Award recognizes significant contributions to the profession
For immediate release:
Washington, D.C. – December 12, 2012 – The AIA Board of Directors elected John D. Anderson, FAIA, as the 2013 recipient of the Edward C. Kemper Award in recognition of his many leadership roles within the AIA at the state and national levels, particularly in the wake of the 9/11 attacks that horrifically re-envisioned architecture and the built environment into symbolic targets of hatred and intolerance.
Named in honor of the AIA’s first executive director, the award recognizes individuals who contribute significantly to the profession of architecture through service to the Institute. Anderson will be honored at the 2013 AIA National Convention in Denver.
As then-president of the AIA, Anderson played a critical role in the Institute's response to the 9/11 attacks, working closely with the local New York chapter to determine how architects could best help a shattered and traumatized city and nation. His firm, Anderson Mason Dale Architects, has received more than 100 design awards from the AIA and other groups, and was honored as Firm of the Year by the Western Mountain Region in 1986 and by AIA Colorado in 2000.
"Through his significant contributions to the profession and the Institute, John has exemplified in every way all the attributes embodied in one deserving of this award," wrote former AIA President George Miller, FAIA, and Joseph Aliotta, AIA, in their joint nomination letter on behalf of AIA New York. "He is a person of great integrity, dignity, and humility; an exceptional leader who has devoted his lifetime to enhancing our profession through his service to the AIA, his city, and state."
After joining the Naval Air Corps toward the end of World War II, Anderson earned a Bachelor of Architecture degree at Harvard in 1949 and a Masters of Architecture from Harvard's Graduate School of Design in 1952.
Ascending to the presidency of AIA Colorado in 1971, Anderson quickly seized on what was then known as the "energy crisis," recognizing the role that architects could play in increasing the energy efficiency of the built environment. During this period, his firm designed what was then the world’s largest solar-heated building at the Westminster, Colo., campus of Front Range Community College. He served on the AIA’s Energy Committee from 1974 to 1983, becoming its chair in 1982. He played a critical part in that committee’s evolution into COTE, the AIA's highly successful Committee on the Environment.
In his beloved Denver, Anderson has been involved in several local preservation, conservation, and downtown revitalization ventures. He also has been active in promoting architectural education, serving on the board of advisors to the University of Colorado's College of Architecture and Planning, and lecturing and teaching there as well. The university awarded Anderson with an honorary doctorate in 2006.
In the 1970s, he encouraged women to become leaders in the field, and later worked with Paul Taylor, FAIA, a past president of the National Organization of Minority Architects, on a plan to make AIA's diversity programs more aggressive and effective.
"In 1975, I was the first female architect John Anderson had ever hired," recalls Denver-based architect Martha Bennett, FAIA, in her recommendation letter. "Recognizing the issues that came with working within a male‐dominated profession, he facilitated my work on the National AIA Women and Minority Task Force, and the establishment of the first Women in Architecture group in Denver. He lent his firm’s substantive name and stature within the community in changing the perception of architects as 'men only' to clients, suppliers, consultants, and contractors."
By 2001, Anderson had become the first Coloradoan to serve as the national president of the AIA. He took office believing that the biggest crisis facing the organization was a financial one. Within a week of his inauguration, in December 2000, AEC Direct, a corporation created to manage many of the Institute’s service programs, closed permanently. As AEC Direct’s major shareholder, the AIA suddenly went from having $1.5 million in reserves to bearing more than $5 million in debt. Anderson quickly embarked on a fiscal planning process that returned the AIA to financial health within three years.
Anderson had just begun to implement the financial recovery plan when the September 11 terrorist attacks abruptly shifted the organization's focus. Flying to New York as soon as he could, Anderson led the AIA’s response programs, which dominated the remainder of his presidency. Among other efforts, he started a recovery fund to assist AIA members and their families who had been affected by the attacks. He also worked with the local chapter to develop a recovery program called New York New Visions, which the AIA subsequently recognized with a Collaborative Achievement award.
Past winners of the Edward C. Kemper Award have been William Perkins, FAIA (1950), Norman Koonce, FAIA (1998), Norbert Young, FAIA (2005), Barbara Nadel, FAIA (2009), James Logan Abell, FAIA (2010) and Chester A. Widom, FAIA (2011).
About The American Institute of Architects
For over 150 years, members of the American Institute of Architects have worked with each other and their communities to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings and cityscapes. Members adhere to a code of ethics and professional conduct to ensure the highest standards in professional practice. Embracing their responsibility to serve society, AIA members engage civic and government leaders and the public in helping find needed solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world. Visit www.aia.org.