All posts by Amanda Malloy

2020 Architects Foundation Scholars Selected

Scholarships recognize and support diverse future leaders of the profession in equity, practice management, sustainability, and global practice

WASHINGTON – The Architects Foundation today announced the recipients for five of its scholarship programs that support future leaders of the profession in equity, diversity, global practice, and sustainability.

The Architects Foundation is continuing to support the future of the architecture profession by recognizing and supporting scholars through an ever-expanding scholarship and grant program offering. Programs listed below represent the latest recipients of the Architects Foundation’s scholarship and grant programs.

2020 Diversity Advancement Scholarship
The Architects Foundation is continuing to support diversity in the architecture profession by awarding its Diversity Advancement Scholarship to 6 students entering architecture school.  Each of the students will receive $4,000 per year towards tuition for the next five years totaling $20,000 each. This year’s recipients are:

2020 Payette Sho-Ping Chin Memorial Academic Scholarship
The Architects Foundation is awarding the 2020 Payette Sho-Ping Chin Memorial Academic Scholarship to Allexxus Farley-Thomas. Farley-Thomas, a student at Cornell University, will receive a $10,000 scholarship intended to support the education of women in architecture. She will also be mentored by an architect at Payette for the scholarship year. Farley-Thomas is the fifth recipient of the scholarship, which honors late architect Sho-Ping Chin, FAIA, a long-time principal at Payette and a healthcare practice leader who was instrumental in defining and elevating the national discourse for women in design.

2020 a/e ProNet David W. Lakamp AIA Scholarship
The Architects Foundation is awarding the 2020 a/e ProNet David W. Lakamp AIA Scholarship to Trey Hammond, University of Oklahoma, and Xinyuan Ma, Carnegie Mellon University. Each will receive $5,000 to be used towards tuition for demonstrating a strong interest in practice and risk management. The scholarship honors David W. Lakamp, who was a founder of a/e ProNet and a trusted advisor to the profession of architecture.

2020 Yann Weymouth Graduate Scholarship
The Architects Foundation is awarding the 2020 Yann Weymouth Graduate Scholarship to Michael Paraszczak. Paraszczak, a student at Cornell University, will receive a $5,000 scholarship towards tuition for demonstrating an exemplary work focus at design that includes sustainability, resilience, wellness, and beauty. The scholarship honors practicing architect Yann Weymouth, AIA, who will also mentor Paraszczak.

2020 McAslan Fellowship
The Architects Foundation is awarding the 2020 McAslan Fellowship to Michael Lidwin, University of Tennessee and Melissa Smith, University of Kansas. The scholarship supports research and travel experiences for two top graduating students to engage with UK-based firm McAslan+Partners.

Donate to the Architects Foundation >

Architects Foundation Board statement on The Octagon

The staff and board of the Architects Foundation, owner of The Octagon, want to share the AIA Board statement on systemic racial injustice. As the philanthropic partner of AIA, we agree that systemic racial injustice in any form, whether it be police brutality, employment discrimination, or any other efforts to marginalize people of color, is appalling and cannot be allowed to continue.

We recognize The Octagon symbolizes wealth generated at the expense of enslaved African Americans. We believe it is important to listen, learn and move forward, together. We acknowledge that as a cultural institution, The Octagon has an important role to play in challenging historic oppression through our collection, interpretative efforts, visiting exhibits, and our unique partnership with the AIA to convey the role architects can play in creating a more just and equal society.

The 2020 Architects Foundation Board of Directors
James Walbridge, AIA, President
R. Steven Lewis, FAIA, Vice President
Carole Wedge, FAIA, Treasurer
Bill Roschen, FAIA, Secretary
Ken Higa, AIA
Dan Kirby, FAIA
Constance Lai, FAIA
Sharon Liebowitz
Thomas Luebke, FAIA
Katherine Malone-France
Kenneth Schwartz, FAIA

Architects Foundation Board statement on systemic racial injustice

We at the Architects Foundation echo the sentiments of the AIA Board regarding systemic racial injustice. We agree that systemic racial injustice in any form, whether it be police brutality, employment discrimination, or any other efforts to marginalize people of color is appalling and cannot be allowed to continue. Now more than ever, we are proud of our role in supporting a diverse next-generation of architects to use their problem-solving skills to advance justice and equality for all people.

