2017 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.

Bolstered by her innate leadership abilities, Kara Bouillette, AIA, is dedicated to advancing the profession while advocating for exposure to the arts, especially for children. While building her legacy of excellence, Bouillette has become a source of inspiration for her peers and the communities she serves.

Bouillette’s portfolio of work is a testament to her love of the arts and architecture. While an associate at Kansas City’s BNIM, she was the project architect for the firm’s expansion of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., and the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University, both of which were designed collaboratively with Steven Holl Architects. She is now a director at Hufft Projects, also in Kansas City, where her leadership skills and large-project experience are of immeasurable value to the growing firm.

The Kennedy Center recently engaged in a $175 million expansion to further fulfill the center’s mission for the arts and increase its programming. Bouillette oversaw the interior architecture for the project, which included additional classroom and rehearsal spaces, and a unique special events gallery overlooking the Potomac River. While managing a team of five, she ensured that Steven Holl’s vision endured and that the client’s essential needs were realized.

Bouillette is the product of a small rural Missouri town, where the idea of giving back to her community was instilled at an early age. In her free time she volunteers extensively with a number of Kansas City’s arts and education organizations. At the Wonderscope Children’s Museum of Kansas City, she has served as a member of the development committee, helping secure operational grants as well as funding for experiential exhibitions. Bouillette is now helping the museum—currently housed in an outdated 1950s school building—conduct a capital campaign for a new facility.

An active member of AIA Kansas City, Bouillette helped found the Chapter’s Education Outreach Committee, which introduces school-age children to design and further inspires them to explore the built environment.

In 2011 she was just one of 20 young professionals in the region invited to participate in the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce’s esteemed Centurions Leadership Program. An intense two-year program, it works to engage a diverse cross-section of local emerging leaders who are helping to shape its future. In her second year in the program, she co-chaired its legacy project, which developed a pilot edible forest and community garden at an inner-city school. Students at Hale Cook Elementary continue to plant, maintain, and harvest a wide variety of foods that they donate or sell at a local farmers market.

A vibrant and well-rounded architect, Bouillette’s foremost goal is to help others. Her dedication and passion have had a lasting impact on both the built environment and the countless young minds she’s connected with in the community.


John Sorrenti, FAIA, (Chair), JRS Architect, PC, Mineola, New York

Josh Flowers, AIA, Hnedak Bobo Group, Memphis, Tennessee

Peter Kuttner, FAIA, Cambridge Seven Associates, Inc., Cambridge, Massachusetts

Lenore M. Lucey, FAIA, LML Consulting, Washington, DC

Raymond 'Skipper' Post, FAIA, Post Architects, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Edward Vance, FAIA, EV&A Architects, Inc., Las Vegas, Nevada

Image credits

K. Bouillette, AIA

Hufft Projects


Steven Holl Architects


Steven Holl Architects