It’s end-of-the-year award season, and I have to acknowledge three significant honorees that I am proud to know very well.
The 2013 AIA/ACSA Topaz Medallion for Excellence in Architectural Education, the highest honor for an individual educator in an American school of architecture, is awarded to Robert Greenstreet, Intl. Assoc. AIA. Greenstreet has been the dean of my alma mater, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) School of Architecture and Urban Planning (SARUP), for more than 20 years, making him among the longest-serving deans of an architecture school in North America. Read more about Greenstreet on the AIA’s website here.
I am very pleased to see Greenstreet win the Topaz, which many significant educators have also won, including Michael Graves, FAIA, in 2010. Greenstreet has been an excellent dean for the school, making strong connections between the school and the professional community in Milwaukee, and raising the stature of both the school and the city’s civic life in return. For me, personally, Greenstreet was very encouraging as I was involved with AIAS and AIA and was already pursuing a path related to writing about the built environment while I was pursuing masters in both architecture and urban planning. I was among a number of UWM SARUP graduates who were genuinely excited for Bob when we heard the news about him winning the Topaz.
The award, which honors an individual who has been deeply involved in architecture education for at least a decade, is given jointly by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) and the AIA. He will be awarded the medallion at the ACSA annual meeting in San Francisco in May, and the AIA will also recognize him at the 2013 AIA National Convention and Design Exposition in Denver in June.
One of my fellow classmates at UWM, Matthew Dumich, AIA, is being honored by AIA Chicago with the Dubin Family Young Architect Award. The award recognizes excellence in ability and exceptional contributions by a Chicago-area architect between the ages of 25 and 39. Dumich, a project manager at Valerio Dewalt Train Associates, has been the 2012 treasurer of the AIA Chicago board of directors, and he is also on the AIA National Young Architects Forum Advisory Committee. In 2009, he founded the AIA Chicago BRIDGE Mentoring program and, in 2011, he formed the AIA Illinois Council for Emerging Professionals.
Douglas Farr, Farr Associates
AIA Chicago also has named Farr Associates as 2012 AIA Chicago Firm of the Year. Led by Doug Farr, AIA, Farr Associates has been at the forefront in sustainable architecture and urban design for many years. The firm has designed seven LEED Platinum projects, two net-zero-energy buildings and three LEED-Neighborhood Developments. It was the first firm in the world with three completed LEED Platinum projects.
In 2004, in my previous role as acquisitions editor with the book publisher Wiley, I asked Doug Farr to write a book based on his expertise. That book, Sustainable Urbanism: Urban Design with Nature, released in 2007 and quickly became a best-seller. Through that book, Farr and his colleagues further solidified their recognition as experts on sustainable urban design, and a second edition is currently in development. Given the gravitas of Chicago as an architecture capital, and the maturation of sustainable design in our profession, I’m very pleased to see AIA Chicago recognize Farr Associates with the Firm of the Year honor.