Today, R. Steven Lewis, AIA, associate vice president, for global engineering firm TRC's Los Angeles office, was named the recipient of the 2016 Whitney M. Young Jr. Award. This distinction, named after the esteemed head of the National Urban League during the Civil Rights Movement, was established in 1972 and is presented to architects or firms that actively contribute to social change through their realized work.
Lewis is the newest addition to the growing list of organizations and architects recognized for their architectural work aimed towards bettering communities in need. Lewis’s 30-year career has led to many accomplishments in his field. He graduated from Syracuse University's School of Architecture in 1979, and completed the Harvard University Graduate School Design Loeb Fellowship Program in 2007. In 1984, he cofounded RAW Architecture (now RAW International) in Los Angeles, and from 2009 to 2010, he served as president of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA), an organization that aims to tackle racial issues within the architectural profession. Lewis is also president of the architecture consulting firm Thinking Leadership in Altadena, Calif., and was editor of NOMA Magazine from 2006-2012.
“Receiving this cherished award affirms the value in all I have done throughout my career to ensure that the architectural legacy of our time will include contributions from all segments of our society," Stevens said in an email, when asked about his recent win.
Last year's winner, Auburn University's Rural Studio, was honored for their work on sustainable and affordable design in their hometown of Hale County—an underserved area of western Alabama. Rural Studio was founded in 1993 by architects Dennis "D.K." Ruth, and Samuel Mockbee, FAIA, with the aim of giving architecture students hands-on learning experience while also benefiting the surrounding community with their work. Other past recipients include Ivenue Love-Stanley, FAIA (2014), and Harvey B. Gantt, FAIA (2013).
This year’s jury comprised of Drew White, FAIA, founding partner of Axis Architecture & Interiors, in Indianapolis; Daniel Feil, FAIA, executive architect of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission, in Washington, D.C.; Rick Bell, FAIA, executive director of the City of New York's Department of Design and Construction, in New York; Jennifer Penner, Assoc. AIA, in Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Sarah Dirsa, AIA, project manager at KG&D Architects, in Mt. Kisco, N.Y.
Read ARCHITECT’s complete coverage of the 2016 AIA Honor Awards.
Correction: This story initially reported that Lewis is the current editor of NOMA Magazine, but he is a former editor. The story was also updated to reflect Lewis' current role as associate vice president for TRC.
This story has been updated.