A number of notable architects and design patrons were recognized at the annual event hosted by the American Architectural Foundation.
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The American Architectural Foundation (AAF) presented its annual Accent on Architecture awards gala in Washington, D.C., on Friday, March 9. The event, hosted by foundation president and CEO Ronald Bogle and board of regents chair Sandy Diehl, brought nearly 400 people to a dinner at The Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium—a Neoclassical building on the National Mall designed by San Francisco architect Arthur Brown Jr. and completed in 1931. Throughout the evening, people and organizations that promote the virtues of design in urban planning and business ventures were honored for their contributions.
The first accolade of the night went to Philadelphia’s Mayor Michael A. Nutter, who received the Joseph P. Riley Jr. Award for his leadership in urban design. The prize was presented by the United States Conference of Mayors executive director Tom Cochran and the award’s namesake, Joseph P. Riley Jr., the 10-term mayor of Charleston, South Carolina.
Architectural Record, a media sponsor of the event, took the stage next to present the first Lifetime Achievement Awards in the 15-year history of its Good Design Is Good Business (GDGB) program, which celebrates design work that positively affects a company’s bottom line. Awards were given in two categories: architecture and design patron.
Cathleen McGuigan, Architectural Record’s editor in chief, presented the architecture award to Skidmore, Owing & Merrill, introducing the firm with a slide show of its five projects that have won GDGB Awards in prior years (HRO Group’s Arcs de Seine, Paris, 2002; Virginia Beach Convention Center, Virginia, 2006; U.S. Census Bureau Headquarters, Maryland, 2007; Poly Real Estate Group Towers, Guangzhou, China, 2008; and The Ledge, Chicago, 2011). Managing partner T.J. Gottesdiener, FAIA, accepted the award on the firm’s behalf, but encouraged all current SOM employees in attendance to stand and be recognized. He then asked all firm alums to rise, which he quipped could bring most of the room to its feet.
McGuigan went on to give the Lifetime Achievement Patron Award to contract furnishings manufacturer Haworth. She called out the company’s Perkins+Will-designed headquarters in Holland, Michigan, a 2009 GDGB winner, as a model collaboration between client and architect to create a space tailored to Haworth’s business needs and goals. Mabel Casey, the company’s vice president of global marketing, accepted the award and praised the headquarters design based on her personal experience.
For the final recognition of the evening, the AAF presented its Keystone Award. This year, the award went to Richard Fedrizzi, the U.S. Green Building Council’s founding chairman and current president and CEO. AAF’s Diehl commended Fedrizzi for being instrumental in the development of the LEED rating system and inventing a “common language” to discuss sustainable building. Bob Fox of Cook + Fox, a firm known for its ecologically attuned projects, introduced Fedrizzi, who in turn spoke with typical fervor about the relationship between architecture and sustainability.
Founded in 1943 and based in Washington, D.C., the AAF aims to foster design literacy and advocate for architecture in both the public and private spheres. Its programs range from grants and fellowships to events such as the Mayors’ Institute on City Design. Friday’s gala marked the 23rd edition of its Accent on Architecture Awards.