The American Institute of Architects selects Four Recipients for the 2014 Institute Honors for Collaborative Achievement

Washington, D.C. – February 21, 2014 – The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has selected the recipients of the 2014 Institute Honors for Collaborative Achievement. The award, to be presented at the 2014 AIA National Convention and Design Exposition in Chicago, recognizes and encourages 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.

ACE Mentor Program

For more than 15 years, the ACE Mentor Program has brought together key sectors of the design and construction industry—architecture, engineering, construction management, real estate development, and more—to raise the awareness of tens of thousands of high school students to the possibility of careers in these fields. Architects make up one-quarter of the 5,000 mentors who have volunteered to work with the program over the years. ACE is a national program organized into five regions with 64 local affiliates operating in 200 cities in 35 states. The mutually beneficial relationship between ACE and the architecture profession has produced remarkable, and measurable, achievements. In the 18 years since it began, ACE has established itself as a recognized career development program; schools of architecture recognize ACE as an asset to learning and award scholarships to applicants who have participated in the program. Based on data collected by ACE, about 3 percent of all applicants to schools of architecture identify themselves as ACE alumni.

National Building Museum

Since it opened to the public in 1985, the museum has presented more than 200 exhibitions and a variety of lecture series, family festivals, and education programs for all ages. The museum has taught children about architecture, engineering, urban planning, and construction through programs that encourage critical thinking, problem solving, and communication skills. As part of AIAǀDC’s annual Architecture Week, the museum hosts the Interschool Student Design Competition, in which students from the area’s six collegiate architecture programs participate in a day-long design competition. The museum also addresses a broad family audience with its three annual festivals: The Big Build: A Hands-on Family Festival of Tools, Trucks, and Construction; Discover Engineering Family Day; and the National Cherry Blossom Festival Family Day. Recent exhibitions include House & Home (2012–17), a long-term exhibition that takes visitors on a tour of American houses, both familiar and surprising; Green Schools (2013–14), highlighting examples of what is possible in green school design; PLAY WORK BUILD (2012–14), an interactive, hands-on installation featuring molded foam blocks of all shapes; and LEGO® Architecture: Towering Ambition, which showcased 15 buildings from around the world constructed entirely from LEGO blocks.

Post-Sandy Initiative: Building Better, Building Smarter

Spearheaded by AIA New York’s Design for Risk and Reconstruction Committee (DfRR), the Post-Sandy Initiative is a collaborative effort of many disciplines working toward the advancement of resilient architecture and urban design in New York City’s waterfront communities. The initiative brought together a variety of organizations to not only share and compile best practices but to further the conversation about resiliency, sustainability, and the role and responsibility of design and architecture. Before the storm, the DfRR and the city’s Department of City Planning had collaborated to engage design professionals from a number of disciplines to find innovative approaches to flood-resistant design in a dense urban environment. Immediately following Sandy, AIANY sprang into action to provide support complementing the public-sector response to the storm, bringing professional expertise and resources to aid in disaster response and convening a broad dialog in the design community to grapple with the short- and long-term effects of recovery and rebuilding. Partner organizations included the New York chapters of the American Council of Engineering Companies, the American Society of Landscape Architects, the American Planning Association, and the Structural Engineers Association, as well as the Citizens Housing and Planning Council and the New York State Association for Affordable Housing. The results of this effort were broad and far-reaching. The expertise provided by AIANY and others enabled city agencies to respond more quickly and precisely by swiftly enacting emergency changes to zoning and other construction regulations.

Rick Smith

Smith’s technical expertise and embrace of cutting-edge design challenges have made him an essential collaborator on landmark projects by leading architects. By introducing computer-aided design and 3D digital modeling into architectural design, most notably through his work with Frank Gehry, FAIA, Smith has paved the way for a dramatic transformation in the practice of architecture. His early interest in architecture was redirected by a prescient recognition of the potential of CAD, and he became a leader in the application of design technology for engineering and manufacturing. This path converged with architecture in 1991, when Smith began working with Gehry’s firm to realize gravity-defying visions for structure such as the Guggenheim Bilbao and Walt Disney Concert Hall. He also worked with contractors and fabricators to bring these designs to life, customizing digital tools and techniques as new challenges arose. These achievements electrified the architecture community, catapulting Gehry to prominence, expanding the boundaries of the buildable, and ushering the design and building industries into a digital era that is still unfolding. In all this, Smith has been an essential collaborator. His work is simply proof of his greater contribution: expanding the frontiers of what is possible in architecture through a technological revolution that is inherently collaborative.

The jury for the 2014 Collaborative Achievement Award includes: William Bates, AIA (Chair), Eat’n Park Hospitality Group; Amanda Palasik, Assoc. AIA, GWWO, Inc.; Rona Rothenberg, FAIA, Administrative Office of the Courts Alameda, California; Benjamin Vargas, FAIA, Bartizan Group Architects & Project Managers and Jennifer Workman, AIA, Good Fulton & Farrell, inc.

About The American Institute of Architects

Founded in 1857, members of the American Institute of Architects consistently work to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings, neighborhoods, and communities. Through nearly 300 state and local chapters, the AIA advocates for public policies that promote economic vitality and public well being.  Members adhere to a code of ethics and conduct to ensure the highest professional standards. The AIA provides members with tools and resources to assist them in their careers and business as well as engaging civic and government leaders, and the public to find solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world. Visit


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