cambridge, Massachusetts. Boothe is a graduate of the University of Arkansas and the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Over the past 30 years, Boothe has been involved in design reviews for more than 100 projects that have helped transform the urban fabric of Cambridge. “I feel I’ve had a fortunate position in Cambridge, where people care about the built environment,” Boothe says, going on to call his city a “laboratory for urban design, planning, and architecture.” The jury cited Boothe’s role in the development of Harvard Square, Central Square, and the East Cambridge Waterfront, among other areas.

The 2009 award for private-sector architect went to Philip Freelon, FAIA, of the Durham, North Carolina-based Freelon Group. In a formal statement, Freelon called the award “a cherished honor for me, and a true reflection of the design work produced by the team of incredibly talented professionals I have the privilege of working with every day.” Freelon’s public work includes the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) in San Francisco, the BRITE Center on the campus of North Carolina Central University, and the Durham Station Multimodal Transportation Center in Durham. Freelon is a graduate of North Carolina State University and the MIT School of Architecture and Planning. He also is a founding member of the North Carolina chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA).

The award for public official or individual design advocate went to Donald Stastny, FAIA, founding partner of StastnyBrun Architects in Portland, Oregon. Stastny is a graduate of Oregon State, the University of Washington, and the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Fine Arts. He has been involved in a wide range of projects over the last 40 years, including neighborhood and city planning, multi-family housing, historic renovations, and cultural centers. In addition, he has participated in “more than 50 national and international processes for competitions, commissions, and plans,” according to the AIA. Stastny says that his firm strives to remove “the barriers to the public’s understanding of design, as well as the way architecture and urban design fundamentally affect our everyday life.”

The AIA also announced the winners of the Honors for Collaborative Achievement, given for “distinguished achievements of allied professionals, clients, organizations, architect teams, knowledge communities, and others who have had a beneficial influence on or advanced the architectural profession.”

Recipients were as follows: Peter Aaron, a contributing photographer to Esto Photographics and former apprentice to master architectural photographer Ezra Stoller; Guy Nordenson, professor of structural engineering at Princeton University and founder of Guy Nordenson and Associates Structural Engineers, LLP, in New York City; The Architecture Handbook: A Student Guide to Understanding Buildings, a textbook by Jennifer Masengarb with Krisann Rehbein, jointly published in 2007 by the Chicago Architectural Foundation and the Chicago Public Schools (reviewed in RECORD last April); Metropolis, the New York-based magazine and book publisher; The Berkeley Prize, an annual student award for critical writing on architecture, administered by the University of California at Berkeley; and DOCOMOMO-US, which is the U.S. chapter of the International Working Party for the Documentation and Conservation of Building Sites and Neighborhoods of the Modern Movement.

All award winners will be recognized during the 2009 AIA national convention, scheduled for April 30 to May 2 in San Francisco.

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