2012 Awards Press Release


Each year ACSA honors architectural educators for exemplary work in areas such as building design, community collaborations, scholarship, and service. The award-winning professors inspire and challenge students, contribute to the profession’s knowledge base, and extend their work beyond the borders of academy into practice and the public sector. 

Please join us at the ACSA 100th Annual Meeting in Boston, March 1-4, 2012 where ACSA will hold an Awards Plenary Lunch: Design & Project Awards Ceremony on Friday, March 2 and an Award Plenary Breakfast: Topaz & Career Awards Ceremony, on Saturday, March 3. ACSA will publish a 2011-2012 Architecture Education Awards Book, to be out in March 2012. View past winners and summary books online


2012 AIA/ACSA Topaz Medallion

The AIA/ACSA Topaz Medallion for Excellence in Architectural Education is awarded jointly by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) to an individual, who must be living at the time of nomination, who has spent at least a decade primarily involved in architectural education, and whose primary contribution to architectural education has been on the North American continent.


 George Baird, Intl. Assoc. AIA image courtesy of Andre Beneteau

  • George Baird 

    Baird is often credited with having helped a new generation of architects find a place at the intersection of architectural form and urban function. He did this by engaging disciplines beyond architecture and fearlessly exploring the political implications of city-making to articulate architects’ social responsibilities. Baird’s deep influence is evident in cities such as Toronto and Vancouver, but also through his prolific writing career and the many students inspired by his example who have gone on to teach and practice.    + Learn More



2011-12 Distinguished Professor Award

To recognize sustained creative achievement in the advancement of architectural education through teaching, design, scholarship, research, or service.

  • Donald Corner, University of Oregon

    Juror Comments: Donald has established himself as an inspiring educator and practitioner that consistently translates his own passion and intensity into actualized opportunities for his students.  His directed lessons elevate building technology beyond energy-efficiency and high-performance metrics towards a deployable architectural vocabulary. The range of experiments both real and imagined has consistently promotes the profession at-large.

  • Mahesh Daas, Ball State University

    Juror Comments: Mahesh has had a significant record of academic leadership in interdisciplinary research at the University of Texas San Antonio and Ball State University.  He also served as President of ACADIA, revitalizing the organization and expanding its role and influence as well as that of digital aided design in architectural education. 

  • Marleen Kay Davis, University of Tennessee-Knoxville

    Juror Comments: Marleen demonstrates profound influence as academic leader, administrator, and faculty member. Her effort has been sustained over the years and continues to have significant and demonstrated impact on the ACSA community at- large.

  • Juan Miro, University of Texas at Austin

    Juror Comments: Juan’s work both academic and professional is grounded with and increasingly dynamic sense of place that has both national and international appeal. His design excellence, evident in his many award-winning projects, successfully bridges between practice and the classroom providing a synergistic framework for both his students and his colleagues.

  • Jeffrey Karl Ochsner, University of Washington
    Juror Comments: Jeffrey’s scholarly achievement is one that has both historical significance and regional impact. While his teaching successfully negotiates between history and the design studio, his often-cited research on HH Richardson is one of the seminal texts on Richardson’s breadth of work and his focused research on Seattle architecture has helped bring national attention to the region.    

2011-12 ACSA/AIAS New Faculty Teaching Award

To recognize demonstrated excellence in teaching performance during the formative years of an architectural teaching career.

  • Jeffrey Erwin Huber, University of Arkansas

    Juror Comments: Jeffrey leads students through the difficult work of large-scale, community-driven projects while still retaining a high degree of architectural quality; with a scale and client relationship that often overwhelms the design intentions of many established architects, much less students, it is an admirable undertaking handled exceptionally well.

  • Matthew W Johnson, University of Houston

    Juror Comments: Matthew's teaching spans the range from theory to design, while probing for the productive relation between the two in examination of issues of contemporary concern; such as the relations between urban, environmental, and architectural scales of operation.

  • Eric Thomas Nulman, University of Southern California

    Juror Comments: Eric’s work foregrounds the as yet unanswered question of what the aesthetic embodiment could be for the field’s growing interest in sustainability. He does this by offering studio courses that explore the affective potentials for design in a range of materials (from the artificial to the natural).


2011-12 Creative Achievement Award

To recognize a specific creative achievement in teaching, design, scholarship, research, or service that advances architectural education. (See select images of the winners by clicking on the project titles)

  • Lessons of the Lawn
    Peter Waldman, University of Virginia

    Juror Comments: The ‘Lessons from the Lawn’ submission explores an experiential threshold through translation – from context to content – which in turn formulates a catalytic common ground that is both significant and sustained in terms of impact student learning outcomes. Rather than succumbing to the inescapable and immersive nature of the course’s historical context, this submission successfully demonstrates how knowledge can be directly transferred through an undeniable and operable integrated learning experience. 

