2008 AIA Honor Awards

It’s difficult to find a constant theme among the diverse building types, programs, and projects that make up this year’s Honor Award winners. Sustainability is there, certainly, as exemplified by Architecture Award winners that include the Platinum LEED–rated Heifer International World Headquarters, by Polk Stanley Rowland Curzon Porter Architects; the Thomas L. Wells Public School, by Baird Sampson Neuert Architects; and KieranTimberlake’s Loblolly House, much of which can be disassembled and recycled. And while we’re on the subject of the Philadelphia-based firm, the 2008 Firm Award winner, it should be mentioned that the sort of thoughtful architecture KieranTimberlake lives and breathes by (notably research-based) is what most impressed the jury this year.

— Ingrid Spencer

From a thoughtfully warm LEED Silver public school in Toronto, to an equally thoughtfully cold series of icy glass boxes that make up the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri, to the crystalline bays of the TRUTEC office building in Seoul, Korea, this year’s Honor Awards for Architecture run the gamut of building types. Despite their diversity, they all feature strategic designs specifically geared toward site and program.

A sense of transparency, an homage to the past, and a sensitivity to elegance and scale pervades this year’s Honor Awards for Interiors, as projects from a winery to a hotel to a state capitol chamber elicit surprise and awe from this year’s judges.

The University of Arkansas Community Design Center takes center stage for this year’s Regional and Urban Design Awards, winning three awards that embrace urban environment while keeping pragmatics in mind for each plan.

25 Year Award: The Atheneum

25 Year Award: The Atheneum
This Richard Meier-designed visitors’ center was designed in 1979. The structure stands out as a classic Meier design, and as an entrance structure at the threshold of the utopian town of New Harmony, Indiana, its gleaming, white, porcelain-clad exterior makes a distinctive impression.

Firm Award: KieranTimberlake Associates

Firm of the Year: KieranTimberlake Associates
The 25-year-old Philadelphia firm is at last being recognized for their culture of researching materials and mass customization techniques as well as their craft. From higher education projects for Princeton, Cornell, and Yale to the Sidwell Friends School, the nation’s first LEED-Platinum K-12 school building, KieranTimberlake’s knowledge of building technologies puts them on the architectural forefront.

Gold Medal
Gold Medal: Renzo Piano

Gold Medal: Renzo Piano
Examining the five-decade-long career of this architectural rebel to cultural establishment go-to guy reveals a remarkably fluid journey. A sure hand with spaces for art, an inclination to design buildings that are connected to the environment, and a surprising lack of repetition marks 71-year-old Renzo Piano’s body of work.