2018 Young Architects Award Recipient
Emerging talent deserves recognition. The AIA Young Architects Award honors individuals who have demonstrated exceptional leadership and made significant contributions to the architecture profession early in their careers.
Operating at the intersection of creativity and analytics, the methods of Anthony Viola, AIA, have garnered much attention throughout the profession. By leveraging parametric computational tools to push the boundaries of integrated performance-based design, Viola has enriched the architectural community and the world through his technological innovations.
A senior designer and team leader at Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture in Chicago, Viola seeks new ways to realize projects by marrying low-tech methods, such as physical models, with high-tech processes. In 2009 he led the design team for the 125-level Wuhan Greenland Center in Wuhan, China, currently under construction. Viola’s tools were critical in evaluating the formal design of the tower as well as its wind performance and structural optimization. His processes determined the building’s aerodynamic features—including its distinct taper—and called for a number of wind relief notches that increase its structural efficiency.
Viola was a key member for several projects the firm designed for EXPO 2017 Astana, the international exposition in Astana, Kazakhstan. For the exposition’s centerpiece, the Kazakhstan Pavilion + Science Museum that fully embraced the overall theme of Future Energy, Viola led the project by examining whether or not buildings themselves could contribute to passive strategies before the application of renewable systems to generate energy. He resolved this question by developing advanced simulations of the building’s interior and exterior environments using the programming languages Rhino and Grasshopper, resulting in an improved vision of the museum for the client and related consultants. He was featured on the National Geographic Channel program Megastructures: Astana, City of the Future discussing the museum and the role integrated parametric modeling played in its design.
Eager to share his knowledge, Viola has been active with AIA Chicago and the chapter’s Design Knowledge Community, which he has co-chaired. For several years he organized discussions with leading designers and their multidisciplinary teams practicing in Chicago. The success of these talks spurred Viola to create the Chicago Computation Group in 2014, of which he shifted the focus from architectural design to include practitioners of data science, artificial intelligence, and advanced building simulation. At his firm, Viola instituted a series of “hackathons” in 2012 to accelerate its research and development efforts. Since then, the quarterly series has become a vibrant program that supports his colleagues in their technological pursuits.
Viola’s process leads to forward-thinking projects that challenge the notions of architecture. As a member of design’s vanguard, he is proving that creating new knowledge and harnessing it to advance practice are integral for the future of the profession.