The American Institute of Architects, California Council, Announces 3 Recipients

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SACRAMENTO, Calif..—Feb. 23, 2015—The practice of architecture can sometimes be about creating a legacy—either in portfolio or firm culture or contribution to society within other categories. And often these attributes are coupled with really strong, intuitive and smart design. The AIACC Council Awards Program celebrates these attributes with the Council Awards Program. This year’s recipients were announced at the Feb. 20 Board of Directors meeting in Los Angeles.

Firm Award:
Los Angeles-based firm, Gruen Associates, is the 2015 Firm Award Recipient. The jury noted Gruen Associates as having a strong legacy and impact on the value of design with generations of leadership. After the presentation given to the board by Gruen, one board member said, “Their retention of staff speaks well for their value of employees as people.” Gruen has a strong voice in not only the design world, but within the profession with core philosophies of supporting and mentoring those new to the architecture profession. They have a consistent quality in their work and have been home to architects such as 2005 Pritzker Architecture Prize laureate, Thom Mayne, and the first licensed African-American female architect, Norma Sklarek.

Distinguished Practice Award:
Krista Becker, FAIA, Principal at Moore Ruble Yudell Architects & Planners was selected to receive the Distinguished Practice Award. This award recognizes significant contributions and accomplishments toward a specific building type or practice area. Her contribution in embassy design is second to none. Becker has devoted her career to embassy design. “This is a specialty that has not been recognized,” one juror commented. She lectures, she speaks, she leads and she advances the profession. “I’m impressed with her initiative and ability to become part of the conversations and proffer different ways to approach solutions to various problems,” said another juror. Becker is also a guest lecturer at the University of Southern California and at the University of California, Los Angeles, Professional Practice in Architecture and Construction Management programs,

Lifetime Achievement Award:
Lawrence Scarpa, FAIA, Principal of Brooks + Scarpa, received this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award for not only advancement of the profession but his lasting impact on society as a whole. “The multiplying effect of Scarpa’s influence is obvious and extraordinary,” one juror said. Another added, “He is a strong candidate who has embraced sustainability and moved the profession forward showing that exceptional and sustainable design do not need to be different.

For more information, contact Shannon Calder, at 916.642.1718, or


The AIACC represents the interests of more than 11,000 architects and allied professionals in California. Founded in 1944, The AIACC’s mission supports architects in their endeavors to improve the quality of life for all Californians by creating more livable communities, sustainable designs and quality work environments. Today, The AIACC is the largest component of the national AIA organization. For more information, visit


Shannon Calder

Shannon Calder, a Sacramento-based writer, joined the AIACC in 2013. She is the author of, “Jack and Abigail Make a Compass,” a novel about people, birds, and orchids. She spends her days both on and off hours, looking for connection, which is a good hobby to have when linking the value of design to public perception.

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