The 2020 Architects Foundation Board of Directors
James Walbridge, AIA, President
R. Steven Lewis, FAIA, Vice President
Carole Wedge, FAIA, Treasurer
Bill Roschen, FAIA, Secretary
Ken Higa, AIA
Dan Kirby, FAIA
Constance Lai, FAIA
Sharon Liebowitz
Thomas Luebke, FAIA
Katherine Malone-France
Kenneth Schwartz, FAIA

2020 Grad Series: Robert Moy

Congratulations to our 2020 graduates! Read the fourth installment of our series from our 2014 Diversity Advancement Scholar, Robert Moy.

Robert Moy

I first entered architecture school as an undergraduate student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the Fall semester of 2014. From 2014 to early 2017, I was involved in a student organization named Illinois Solar Decathlon where I worked extensively on the design and construction documentation of three separate net-zero energy housing projects for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Race to Zero Student Design Competition. These three projects conducted over the course of three years aimed to implement innovative sustainable design features and strategies in order to design an aesthetically appealing and marketable net-zero energy home. I had the privilege of serving as the lead project manager from 2016 to 2017, where I honed my leadership skills and worked closely with students from diverse education backgrounds, ranging from architecture to civil engineering and mechanical engineering. In April of 2017, our team traveled to Golden, Colorado to compete in the 2017 Race to Zero Design Competition held at the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). My work in Illinois Solar Decathlon has fostered my appreciation for and deepened my fascination into sustainable buildings.

Upon graduating from the University of Illinois with a Bachelor’s of Science in Architectural Studies (B.S.A.S.) degree in 2018, I moved to Milwaukee, WI to pursue my Masters of Architecture (M.Arch) at the School of Architecture & Urban Planning (SARUP) at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. During the two years at SARUP, I was a Teaching Assistant for the undergraduate architectural systems courses, teaching content such as HVAC, building envelopes and structural systems. The position was a perfect fit as I had extensive undergraduate coursework in building mechanical and structural systems during my time at the University of Illinois. Being a TA proved to be a very rewarding and wonderful experience. I worked directly with the undergraduate students, explaining assignments, reinforcing lecture concepts and offering feedback on student work. But by far the most rewarding experience was listening to their viewpoints on architecture and design and appreciating the diverse array of perspectives they bring to the table.

During my graduate studies at SARUP, I focused on Historic Preservation and Adaptive Reuse as my degree concentration. I had the unique opportunity to conduct 3D laser scanning on several historic buildings in the Milwaukee area and create existing drawings for the National Park Service’s Historic American Building Survey (HABS) program, as well as develop a net-zero retrofit proposal for my University’s Architecture building. My Masters’ Thesis project focused on the historic preservation and adaptive reuse of a 20th century warehouse building in Milwaukee.

As all of us have experienced, the COVID-19 pandemic has altered our way of life drastically in a blink of an eye. All courses – lectures, seminars and design studios – were abruptly moved entirely online for the remaining 2 months of the Spring 2020 semester. The faculty, including the TA’s such as myself, were forced to quickly adapt and transition our courses to the online format. The pandemic has caused considerable disruption to the overall educational experience for everyone, but despite the circumstances, I was able to finish my M.Arch degree in May 2020 with high distinction.

Learn more about the Diversity Advancement Scholarship >

2020 Grad Series: Shannar O’Connor

Congratulations to our 2020 graduates! Read the the third installment of our series from our 2016 Diversity Advancement Scholar, Shannar O’Connor.

Shannar O'ConnorThe past five years of architecture school have been the most transformative years of my life. I had many hardships, but also a plethora of rewarding experiences. From the beginning, the odds were never in my favor, being that I am a black woman from a single parent, immigrant family. However, my hard work, determination, and aid from scholarships, such as the Architects Foundation Diversity Advancement Scholarship, The Villagers Preservation Scholarship, and the Colin MacDonald Betsch Memorial Award, helped me to accomplish one of my major life goals—graduating Summa Cum Laude with a B.Arch degree from my dream university (the University of Miami). Furthermore, much of my success could also be attributed to the people who believed in me along the way: My high school counselor, who was and is there for me whenever my self-confidence wavers; my college advisor, whose persistence made it financially possible for me to attend the University of Miami (after I had already committed to another university); the professors that believed in me and my abilities; the principal at my 2018 Summer internship with Harrison Design (Naples, FL), who helped further my knowledge of residential architecture; my supervisor at my 2020 Spring internship with Stantec (Miami, FL), who saw potential in me as an interior designer and gave me the chance to shine by encouraging me and giving me great responsibilities; and most of all, my mom, who is my best friend and my rock.

