Celebrating the 2021 Young Architect Award and Associate Award Winners
Each year the AIA elevates emerging professionals for their individual achievements within the profession, the institute, and their communities. The two awards include the AIA Young Architects Award and the AIA Associates Award.
AIA Young Architects Award: Emerging Talent deserves recognition. The AIA Young Architect Award honors individuals who have demonstrated exceptional leadership and made significant contributions to the architecture profession early in their careers. AIA members who are in good standing and have been licensed to practice architecture for fewer than 10 years.
The AIA Associate Award is given to individual Associate AIA members to recognize outstanding leaders and creative thinkers for significant contributions to their communities and the architecture profession.
We asked the 2021 award winners a few questions about their contributions, mission, and the award impact. Check out what these leaders had to share!
YAF: What do you feel is your most impactful contribution within the architectural profession thus far and why?
AL: When our firm’s book, 9 Ways To Make Housing for People, comes out this fall, this will be my answer! It is an accessible design manual and how-to for students, planners, city officials, developers, and architects on how to create high quality human-centric housing.
Until then, I would say it’s been each affordable housing project that I’ve gotten to work on. I’ve been to projects’ grand openings, and someone will stand up to speak and say, “Before I lived in this building, I lived in my car.” That always reinforces that the hard work of bringing these buildings to fruition is more than worth it.
YAF: What is a mission of yours that can make an impact within the industry, and how do you see your mission growing and/or evolving over time?
AL: My current focus is to work in the cities of the southeast to expand the idea of how wonderful, walkable, and equitable affordable housing and mixed-use developments can be. I want to leverage my experience honed on the front lines of the housing crisis in San Francisco and my passion as an urbanist and citizen architect to bring this lens to design (or projects) in Birmingham, Nashville, Atlanta, and beyond.
YAF: How do you think this award has/will positively impact your career goals? What would you say to others to encourage them to apply?
AL: I am so grateful for the platform it has given me. It has increased the number of opportunities to share the firm’s work around affordable housing and good design for all. One of my goals when I moved to Alabama was to bring more progressive thinking around design and good press to my home state. I’m so proud to have won this award as an Alabama-based architect.