2010 HONORARY FELLOWSHIP
The AIA Honorary Fellowship program was developed as the international counterpart to the Fellowship program. Election to honorary fellowship not only recognizes the achievements of the foreign architect as an individual, but also elevates before the international public and the profession a model architect who has made a significant contribution to architecture and society on an international level.
An architect of esteemed character and distinguished achievements who is neither a U.S. citizen nor a resident of the United States and who does not primarily practice architecture within the domain of the Institute may be admitted to honorary fellowship.
Ian Ritchie, Hon. FAIA, is the director of Ian Ritchie Architects, Ltd., London, and co-founder of Rice Francis Ritchie (RFR) design engineers, Paris. For over thirty years, through his research and European projects Ritchie has combined aesthetic, technical, environmental, and engineering skills to produce innovations that have enriched the architecture profession.
One such major innovation, initiated by the desire to achieve and to define a ‘material transparency,’ was in the Paris project, La Villette Cité des Sciences in 1986, where structural exploitation of glass was used to enhance the perception of transparency. The stainless steel structure is composed of vertical and horizontal tubes forming 8 x 8 meter bays, with a horizontal wind bracing plane at each level. The whole structure is pinned at its base and pinned horizontally at each intermediate level to circular concrete service towers at the rear. The glass assembly is an innovative design based upon a clear toughened glass carrier panel suspending three others, restrained every two meters vertically against wind action by a unique horizontal cable system. Ritchie’s patented innovation is the glass fixing which incorporates a bearing, eliminating bending stresses within the glass sheet at its point of attachment.
Through his combined practices Ian has designed or contributed to significant architectural and engineering works throughout Europe, including the Reina Sofia Museum of Modern Art in Madrid, the Leipzig Messe Glass Hall, the Louvre Sculpture Courts and Pyramids, the Jubilee Line Extension for London Underground and International Regatta Centre in London, and The Spire in Dublin. Ian and his work have been well-recognized with more than 50 awards, including the Commander of the British Empire, the French Academie d’Architecture Grand Silver Medal for Innovation, the Commonwealth Association of Architects Award for the Advancement of Architecture, and many AIA London and RIBA design awards.
Active within both the architectural and engineering communities, Ritchie is a frequent lecturer on art, urbanism, regeneration, light, structures, glass technology and innovation, presenting in such prestigious venues as the Tate Gallery, Royal Academy of Arts, Royal Institute of British Architects, the Pompidou Centre, and the New York Center for Architecture. His sponsor for Honorary Fellowship, Lee Polisano, FAIA, RIBA, applauded Ian’s contributions to the profession by noting “I have been impressed by the power and integrity of his architecture and his insistence on sharing his profound knowledge of his art. Ian imparts his knowledge through practice and research as advisor, academic, writer, critic, and lecturer.”
Ritchie currently serves as the Royal Academy of Arts Professor of Architecture and is the former chair of its Collections and Library Committee. He is an honorary visiting professor at Liverpool University, and the emeritus Commissioner for Architecture and the Built Environment. He has also been the visiting professor of architecture at both the Moscow and Vienna Universities, and taught at the Architecture Association and University of Westminster in London.
Working in both architecture and engineering realms, Ian provides “an integrated view of architecture and its potential for artful solutions to the problems of sustainability, environmental pressure, and social and cultural harmony” states James Carpenter in his letter of recommendation.
Recent work of Ritchie includes the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) Courtyard Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon in the United Kingdom, completed in 2006. On-site work began in the summer of 2005 and construction to opening took just over 11 months. The Courtyard Theatre was designed as an extension to The Other Place – the RSC’s 150-seat studio theater. The new theater has a 1,050 seat auditorium, while the existing Other Place auditorium has been transformed into foyer spaces, cloakroom, bar areas, shop, booking office and call center, dressing rooms, and band rehearsal space. This new building has external walls built of ‘Corten A’ steel sheets creating a sound-proof auditorium to meet the RSC’s high acoustic requirements. This recyclable material was chosen for its no-maintenance surface and red color which blends with the surrounding buildings and the town. The interior of the walls is golden ply, and the red auditorium seating ‘floats’ inside this box. The thrust-stage auditorium design is based on an original concept by the RSC.
Renzo Piano, Hon. FAIA, the 2008 AIA Gold Medalist, lauded Ritchie as “one of those architects that has been able to understand the subtle connections between the art of construction, the social role, and the sense of beauty in architecture” defining his contribution as “a complex and multifaceted vision of architecture.”
Henry Alexander Jr., FAIA
Jeffrey A. Huberman, FAIA
Allan W. Kehrt, FAIA
Michael Lischer, FAIA
Paula J. Loomis, FAIA
Robert Loversidge, FAIA
Gregory S. Palermo, FAIA
Jim W. Sealy, FAIA