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June 27, 2013
by Jill Lerner FAIA
Denise Scott Brown, RIBA, Int. FRIBA, speaking at the Center for Architecture on 06.04.13.

I wanted to be sure you all heard the good news! Because of our efforts, during the 2013 AIA Convention the AIA National Board of Directors overwhelmingly approved a change in the Rules of the Board regarding eligibility criteria for the Gold Medal, the Institute’s highest award. Please see this article by Cathleen McGuigan and Laura Raskin in Architectural Record, who broke the story.

We had originally pushed for the change to be active as of this year; it will instead go into effect in January 2014. We also tried to keep the number of collaborators undefined, but negotiations limited recipients to a maximum of two individuals.

But looking past these necessary compromises, this criteria change is a big step forward for the American Institute of Architects and aligns well with its ongoing Repositioning initiative. It confirms that design and thought leadership is not the province of a single genius, and that collaboration can yield exceptional results. This will open the field for many brilliant pairs to received well-deserved recognition.

Denise Scott Brown, RIBA, Int. FRIBA, who spoke so eloquently at our lunch and went public with her thoughts on the matter, deserves special recognition. She highlighted the lack of equal recognition in an equal partnership. George Miller, FAIA, Fred Schwartz, FAIA, and all of the New York regional voters on the Board who doggedly pushed the issue and made sure it was on the agenda, also deserve special recognition. They ensured that the initiative moved forward and gathered the necessary votes for its passage. Thanks also to Harvard GSD students Arielle Assouline-Lichten and Caroline James for circulating the petition, along with Cathleen McGuigan for highlighting the issue in Architectural Record.

Jill N. Lerner, FAIA, is the 2013 AIANY President and a Principal at Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates.

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