Eric Staudenmaier

On Friday, a panel of jurors awarded the 2019 Australian Institute of Architects Gold Medal to Julie Eizenberg, FAIA, and Hank Koning, FAIA, founding principles of Santa Monica, Calif.–based Koning Eizenberg Architecture. The Gold Medal, which is the institute’s highest honor, recognizes “distinguished service by architects who have designed or executed buildings of high merit, produced work of great distinction resulting in the advancement of architecture or endowed the profession of architecture in a distinguished manner,” according to a press release published on the same day.

"Throughout their careers and long before it was mainstream, Hank and Julie worked relentlessly to improve social and community outcomes through effective design," wrote juror Clare Cousins, HAIA, president of the Australian Institute of Architects, in a statement on the award. "They took on complex and difficult challenges and now have a legacy of meaningful projects that have transformed individuals’ lives and the communities around them."

University of Melbourne Student Precinct in Melbourne
Eric Staudenmaier University of Melbourne Student Precinct in Melbourne

Eizenberg and Koning founded Koning Eizenberg Architecture (KEA) in 1981 after both studying at the University of Melbourne and at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). In the almost four decades since they established the firm, Eizenberg and Koning have completed a range of award-winning projects such as the Pico Branch Library, 28th Street Apartments, and the Eleventh Street Residence. Recently, the firm completed the Geffen Academy at UCLA. KEA maintains a focus on sustainable design practices, achieving LEED status on projects as early as its Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, which was completed in 2004.

810 Ashland Apartments in Santa Monica, Calif.
Eric Staudenmaier 810 Ashland Apartments in Santa Monica, Calif.

In a statement released after the award was announced, Eizenberg and Koning said: “We want to thank the Institute, our Australian peers who were watching from afar and clients who gave us the opportunity to shape their projects. And of course big thanks to our fellow principals, Brian Lane and Nathan Bishop, collaborators and in-house team (over nearly forty years) who share in this honor."

Geffen Academy at UCLA in Los Angeles, 2018
Eric Staudenmaier Geffen Academy at UCLA in Los Angeles, 2018

Previous winners of the Australian Institute of Architects Gold Medal include Jørn Utzon, Brit Andresen, Harry Seidler, and Robin Boyd.