Today, the American Institute of Architects and the Association of the Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) named Robert A.M. Stern, FAIA, as the 2017 winner of the AIA Topaz Medallion for Excellence in Architecture Education, the highest honor given to educators in architecture. The AIA has been granting individuals this award since 1976 for their dedication to education and influence over students of architecture.
“He loves the debate, the conversation,” says architect Deborah Berke, FAIA, who succeeded Stern as dean of the Yale School of Architecture this summer. "He wants to hear arguments and discussions.”
Stern has expressed his dedication to the advancement of architecture education and architectural innovation through his projects, teaching, and writing. After receiving an M.Arch. from Yale University in 1965, he co-founded Stern & Hagmann in 1969. He then returned to Columbia University as a professor of architecture and director of the Historic Preservation Program at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, where he lectured for more than 20 years while also managing major projects and holding various titles. His next firm, Robert A.M. Stern Architects (RAMSA) was founded in 1977. At RAMSA, Stern personally supervises the design of each project that the firm develops. The 300-person office functions as a teaching institution, producing both experienced alumni and eager-to-learn apprentices.
Since the birth of RAMSA, the terms New Urbanism and New Classical Architecture have been coined, and both describe styles in which Stern has always been fluent. RAMSA’s postmodern reputation for blending tradition with modernity has circulated around the world, and the firm's success has made it one of the biggest in the world. In 1984, Stern received the AIA New York Chapter’s Medal of Honor and the Chapter’s President’s Award in 2001.
As an academic writer, he has published several books and papers, including New Directions in American Architecture (Braziller, 1969), Modern Classicism (Rizzoli, 1988), and his most recent, Pedagogy and Place: 100 Years of Architecture Education at Yale (Yale University Press, 2016).
The 2017 Topaz Medallion jury: Stephen Vogel, FAIA, University of Detroit; Mercy Geraldine Forbes Isais, Associate AIA, University of New Mexico; Sharon Johnston, FAIA, Johnston Marklee & Associates; Chere R. LeClair, AIA, LeClair Architects; Sarah Wahlgren, AIAS, American Institute of Architecture Students.
Read ARCHITECT’s coverage of the 2017 AIA Honor Awards.
A correction has been made to the jury list.