January 20, 2021
by: AIA New York
Stella Betts and David Leven of LEVENBETTS. Photo: Courtesy of LEVENBETTS.
Stella Betts and David Leven of LEVENBETTS. Photo: Courtesy of LEVENBETTS.
Pascale Sablan, FAIA, NOMA, LEED AP. Photo: Courtesy of Pascale Sablan.
Pascale Sablan, FAIA, NOMA, LEED AP. Photo: Courtesy of Pascale Sablan.
Jessica Sheridan, AIA, LEED AP BD+C. Photo: Courtesy of Jessica Sheridan.
Jessica Sheridan, AIA, LEED AP BD+C. Photo: Courtesy of Jessica Sheridan.

AIA New York is proud to announce that three of the 2020 AIA New York State (AIANYS) Honor Awards have been conferred on our local members and firms: LEVENBETTS, winner of the Firm of the Year Award; Pascale Sablane, FAIA, NOMA, LEED AP, recipient of the President’s Award; and Jessica Sheridan, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, recipient of the Matthew W. Del Gaudio Service Award. Each year, AIANYS confers Honor Awards to celebrate emerging professionals, architects, firms, and educators throughout New York State that have contributed significantly to the profession of architecture.

AIANYS Firm of the Year Award: LEVENBETTS

Established in 2005, the purpose of the Firm of the Year Award is to recognize notable achievements in design, community service, education, and service to the profession and the AIA by an architectural firm within New York State. Past recipients include LTL Architects (2019), ARO (2018), and nARCHITECTS (2017).

Stella Betts and David Leven, FAIA, have practiced architecture for 48 years combined, 22 of which as principals and partners of LEVENBETTS. Their leadership in design has garnered their firm 11 awards from AIANY and two from AIANYS. Through their leadership and mentorship, Betts and Leven are recognized as leading design voices in urban issues in architecture, civic and learning spaces, and residential architecture. Betts and Leven’s focus is collaborative, inclusive, materially- and detail-intensive, and, above all, passionate about the transformative capacity of innovative design.

LEVENBETTS’s dedication to the human experience through the relationship of architecture to its site and social context has enabled their work to challenge convention by questioning how embedded preconceptions of an architectural type may be transformed to invite new relationships. At a range of scales, the work of LEVENBETTS engages inclusive approaches to the public realm. In their residential work, the single-family house functions as a broad field of experimentation and question formal structures and basic organizations of architecture.

A commitment to the public realm, and how civic and social space can be considered at multiple scales even in private architecture, has been a hallmark the work of LEVENBETTS, which they have enacted in practice and in teaching. Betts and Leven have published academic design studies on housing in the Bronx, on the city of Albany, and on the New York City Housing Authority. Leven directed the graduate architecture program at Parsons from 2008 to 2012, during which time he led the National Architectural Accreditation Board accreditation process that enabled the program to capture a full six-year accreditation term. Betts has led studios at Yale, Columbia, Cornell, and Cooper Union, and taught and coordinated the thesis studio at Parsons before Leven’s tenure. Betts and Leven are also frequent lecturers and guests at reviews at both national and international architecture schools.

Leven received his M.Arch degree from Yale University School of Architecture in 1991 and Betts received her M.Arch degree from Harvard University Graduate School of Design in 1994. Both Betts and Leven have served as jurors on numerous award programs, including for AIA Seattle, AIA Portland, AIA St. Louis, AIA Texas, and the Fullbright Scholarship, to name a few.


President’s Award: Pascale Sablane, FAIA, NOMA, LEED AP

Established in 1984, the purpose of the AIANYS President’s Award is to recognize outstanding contributions to the profession in education, industry, or government by an AIANYS member. The President’s Award is conferred on an AIANYS member who, through outstanding efforts of professional competence in nontraditional areas of architectural practice, has demonstrated lasting influence and raised the standards of professional performance, increasing the recognition of professional competence by others. The President’s Award winner will have also demonstrated an active interest and leadership role in the professional society at the local, state, or national level. Past recipients include past AIANY presidents Carol Loewenson, FAIA (2019); and David Piscuskas, FAIA (2018).

An associate at Adjaye Associates, architect and activist Pascale Sablan, FAIA, NOMA, LEED AP, is the 315th Black woman to attain licensure in the US. She has dedicated her career to elevating issues of diversity, inclusion, and equity in the profession. Sablan is the founder and executive director of Beyond the Built Environment, an organization that advocates for an equitable built environment by highlighting diversity in design disciplines. Beyond the Built Environment’s SAY IT LOUD initiative has led to the development of numerous in-person and virtual exhibitions spotlighting the achievements of diverse design professionals. The first edition of SAY IT LOUD, focusing on NYC-based architects, was exhibited at the Center for Architecture in the spring of 2017.

Beyond serving on the Board of Directors of AIA New York, Sablan also serves as Northeast Regional Vice President and Historian of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA). She also served as president of nycobaNOMA from 2015 to 2016. Sablan is also the 2021 recipient of the AIA Whitney M. Young Jr. Award.

Sablan earned a B.Arch. from Pratt University and an M.S. in advanced architectural design from the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation. Before joining S9 Architecture in 2017, she worked at S9 ArchitectureFXCollaborative, and Aarris Architects.


Matthew W. Del Gaudio Service Award: Jessica Sheridan, AIA, LEED AP BD+C

The Matthew W. Del Gaudio Service Award was established in 1971 in honor of the late Matthew W. Del Gaudio, FAIA, one of the founders of the New York State Association of Architects and its third president from 1944 through 1947. The purpose of the award is to recognize outstanding and significant service by an AIANYS member to the profession by promoting the profession of architecture. The award is conferred on an AIANYS member who has provided distinguished service to AIANYS and demonstrated an active interest in leadership roles at AIANYS, as well as notable competence advancing the profession of architecture. Past recipients include Illya Azaroff, AIA (2018); Laurie Kerr, FAIA (2017); and F. Eric Goshow, FAIA (2015).

Jessica Sheridan, AIA, is a Principal at Mancini Duffy. Collaborating on a range of projects from innovative temporary structures to large-scale commercial developments, she thrives on building consensus among diverse stakeholders to improve the built environment. As a member of Mancini’s leadership team, she is accountable for project management in the firm and leads its resilience initiatives.

Sheridan has held a number of leadership positions at organizations, both within and outside AIA. She served as At-Large Director in the AIA Board of Directors from 2019 to 2021, as New York Regional Director for the AIA Strategic Council from 2015 to 2017, and as a member of the AIA Community Resilience Network since 2015. She was a member of the NCARB Internship Advisory Committee in 2013.

At the local level, Sheridan has been a tireless advocate of AIANY for over 15 years, when she first started writing and editing for the chapter’s eOculus newsletter. In 2010, she was awarded the AIANY Stephen A. Kliment Oculus Award for her service to the chapter’s communications. She also served as Associate Director for the AIANY Board of Directors from 2012 through 2014 and has served a member of the AIANY Design for Risk and Reconstruction and Women in Architecture committees.

Sheridan received her Bachelor of Arts in Visual Arts, Architecture, and Dance from Oberlin College in 1998. She earned an M. Arch Degree from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2003.


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