2017 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.

Finding inspiration not only in design but in the forces that shape it, Michael Friebele, Assoc. AIA, has generously contributed to his local chapter and the architectural community through his journalistic voice and eager embrace of social media.

As a senior associate at FTA Design Studio in Dallas, Friebele has built an award-winning portfolio of work that features projects of all scales and diverse forms of context. Last year his work on Jiefangbei Tower in Chongqing, China, received a design award from AIA Dallas, and his current projects include new corporate headquarters in Dallas and a parametric pedestrian bridge that services Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium. With a design ethic informed by his advocacy both in and out of the studio, Friebele enjoys his role as a mentor and was named a member of his firm’s design advocacy group. Additionally, he has played an instrumental role in CallisonRTKL’s academic mentorship and scholarship programs.

In his community, Friebele has been a design consultant for the Dallas Festival of Ideas, where he partnered with Make Art with Purpose to develop a mobile cultural center for communities seeking cultural connections. He is active with Life in Deep Ellum, a community center focused on cultural, community, and economic vitality.

An active member of AIA Dallas, Friebele sat on the chapter’s Design Awards Committee for four years before becoming just the second associate member to serve as its chair in the program’s 50-year history. He has played a pivotal role in redefining the chapter’s Unbuilt Design Awards, which harness community and design through gallery exhibitions and interactive events in culturally rich Dallas neighborhoods.

A strong writer, Friebele has channeled his passion for journalism and design dialogue into AIA Dallas’ Columns Magazine. Originally contributing to the publication’s In Context section, which focuses on overlooked projects, his work quickly evolved into feature pieces on preservation in the city and interviews with visiting lecturers. When his work caught the attention of the editors of Texas Architect, he quickly became a regular contributor to that magazine, too, as well as to The Architect’s Newspaper. Not content writing exclusively for print publications, Friebele became active with social media outlets and has helped elevate the role of the AIA and architects by encouraging fellow design professionals to share their day-to-day designs and participate in campaigns such as #ilookup and #archilovers.

Fully engaged with the subjects he pursues in both design and journalism, Friebele’s breadth of vision is evident in every article and project he completes.


Illya Azaroff, AIA, (Chair), +LAB architectsBrooklyn, New York

Hans Butzer, AIA, Butzer Architects and Urbanism, Oklahoma City

Damian Farrell, FAIA, Damian Farrell Design Group, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Jared Edgar Mcknight, Assoc. AIA, Wallace Roberts & Todd, LLC, Philadelphia

Lynn M. Perkins, AIA, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Seattle

Image credits

Michael Friebele, Assoc. AIA

Michael Friebele, Assoc. AIA

2016 Design Awards Committee

Michael Friebele, Assoc. AIA

2015 Design Conference