  • Emerging Materials Technologies
    Álvaro Malo, University of Arizona
    Jason oliver Vollen, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
    Dale Clifford, Carnegie Mellon University
    Juror Comments: This submission situates emergent materials analysis, testing, and building integration within the realm of creative design thinking. Within this context, faculty and students elevate performance based-design as a sustainable vocabulary, not only as a formal ordering system that demonstrates applied materiality, but also, how those flows could ultimately become integrated products with embedded material intelligence. The range of scales from simulation to fabrication is particularly noteworthy when viewed through the lens of creative innovation and invention.
  • Structures in the Studio
    Catherine Wetzel, Illinois Institute of Technology
    Paul Endres, Illinois Institute of Technology
    Rick Nelson, Illinois Institute of Technology
    Juror Comments: This synergistic and participatory 5-year study demonstrates an emerging collaborative context where architectural education converges with structural design. With 118 students involved in 23 projects of varying scale, this course demonstrates the durability and sustained impact of an engaged curriculum. The course investigates forces and flows not only through lectures, but also through a combination of workshops and both hand and digitally fabricated scaled and full-scale models. The range of exploration articulated by the faculty dynamically links practice to the academy, not merely as digital simulation, but also as an expressive three-dimensional textbook of applied knowledge.  This course can be emulated as an in-depth and comprehensive introduction to structures in architecture.

2011-12 Faculty Design Award

To provide a venue for work that advances the reflective nature of practice and teaching by recognizing and encouraging outstanding work in architecture and related environmental design fields as a critical endeavor. (See select images of the winners by clicking on the project titles)

  • Martin Despang, University of Arizona
    Juror Comments: This project is simultaneously durable and timeless. It successfully translates the traditional suburban big box into an infrastructural hypostyle hall that actively engages material performance and assembly as operative conditions that negotiate between construction standardization and site specificity.

  • The Stratus Project
    Kathy Velikov, University of Michigan
    Geoffrey Thun, University of Michigan
    Juror Comments: Using analytical tools to validate its proposed design strategies, this design research based installation successfully develops a conceptual framework capable of negotiating between prototypical studies and real-world applications. This exemplary project captures the native kinetic aspects of a speculative yet responsive architecture. The project demonstrates sustained excellence and if the team maintains its current trajectory will ultimately inform a fully-integrated and adaptable environment.

  • Next North: Architecture in Shifting Terrain
    Lola Sheppard, University of Waterloo
    Mason White, University of Toronto
    Neeraj Bhatia, Rice University
    Maya Przybylski, University of Waterloo
    Juror Comments: This activated multimedia research project results in an immersive installation that oscillates between design research as speculative building and design research as informed graphic presentation. Operating at a variety of scales and platforms for research in both 2- and 3-dimensions, this multi-faceted project is presented as a sequence of shifting boundaries from local to global and from installation to inhabitation. Couched as spheres of ecological drift, the installation and its exhibited projects challenge the very nature of the necessity of static architectural approaches while exploring the ever-shifting terrains of Canada’s northern territory.

  • Ice Cycle House
    Matt Burgermaster, New Jersey Institute of Technology
    Juror Comments: This project takes an everyday occurrence, such as the thawing and freezing of roof drain water and elevates it through an artistic and performative design response. The underlying thermodynamic research is used as a synthetic departure point to generate an informed and innovative architecture.

Faculty Design Honorable Mention


  • L Residence
    E. B. Min, California College of the Arts
    Jeffrey L. Day, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

  • Digital Steam Bending
    Steven Y. Mankouche, University of Michigan
    Tsz Yan Ng, University of Michigan
    Matthew Schulte, University of Michigan
    Josh Bard, University of Michigan

2011-12 Collaborative Practice Award

To honor the best practices in school-based community outreach programs. (See select images of the winners by clicking on the project titles)

  • Low Impact Development: A Design Manual for Urban Areas
    Stephen D. Luoni, University of Arkansas
    Jeffrey Erwin Huber, University of Arkansas
    Juror Comments: This community-based research is a manual for living, a project that has the capacity to link sustainable approaches to development in a manner that is both accessible and resilient. From insight to implementation, this cross-disciplinary approach to environmental design education presents public policy as a mechanism for design. 
  • AIN NSISSA PROJECT Developing a New Model of Desert Ecotourism & Nature Reserve for Morocco
    Aziza Chaouni, University of Toronto
    Nina-Marie Lister, Ryerson University
    Chris Johnson, The Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature
    Juror Comments: This applied research project presents a low-impact solution to eco-tourism and demonstrates how issues related to nomadic placelessness could inform site-specific solutions that could impact regional and national sites throughout Morocco. This collaborative project has its roots in cultural, social, economic, and environmental forces and is successful in translating basic human needs into an architectural vocabulary using a variety of techniques at an array of scales.
  • Global Collaborative Practices
    Michael Zaretsky, University of Cincinnati
    Juror Comments: This is an exemplary university-led, applied-research and engagement-driven project is rooted in the community – for the community. This balanced effort involved a sustained faculty commitment with practitioners, students, and community leaders and constituents to address the underserved needs of the community. The final outcome of their effort not only solves one of those needs, but also results in a compelling architectural project. The lasting impact of this project is its integrative framework that will continue to serve as model for future collaborations and the direct transfer of knowledge to members of the community.