Some of the college courses that have molded me into the designer that I am today, include my minor in art, the furniture design and design/build studio courses that I was able to take, and the upper-level studio courses that pushed me to think outside of the box. However, my most rewarding and eye-opening college experience was my semester studying abroad in Rome, Italy. I had never felt more at home in a foreign country. The people were so welcoming, the culture was fascinating, and the architecture was awe-inspiring. Also, because of the nature of the program, I got to travel all over the country, learn a great deal about Italy’s rich cultural history, try water coloring for the first time, and build life-long bonds with my peers and professors, who are now affectionately known as “mi piccola famiglia” or my small family. This experience taught me the importance of travel and inter-cultural exploration, as well as, helped me to discover my passion for interior architecture/ design.

Now that I have graduated, my goal is to gain more experience in the interior architecture/ design field and then in the future, start my own design firm, specializing in interiors, furniture design, and product design. Since being back home, due to the pandemic, I have had plenty of time to reflect on the past five years of architecture school and the biggest lesson that this education has taught me, is how to creatively problem solve. This lesson is not only going to aid me in my career as a designer, but also in life.

Learn more about the Diversity Advancement Scholarship >

2020 Grad Series: Michelle Badr

Congratulations to our 2020 graduates! Read the second installment of our series from our 2019 Payette Sho-Ping Chin Memorial Academic Scholar, Michelle Badr. 

Michelle BadrMy reasons for pursuing an M.Arch were not necessarily conventional—sure, I wanted to revisit conceptual design, immerse myself in research, and pursue licensure— but it was also a final test to determine whether or not I wanted to stay in the discipline at all. The disconnect between an inspiring architectural education and the banal tasks that the profession offered were weighing heavily on me, so much so that I decided to return to the academic environment that first fostered my architectural interests, and I am grateful that I did.

At Yale, I realized my definition of architecture was very different from that of others. Was architecture restricted to building buildings? Could it encompass systems-thinking or other forms of spatial problem-solving? Courses outside of studio opened pathways to explore the latter definition, fostering interdisciplinary collaboration, and positioning spatial logic as an architectural skill in and of itself. As my definition started to evolve, so did my understanding of the agency and empowering role of the architect.

I dove into other groups on campus, pursued unique research projects, and sought guidance from mentors to extract answers on what architecture really is and what it could be utilized for. This led to some amazing  projects and experiences— rethinking urban identity in Sweden, designing an innovation center in Afghanistan, imagining post-privacy housing in Mexico, dismantling private property in Italy, researching design processes in  San Francisco, and curating an exhibition on the subversive use of space at the Yale School of Architecture.

These three years have left me both inspired and equipped to apply architectural thinking beyond the classroom and traditional methods of practice. I am incredibly grateful to Payette and the Architects Foundation for enabling me to cultivate a definition of architecture that breaks boundaries— one which I plan to emulate throughout my career.

Learn more about the Payette Sho-Ping Chin Memorial Academic Scholarship >

2020 Grad Series: Sophie Chien

Congratulations to our 2020 graduates! Read the first part of our series from our 2015-2020 Diversity Advancement Scholar, Sophie Chien.

Sophie Chien

In my five years at Rhode Island School of Design, the most important thing I’ve learned is to care. I look at care in a broad sense: to care is to be thoughtful, to build up healthy communities, to apply what we learned, to be an active citizen, to respect yourself, to advocate for others, to pay attention. This is such a gift, that designers are sensitive and responsive to the world around us. I have the power to literally draw, sculpt, paint, weave, print, sew, design, and build new futures, futures that are more equitable, beautiful, and just. Futures that don’t exist yet, but should, futures that embrace our shared humanity.

At school, I have participated in opportunities that seem impossible when stacked up together. I have modeled a friend’s collection in New York Fashion Week, traveled the world learning from schoolmates and teachers, and been inspired by so many generous people who have taken the time to talk with and mentor me. I had the honor of serving as student body president, and have been asked to speak on several panels and a podcast during my time in school.

I am very proud of the ways I have developed my own design ethos and practice, learning from internships in Nome, Providence, Rome, Paris, and Los Angeles, working for both design firms and government agencies. During my five years, I have negotiated my studio projects and my associated interests with several fellowships both on and off campus, learning from my local Providence community as much as my architectural community. In every studio project, and culminating with my almost-done thesis, I have centered justice and care as the most important design components.

