Today, the American Institute of Architects chose Ehrlich Architects as its 2015 Architecture Firm Award winner. Ehrlich Architects—a Culver City, Calif.–based practice founded in 1979 by Steven Ehrlich, FAIA—will receive the award at the 2015 AIA Convention in Atlanta, and will be immortalized in chiseled granite upon the AIA's Washington, D.C. headquarters Wall of Honor.
Ehrlich Architects began as a small studio practicing residential architecture, and has expanded to a 40-person firm with an international portfolio of projects. Led by partners Steven Ehrlich, FAIA, Mathew Chaney, AIA, Patricia Rhee, AIA, and Takashi Yanai, AIA, the firm blends an appreciation for vernacular architecture that Ehrlich developed while working in Africa with the Peace Corps with stylistic cues accumulated over the course of several early-career California Modernist renovations. These combined influences form the firm’s four guiding elements, described in its philosophy as Multicultural Modernism:
• Cross-cultural fusion
• A populist approach
• An openness to change and technical innovation
• A focus on developing quasi-public spaces as an antidote to density
“Steven and his associates create architecture that is vital and forward looking—yet at the same time rooted in a sense of place,” Boston Globe architecture critic Robert Campbell, FAIA, wrote in a letter of recommendation for the practice.
This year's jury for the Architecture Firm Award included Linna Jane Frederick, FAIA, principal of Frederick + Frederick Architects (chair); Stephen Ayers, FAIA, Architect of the Capitol; Jim Childress, FAIA, partner at Centerbrook Architects and Planners; Sho-Ping Chin, FAIA, principal with Payette; Timothy J. Dufault, AIA, president and CEO of Cuningham Group Architecture in Minneapolis; Thom Mayne, FAIA, principal of Morphosis in Culver City, Calif., and 2013 AIA Gold Medal winner; and Edward A. Shriver, FAIA, a principal of Strada Architecture in Pittsburgh.
Ehrlich Architects is the 52nd Architecture Firm Award recipient. Last year’s Architecture Firm Award was presented to Eskew+Dumez+Ripple (EDR) at the AIA Convention in Chicago; the firm received notice of the award in December 2013, shortly after the passing of founder Allen Eskew, who started the New Orleans–based firm in 1989. EDR is perhaps best known for local and environmentally sensitive projects that range in scale from parking space bioswales to hospital flood planning to riverbank redevelopment.
This is a breaking news story, and will continue to be updated.
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