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.

Balancing dedicated service, integrity, and mentorship with a good-natured personality, Benjamin Kasdan, AIA, has developed tremendous rapport with his colleagues, clients, and the entire profession. An advocate for emerging professionals making their way toward licensure, Kasdan has received a number of accolades for his efforts, most recently being named to the Building Design+Construction (BD+C) 40 Under 40 Class of 2015.

As director, design at KTGY Architecture+Planning’s Irvine, Calif., office, Kasdan has played a pivotal role in real estate projects throughout California, along the East Coast, and overseas for more than 10 years. Focusing on the sustainable design of multifamily, mixed-use, and infill housing development, he’s a team leader in the firm and his mantra “One team, one dream” has become a rallying call for fellow studio members.

On projects such as 2125 Franklin in Eugene, Ore., for which he was the lead designer, Kasdan harnessed his considerable design acumen to create site plans and conceptual designs while representing the overall intent among the project team, the client, and contractors. Located within minutes of the University of Oregon campus, 2125 Franklin provides convenient off-campus living for more than 700 university students. A high-density mixed-use building alongside the Willamette River, its contemporary design features clean forms and provocative colors while negotiating an irregular site. Wrapped around an existing hotel, it navigates significant vertical changes in the natural topography. The parking garage, in concert with Eugene’s plan, bears a public art installation that pays homage to the city and university.  

Eagerly embracing the role of mentor, Kasdan is the Architecture Experience Program supervisor at KTGY, where he works with a dozen emerging professionals. In addition, he chairs the firm’s Licensure Committee and recently became an NCARB licensing advisor. In 2014 he traveled to all five of the firm’s offices to assess each or their needs and resources. His tour culminated with the creation of online resources to aid in licensure, hosted on the firm’s intranet and easily accessed by all employees.

In addition to leadership positions at the local level, Kasdan is currently the 2016–17 vice president of AIA California Council’s Academy for Emerging Professionals, a volunteer leadership group that represents students, associate members, and young architects. Kasdan establishes its annual vision, manages its budget, and serves as a liaison to the Chapter’s executive committee. He led a statewide leadership summit for emerging professionals in San Francisco featuring a keynote address by Arthur Gensler, FAIA, and a preview of ARE 5.0 by Jared Zurn, AIA, NCARB’s director of examination.

With an approach marked by boundless curiosity, Kasdan continues to effect positive change while inspiring his colleagues and peers to pursue licensure.  

Jury

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

Josh Flowers, AIA, Hnedak Bobo Group, Memphis

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

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

Image credits

Benjamin Kasdan, AIA

Benjamin Kasdan, AIA

2125 Franklin

Jeff Amram Photography

The Maxwell

Sam Kittner Photographer