2020 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.

With accredited degrees in both architecture and interior design, Stacey Crumbaker, Assoc. AIA, balances her work across two intertwined disciplines and advocates for the development of stronger bonds between practitioners. By cultivating a practice that responds to the human experience, she proves that architecture has a unique ability to foster community.

Crumbaker is an associate principal at Seattle’s Mahlum, where she is focused on work that serves the greater public rather than individuals. She has led multiple designs for the region’s public schools, and her work often ties together the poetics of design with the tectonics of construction. Her work was informed by the receipt of the Sean Murphy Travel Fellowship, which sent her to Antarctica to research how such an extreme environment can shape livable spaces. She carried the lessons learned there back to Seattle, where she breathes new life into mundane spaces to inspire and enrich the communities she serves.

“Her in-depth knowledge of educational design and planning solutions combined with an exceptional work ethic make her a leader among her colleagues,” wrote Dan Stevens, manager of capital projects for the Shoreline School District, in a letter supporting Crumbaker’s nomination for the Associates Award. “She creates beautiful environments that inspire both students and staff. As an advocate for design, her attention to detail brings an appreciation for a modern aesthetic, capturing the essence of elegance without sacrificing utility.”

Crumbaker’s path to leadership began with important roles for the Northern Pacific Chapter of the International Interior Design Association, where she fostered the organization’s advocacy programs to advance design excellence, legislation, and community outreach. She helmed the chapter as its 2015 president and immediately addressed sagging membership and morale, increasing the former by 25 percent while growing chapter profits and partnerships. With her unique perspective on practice, Crumbaker has also served on AIA’s Interior Architecture Advisory Group since 2017, and she has been instrumental in shaping the knowledge community’s long-term vision.

In Seattle, Crumbaker has pushed designers across all disciplines to test the boundaries of design. As president of the board of Design in Public (DiP), AIA Seattle’s signature strategic initiative, she has prompted community dialogue focused on the impact of design in urban life. She has successfully gathered architects, interior designers, planners, and artists to participate in a wide range of programming at the annual festival.

“At all scales and with increasing spheres of influence, Stacey is contributing to our rich and varied community of design,” wrote Meredith Everist, AIA, president of AIA Seattle, in a letter supporting Crumbaker’s nomination. “[She is] helping to transform not only the public’s understanding of how design can create equitable, resilient, and thriving communities, but also our own.”


Timothy C. Hawk, FAIA (Chair), WSA Studio, Columbus, Ohio

Lawrence Scarpa, FAIA, Brooks Scarpa, Hawthorne, California

Peter MacKeith, Assoc. AIA, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas

Oswaldo Ortega, AIA, Gensler, Chicago, Illinois

Julia Laue, AIA, Bureau of Architecture, San Francisco Public Works, San Francisco, California

Image credits

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