The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has named Richard Rogers winner of the 2019 Gold Medal—the organization's highest honor. Born in Florence and raised in London, Rogers attended the Architectural Association School of Architecture, then earned his M.Arch from the Yale School of Architecture. He has designed some of the world’s most recognizable projects, including the Centre Pompidou in Paris (with Renzo Piano) in the 1970s; Madrid-Barajas Airport in the late 1990s and early 2000s; and New York’s 3 World Trade Center in the 2010s.

The AIA Gold Medal is the latest honor Rogers has received during his five-decade career. The architect won the RIBA Royal Gold Medal in 1985, the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2007, and the RIBA Stirling Prize in 2006 (Richard Rogers Partnership with Estudio Lamela for the Madrid-Barajas Airport) and 2009 (Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners for Maggie’s West London Centre). In 1991, Queen Elizabeth II granted him knighthood; in 2000, the Japan Art Association named him a Praemium Architecture Laureate.

“He is the quintessential builder, committed to mastering the craft and technology of construction, harnessing it towards efficient buildings, and forging an expressive architectural language,” wrote Moshe Safdie, in support of Rogers’ nomination for the Gold Medal. “Before it was fashionable, he was an environmentalist, who recognized early in his career the challenges of energy and climate, and developing innovative solutions.”

Wrote Piano: “Richard Rogers is a friend, a companion of adventures and life,” adding that in addition to being a great architect, Rogers is “a planner attracted by the complexity of cities and the fragility of earth; a humanist curious about everything (from art to music, people, communities, and food); an inexhaustible explorer of the world. And there is one more thing he could be: a poet.”

The AIA also recognized Boston-based Payette as winner of the 2019 Firm Award. Founded in 1932, the 140-person practice, which takes building science as a central tenant, is led by a team of 10 partners.  

“The importance and contribution here of Payette is that they are today taking some of the most energy intensive and technologically challenging building types we have to new levels of design and integrated performance,” wrote Stephen Kieran, supporting Payette’s nomination. “The breadth and depth of this transformation position Payette as a model for future practice.”

The firm recently completed the Northeastern University Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex with Arup, and is currently adding a pedestrian bridge to the campus.