This scholarship gave me the self- and financial confidence necessary to thrive in the breakneck pace of architecture school and reminded me that my experience honors the people who have come before me and the people that come after me. As I leave architecture school, I will continue to shape my future as an organizer and designer.

As a child of an immigrant, my dad always told me education is the one thing nobody can take away from you. I can’t tell you how grateful I am that my architecture degree from RISD is the one thing that I will always have with me and am so honored to have been supported by the Architects Foundation during my entire experience.

Learn more about the Diversity Advancement Scholarship >

Panel Recap: Placemaking at HBCUs

Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) make up 3 percent of the country’s colleges and universities, enroll 10 percent of all African American students, and produce almost 20 percent of all African American graduates, making these institutions increasingly impactful and vital. While meeting admissions goals and improving retention rates are critical goals for any college, for HBCUs history, students’ backgrounds, cultural nuances, and other factors require different approaches to student success. Thoughtful campus planning and design can play an important role in creating environments that allow students to embark upon higher education as the cornerstone of the Dream.

On January 30, we convened a panel at The Octagon to discuss placemaking at HBCUs with:

Andrew B. Feiler, Photographer
Bradford C. Grant, Professor of Architecture, Howard University
Warren L. Williams, AIA, Principal, Lord Aeck Sargent
Renée Yancey, Managing Director of EDI Development & Workforce Strategy, The American Institute of Architects

Watch the recap >
Read our statement on The Octagon >

In its 30th Year, the Richard Morris Hunt Prize Redoubles its Impact

PARIS- At a moment of global environmental concern, one organization is supporting greater scholarship in conserving the built environment — the Richard Morris Hunt Prize. Founded in 1990, the Richard Morris Hunt Prize awards two prizes each year to two laureates, a Fellow and a Scholar, practicing architects specializing in historic preservation. Grants are alternatively given to French and American recipients to support in-depth research travel in the two countries. During the Richard Morris Hunt Jury on December 6th, 2019, the remarkable quality of all four finalists motivated the decision to give not only the annual RMHP Fellow and Scholar awards, but also two special 30th Anniversary Grants. Their subjects were thoroughly relevant and contemporary.

The 2020 RMHP Fellow, Simon Petot-Bottin, presented a subject entitled “National Parks and Their Amenities: The Paradox of Architecture Within Parks.” Petot-Bottin will receive a grant of $20,000 to support six months of research in the United States. Barbara Lambec, 2020 RMHP Scholar, presented a subject entitled “Waste or Opportunity: Reuse as a Vector for Renewing the Economics of Materials.” Her five-week research trip to the United States will be supported by a $5,000 grant. Runners-up Bérénice Gaussuin and Pierre Gommier will each benefit from a $2,500 award for travel and research.

During their travel and study, Fellows, Scholars, and grant recipients will benefit from the support of the Richard Morris Hunt Prize, the American Institute of Architects, (AIA), and the Architects Foundation (AF) managing teams. Scholars typically engage with the foremost experts in their chosen fields, exploring unique and exemplary sites while confronting new approaches and techniques. Finally, they become part of a rich network comprised by the thirty-seven RMHP Laureates.

RMHP 2020 Laureates

The Architects Foundation’s 2019 Year in Review

This year, the Architects Foundation (AF) solidified its position as attracting, inspiring and investing in the next-generation design community. AF now runs eight different scholarship programs (attract/invest), is building out its museum programming at The Octagon through 2021 (attract/inspire), and has built a framework for a strategic planning process. Throughout 2019, the Foundation has interacted with every single AIA team in support of its initiatives.

AF welcomed 37 new scholars in 2019 with the combined help of 31 jurors, and continues to support an additional 26 scholars with multiyear awards. The Foundation congratulates Orli Hakanoglu, Vaughn Lewis and Jalen Price on graduating from their architecture degree programs.

2019 has also been a whirlwind of networking! The Architects Foundation opened The Octagon’s doors to 3,500+ people for exhibits, tours and lectures. See our latest video of The Octagon here.

AF additionally met with 30+ scholars around the country—in Chicago, Dallas, DC, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, and New York.

Finally, the Architects Foundation thanks David Melanҫon for his board service through 2019. Going into 2020, AF welcomes Kendrick Higa, AIA and Daniel Kirby, FAIA to the Foundation’s Board of Directors.