2011-12 ACSA/AIA Housing Design Education Award

The ACSA/AIA Housing Design Education Award is granted jointly by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) and the American Institute of Architects (AIA) to recognize the importance of good education in housing design to produce architects ready for practice in a wide range of areas and able to be capable leaders and contributors to their communities. (See select images of the winners by clicking on the project titles)

  • Housing Urbanism: 5 Proposals for Chicago
    Clare L Lyster, University of Illinois at Chicago
    Judith De Jong, University of Illinois at Chicago
    McLain Clutter, University of Michigan
    Juror Comments: While this entry focused mostly finished designs, the presentation was compelling and the drawings were excellent.  We appreciate the focus on high levels of residential density in various parts of the urban core; and having 5 different scenarios of location of that density, for the most part along water routes.

  • ReVAMP: Residential Vacancy Adjacency Modification Program
    John E. Folan, Carnegie Mellon University
    Juror Comments: This project demonstrates much careful and comprehensive analyses and "dissection" – even using BIM for analyses is smart. By focusing on infill in a way that is integrative to the existing physical/social/environmental infrastructure, the project demonstrates practice of sustainable architecture and development. This clear submission dealt with complex issues, had solid goals, and did a fantastic job in presenting the information. It was evident from the submission on how the course provided a range learning opportunities, including connecting with local organizations relevant to housing production. 

  • Future Social
    Matthew Soules, University of British Columbia
    Juror Comments: This submission was well thought through in nearly all aspects. It was also clear that this work engaged students and the community.  This submission's use of a competition design format, and connection to the community through events and a book project, were compelling enough to demonstrate innovation in housing education.

2011-12 JAE Best Article Award

These awards are selected as the Journal of Architecture Education (JAE) Best Articles from the all those submitted to the journal in the award year. The JAE has for more than 59 years represented the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture as the flagship publication of this important architectural organization. (See select images of the winners by clicking on the project titles)



Scholarship of Design
Design as Scholarship

2011-12 Diversity Achievement Award

Certificate of Recognition: To recognize the work of faculty, administrators, or students in creating effective methods and models to achieve greater diversity in curricula, school personnel, and student bodies, specifically to incorporate the participation and contributions of historically underrepresented groups or contexts.

  • The committee chose not to bestow an award this year.


2011-12 Award Jurors

AIA/ACSA Topaz Medallion for Excellence in Architecture Education Award Jury
Edward A. Vance, EV&A Architects, Inc. (AIA)
Glen S. LeRoy, Lawrence Technological University (AIA)
Preston Scott Cohen, Harvard University (ACSA)
Dana Cuff, University of California, Los Angeles (ACSA)
Nick Mancusi, American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS)

Distinguished Professor Award Jury
Gregory Luhan, University of Kentucky / ACSA East Central Director
Judith Sheine, California State Poly. University, Pomona
Peter Waldman, University of Virginia

ACSA/AIAS New Faculty Teaching Award Jury
John McMorrough, University of Michigan (ACSA)
Lisa Iwamoto, University of California, Berkeley (ACSA)
Miyuki Tsujimura, University of North Carolina, Charlotte (AIAS)
Chad DeSisto, University of Massachusetts, Amherst (AIAS)

Faculty Design Award Jury
Mo Zell, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Nader Tehrani, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Gregory Luhan, University of Kentucky / ACSA East Central Director
Tom Buresh, University of California, Berkeley 

ACSA/AIA Housing Design Education Jury
Margaret Griffin, University of Southern California (ACSA & AIA)
Alex Salazar, Salazar Architects Studio, Inc. (AIA)
Sherry Ahrentzen, University of Florida (ACSA & AIA)

Collaborative Practice, Diversity Achievement, Creative Achievement, and JAE Best Article Awards Jury
Gregory Luhan, University of Kentucky / ACSA East Central Director
Patricia Kucker, University of Cincinnati / ACSA Secretary
Laura Meador, American Institute of Architecture Students / ACSA Student Director
Daniel Friedman, University of Washington / ACSA Past-president
Nicholas de Monchaux, University of California, Berkeley
JAE Editorial Board (JAE Best Article Awards)


+ Learn More about the winners in the 2011-12 Awards Book and Archives Page
+ View More images of the 2012 Architecture Education Awards Ceremony (Flickr: ACSA-ARCH)

Original "Call for Nominations & Submissions" - 2011-2012 ACSA Awards Program