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.
Through his mentorship, advocacy, and design acumen, Stephen Parker, AIA, has cultivated a generation of architects who are ready to serve. Parker has demonstrated that engaged design professionals can make a lasting positive impact on the profession, and his commitment to the National Design Services Act has positioned him as a champion for emerging professionals.
Parker is an architect in SmithGroupJJR’s Washington, D.C., Healthcare Studio, where he leverages design as a change agent in his projects. His work on the new south lobby for Indiana University’s Assembly Hall was the latest update to the mid-century Brutalist structure, taking its cues from Eero Saarinen’s Washington Dulles International Airport. The $40 million expansion and extensive renovation has significantly elevated the user experience. Parker collaborated on the design templates for the firm’s VA Pharmacy Design Guide, setting a high standard for nation’s largest healthcare system and the care of its veterans.
As a full-time student and architectural apprentice, Parker served on the AIA Greenville (South Carolina) executive committee and led efforts to develop a network of students, interns, and local architects. His efforts there culminated in ARCHLaMP, a leadership and mentoring program with a broad reach across upstate South Carolina. As a member of AIA South Carolina’s executive board, he brought the concerns of emerging professionals to the table, and as a recipient of scholarships from AIA Grand Strand worked to lighten student debt burden by educating his peers about AIA National’s component grant program.
From the draft that circulated through AIAS leadership to its introduction to Congress in 2014, Parker has been a relentless advocate for the National Design Services Act, which aims to reduce design professionals’ student debt in exchange for community service. He continues to be active in its refinement, shaping it to better align with the values of the profession. By co-founding the AIA’s NDSA Coalition, Parker helped create a model for future grassroots advocacy efforts and has spoken with numerous allied organizations across the country about the benefits of the bill.
Parker’s powerful voice led to his being named the Young Architect Forum’s 2017–2018 national advocacy director, a position he uses to spur his colleagues toward advocacy and to increase the presence of emerging professionals in the AIA. Eager to practice what he preaches, Parker volunteers regularly with organizations such as the DC Building Industry Association, Rebuilding Together and AEC Cares.
With an exemplary heart for service, Parker has established a solid foundation as a young leader. The profession continues to benefit from his push to improve conditions for emerging professionals and his work elevating the value of advocacy delivers a clear message to his peers.