2018 Associates Award Recipient

The AIA Associates Award is given to individual Associate AIA members to recognize outstanding leaders and creative thinkers for significant contributions to their communities and the architecture profession.

Jake Banton, Assoc. AIA, has embraced two vital roles in architecture: representing the interests of communities that he serves; and designing spaces that improve the lives of those community members.

During his graduate studies at University of Kansas, where he received his M.Arch while minoring in public policy, Banton was accepted into the school’s prestigious graduate design/build studio, Studio 804. Working with 15 classmates, he was engaged in projects such as the Forum at Marvin Hall, a new lecture hall for the university’s School of Architecture & Design, and a sustainable home in Lawrence, Kansas. The latter evolved into the most sustainable structure in the program’s 20-year history and met LEED Platinum, Passive House, and Net-Zero Energy standards.

“Jake Banton is passionate and committed to the strengthening our region,” wrote Stephen Emer, AIA, president of Mackey Mitchell Architects in St. Louis, where Banton is now an intern architect. “He is constantly seeking, through the profession of architecture, to be a catalyst for change with a focus on revitalizing the St. Louis community.”

After graduation and before joining Mackey Mitchell, Banton participated in the Urban Land Institute’s Real Estate School, enhancing the volunteer and activist work in St. Louis he began as a high school student. At the firm, Banton has supported its long-standing relationship with Washington University in St. Louis as the school explores new housing, academic, and park space. His experience at ULI made him an invaluable member of the team assigned to the Central West End MetroLink station at the university’s school of medicine, on which he was involved in all aspects of the design and conditions analysis.

An active member of AIA St. Louis, Banton has worked tirelessly to engage members in public policy dialogues, and the resulting Metro Forum, which he co-chairs, seeks lasting solutions on a global level. He recently joined the chapter’s Volunteer Speakers’ Bureau and developed a presentation for high school upperclassmen and guidance counselors detailing steps on becoming an architect.

“Jake is a wonderful example of commitment to the profession and the community, always representing the chapter with energy, poise, and readiness to meet challenges,” AIA St. Louis 2017 President Steve Anton, AIA, wrote in a letter nominating Banton for the AIA Associates Award.

Throughout all of his work, Banton has demonstrated a clear and thoughtful approach coupled with enthusiasm. His passion for good design and deep ties to the community testify to his dedication to service.

Additional information


Rik Master, FAIA (Chair), USG Corporation, Woodstock, Illinois

Patrick Burke, FAIA, Columbia University, New York City

Lindsey Graff, Assoc. AIA, Ayers Saint Gross Architects, Scottsdale, Arizona

Libby Haslam, AIA, GSBS Architects, Salt Lake City

R. Steven Lewis, FAIA, TRC Energy Services, Detroit

Image credits

Jake Banton - main image

Jay Fram Photography

Jake Banton - image 1

Mackey Mitchell Architects

Jake Banton - image 2

Mackey Mitchell Architects