Edward Mazria, FAIA, has won the 2021 Gold Medal from the American Institute of Architects (AIA). The award honors an individual whose significant body of work has had a lasting influence on the theory and practice of architecture.
Mazria is being recognized for his work on sounding the alarm on climate change and motivating the profession to take action. He has built his career around motivating the profession to enact positive change and take immediate action.
“An amalgam of architect, researcher, advocate, and influencer, Mazria’s impact on the AEC industry is profound, helping to plot a new course for practice in the 21st century,” AIA said in a press release.
A native New Yorker and graduate of the Pratt Institute, Mazria received his Bachelor of Architecture degree from the school. After being selected in the 11th round of the 1962 National Basketball Association (NBA) draft, Mazria opted to serve in the Peace Corps in Peru, where he uncovered the notion that responsible architecture is the key to both social and environmental improvement. When he returned stateside to work in the office of the 2007 Gold Medal winner, Edward Larrabee Barnes, FAIA, Mazria’s outlook was further defined by his mentor’s understated and place-based approach to architecture.
Teaching opportunities and an advanced degree called Mazria to New Mexico in 1973, where the state’s natural environment influenced the future of his career. Upon completion of his master’s degree, he accepted a teaching position at the University of Oregon to focus on solar energy research. The capstone of that work was the publication of The Passive Solar Energy Book in 1979 which is still heavily referenced today. With his research complete, Mazria returned to New Mexico to test his theories in a slate of passive solar and highly contextual buildings, such as the Stockebrand Residence, the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, and Georgia O’Keefe’s estate, Sol y Sambra.
Supported by his groundbreaking portfolio designed to urge architects away from fossil fuels, Mazria helped found the AIA’s Committee on the Environment (COTE) in the 1990s. In 2002 his firm began conducting pro-bono work under the name Architecture 2030. Just a few years later, it became a fully-fledged nonprofit organization dedicated to altering the course of climate change.
Click here to learn more about Mazria’s selection as the 2021 AIA Gold Medal recipient.