The AIA Gold Medal, the American Institute of Architects’ highest honor awarded each year since Sir Aston Webb received the first one in 1907, is given to individuals "whose work has had a lasting influence on the theory and practice of architecture." Name an iconic American architect, and they likely have received the award: Frank Llloyd Wright, Frank Gehry, FAIA, Julia Morgan, Moshe Safdie, FAIA, and this year, in a first for the Institute, the duo of Robert Venturi, FAIA, and Denise Scott Brown, Hon. FAIA.
Now, you can have a Gold Medal too. Sort of. The AIA announced that it is partnering with the U.S Mint to produce a coin with the design of the Gold Medal. In big news for coin collectors, it will also be the first coin ever produced in palladium.
Legislation passed by Congress “requires that the obverse of the coin be Adolph A. Weinman’s Winged Liberty (as seen on the Mercury Dime) and the reverse to be a version of the reverse on the AIA’s Gold Medal award, another Weinman design.” The minting will occur sometime in the next two years and the project has already gained the interest of the coin-collecting industry because of the use of palladium.
The scanning process will take place in the Mint’s Philadelphia facility. The agency is covering the cost of AIA Archivist Nancy Hadley’s trip to the facility to observe the scanning of the original 1907 plaster and the 1907 Gold Medal test strike, as well as to provide a variety of “small opportunities at the AIA Convention in Philadelphia, including a tour of the U.S. Philadelphia Mint for leadership and an interview with the Director of the Mint for AIA Architect.” The production of the coin is expected to raise awareness of AIA, the prestigious Gold Medal, and the work of those that receive the award.