2011 Recipient | AIA Young Architects Award

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Sanford Garner, AIA

Sanford Garner, AIA | Notes of Interest

Through his role as founding partner at A2SO4, Sanford Garner, AIA, has focused on historic preservation, master planning, project assessment, and urban design. His experience and interests in these areas were developed through his studies, as well as through his work with the DC Preservation League and the Historic American Building Survey / Historic American Engineering Survey. In addition to his award-winning professional practice, Garner has maintained a strong commitment to community service and development through his involvement with local and regional advisory councils and boards.

Following his undergraduate studies, Garner joined Woollen, Molzan & Partners and then later took a job as an Architectural Reviewer for the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission (IHPC). In that position, he gained a tremendous amount of experience developing preservation plans, comprehensive plans, conservation plans, Urban Design, and helping to oversee the redevelopment of the locally designated historic districts in Indianapolis. In 2000, Garner started Rottmann Garner Architects.

In March of 2001, Garner co-founded the then-four-person firm, A2SO4 Architecture, after winning a commission to design a new clinic/research center and parking garage for the Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion Country. Nine years later in 2010, A2SO4 had grown into an International firm of 23 professionals. As a firm, A2SO4 actively encourages and supports its staff in philanthropy endeavors.


Fall Creek Place, a project of Garner's throughout his time at IHPC, Rottmann Garner, and A2SO4, remains his favorite project because of its tremendous impact to the people and city of Indianapolis. A public-private partnership, Fall Creek Place covers a 26-block area and includes what were originally 292 developable lots. Over a seven-year period, 243 single-family homes and 87 townhomes were built and 46 houses were rehabilitated. About half of the houses sold are considered 'affordable' housing and the other half were sold at market rate. It is currently in its fifth phase of construction and has received many accolades.

Garner himself has personally earned a multitude of awards and recognition for his talents, among them his inclusion on two "40 Under 40" lists.

Sanford Garner, AIA

During his 15-year tenure, Sanford has been involved in various project types, but his passion has always remained rooted in Urban Design and Preservation. His strong commitment to community service and community development keeps him active with several civic boards and affiliations such as AIA Indianapolis, where he served as 2009 President; the Citizens Health Center, where he served as Chairman of the Board for two years; the Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana; the National Organization of Minority Architects, where he is the President of the 2010-2011 National Board; and the Focus on Core Urban Strategies Committee (F.O.C.U.S.).

Garner is well-loved for his commitment and leadership during his tenure as AIA Indianapolis President. He led important efforts in this position, including the AIA Indianapolis SDAT (Sustainable Design Assistance Team). Garner was instrumental throughout the process but, in particular, he focused on making sure the local community as a whole had a voice and was involved. He also made sure that the importance of the SDAT was communicated directly with key local government policymakers.

On top of all of these commitments and his consistent production of award-winning designs, Garner is known for building authentic relationships and spreading his enthusiasm and thoughtfulness through example.


  • Photo Credit: © A2SO4; ©Bob Wilch

Sanford Garner, AIA, NOMA, LEED AP ND

Sanford Garner, AIA

Jury Comments

It is easy to see Sanford's dedication to design, to the architecture profession, to both AIA Indiana and AIA Indianapolis, and to his community.

Sanford's work on Fall Creek Place in Indianapolis helped to transform a crime-ridden part of a city into a mixed-income neighborhood of hope and prosperity. It is clear he cared deeply and personally about this project, as he created a new vision, enlisted community support, obtained financing, and brought new life to this troubled neighborhood.

Garner is an incredibly motivated individual who shares his gifts, talents, and expertise with others.

2011 AIA Young Architects Award Jury

  • 2010 Chancellor:
  • Edward J. Kodet, Jr., FAIA
  • Kodet Architectural Group, Ltd.
  • Minneapolis
  • 2010 Vice Chancellor:
  • Chester A. Widom, FAIA
  • WWCOT Architecture & Interiors
  • Santa Monica, Calif.
  • 2010 Bursar:
  • Norman L. Koonce, FAIA
  • McLean, Va.
  • Secretary:
  • Ronald L. Skaggs, FAIA, FACHA
  • HKS, Inc.
  • Dallas
  • 2011 Incoming Bursar:
  • William J. Stanley, FAIA
  • Stanley Love-Stanley, PC
  • Atlanta

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