2020 Honorary Membership Recipient

The AIA recognizes the notable contributions and service of people outside of the architecture profession with Honorary Membership in the Institute.

A vital resource for the Boston Society of Architects (BSA) and its robust membership, Matthew Kiefer, Hon. AIA has long dedicated himself to the chapter and architectural issues in and around Boston. As a real estate development and land use attorney with a penchant for civil advocacy, Kiefer is filled with a desire to use good design for positive change.

Kiefer runs a law practice that operates where private initiative and public policy meet. He is one of the most sought-after land use attorneys in the city and is widely recognized for his keen ability to solve challenging problems while shepherding his clients through the complex public approval process.

Kiefer’s expertise and sharp mind have greatly benefited his chapter for more than 20 years. He served two terms—from 2007 to 2013—on its board of directors and was given honorary membership in 2018. During his time as a director, Kiefer chaired a governance committee that amended chapter bylaws to reflect best practices in nonprofit governance. He also clarified the role of the chapter’s design school members and refreshed its committee structure. Kiefer’s guidance was instrumental when the chapter sold its former home and acquired what is now known as the BSA Space.

For ArchitectureBoston Expo, BSA’s annual trade show, Kiefer has organized and moderated a number of panels, including the well-attended How to Get a Great Building panel that paired two of his clients to discuss best practices for design excellence. In addition, his presence on the chapter’s Civic Policy Task Force has allowed him to build partnerships between the chapter and a number of other organizations he serves.

In 1995, Kiefer received a prestigious Loeb Fellowship at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. During that year, Kiefer was immersed in architecture and urban design, which motivated him to focus his practice on issues facing the profession. Following the fellowship’s mission to use design to create social impact, Kiefer began teaching in the school’s urban planning program. In addition, he has chaired the fellowship’s alumni council grant committee and was tasked by the fellowship’s curator to steer a year-long strategic planning effort for the Loeb Impact Initiative. The program, funds for which are currently being raised, will match underserved communities with a need for architectural and design resources with Loeb alumni.


Sylvia Kwan, FAIA, Chair, DLR Group Kwan Henmi, San Francisco, California

Joan Soranno, FAIA, Hammel, Green & Abrahmson, Inc. Minneapolis, Minnesota

Melanie Ray, AIA, Hord Coplan Macht, Baltimore, Maryland

Image credits

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Matthew Kiefer

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Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

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Peter Vanderwarker