Last night, I was given an unusual honor. Alpha Rho Chi, a national architectural fraternity, perhaps best known for its medal of the same name given to students at every school of architecture, awarded me the title, “Master Architect” at their annual convention in Richmond, Virginia.
Since its founding in 1914, the fraternity has awarded the designation only seven times, and the list of winners is an amazing one: the first, Nathan Ricker, was a leading Midwestern architect/educator and the first person to receive a degree in architecture in the United States. He was followed by Cass Gilbert, Eliel Saarinen, John Wellborn Root, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Richard Buckminster Fuller, and most recently, I.M. Pei.
I did not seek this lifetime title, and actually don’t have to do anything tangible as a result except serve as a kind of mentor to the group: They chose me for communicating the value of design. However, it will continue to keep me and the publications in touch with a new generation of students across the country, who have adopted me, so to speak, as well as the large number of Alpha Rho Chi alumni and teachers. It was quite a happy night.