2021 Edward C. Kemper Award

From 1914 to 1948, Edward C. Kemper led the AIA as executive director. Since 1950, this award has honored members who carry on his legacy of continued and significant service to the AIA.

Harnessing his steadfast leadership and influence at the local, regional, and national levels, Anthony P. Schirripa, FAIA, has been relentless in his pursuit to improve the profession. Never shy about tackling difficult issues, Schirripa has, through his many years of selfless service, demonstrated his passion for the built environment and his keen interest in advancing AIA.

“The success of any volunteer organization is dependent on the dedication, initiative, and vision of the people who dare to take charge as leaders,” wrote Mickey Jacob, FAIA, in a letter supporting Schirripa’s nomination for the Edward C. Kemper Award. “He is one of those leaders who, through his professional expertise, experience serving as an Institute leader, and desire to make a difference in everything he does, has made a significant impact on AIA, the profession, and the community.”

Drawing on his firm management expertise as a leader at Gensler and Mancini Duffy, Schirripa has radically transformed AIA New York. He held a number of important chapter leadership positions—including president in 2010—and was pivotal in laying the financial groundwork for New York’s Center for Architecture. Completed ahead of schedule and on budget, the center concept has been emulated by chapters across the country. His guidance led to a significant increase in the chapter’s surplus, healthy membership growth, and the launch of the Design Awards Luncheon, a marquee event that draws hundreds of attendees and has raised more than $1 million to support chapter operations.

Kicking off his term as AIANY president, Schirripa launched his Architect as Leader initiative, refocusing the chapter’s programs on advocacy and leadership. Bolstered by his vision, the chapter has continued to strengthen its advocacy efforts and engaged in a major initiative with the New York City Charter Revision Commission to improve the city’s development process and establish a building commission. That process resonated with then-Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith, who tapped AIANY to join his task force working on streamlining government processes.

At the national level, Schirripa served on the AIA Board of Directors as the New York regional director from 2012 to 2014 and as a director-at-large in 2016. He played a key role on the board’s Governance Task Force, which developed a new governance model and structure that responded nimbly to AIA’s repositioning efforts. He was appointed to the ArchiPAC Steering Committee and has worked tirelessly to raise funds to support architects’ voices in an increasingly difficult political landscape.

“To the millennial architects, Tony is an inspiration and an excellent model of effective leadership in our tri-level organization,” wrote Elizabeth Chu Richter, FAIA, in a letter supporting Schirripa’s nomination. “His commitment and actions speak volumes to the meaning of service to AIA. Our organization is better because of his dedication.”

Generous with his time at his former high school, Brooklyn Technical High School, Schirripa has reinforced the pipeline of future practitioners. With fellow design professionals, he developed a master plan for the historic school’s nearly century-old building, and he has sat on its Alumni Foundation Board, which funds teacher and student development programs. Schirripa encouraged the board to launch its Titans of Tech dinner, which gathers and honors prominent people in the tech and science fields. Since its launch in 2016, the program has raised nearly $2 million in much needed funds. In October 2018, the school honored Schirripa with its Vincent De Santi Distinguished Alumnus Award.

“As a former Kemper Award winner, I know the importance of recognizing someone who embodies the spirit of what Ed Kemper brought to the Institute—an engagement with the profession [and] the ability to enlighten clients and educate public officials,” Rick Bell, FAIA, wrote of Schirripa. “At the end of the day, there is no one that I know who has served The American Institute of Architects as well, as diligently, as creatively, and as importantly as Tony Schirripa.”

Jury

Britt Lindberg, AIA, Chair, Gensler, San Jose, CA

Karen Braitmayer, FAIA, Studio Pacifica, Ltd., Seattle, WA

Antoine Bryant, Assoc. AIA, NOMA, Moody Nolan, Houston, TX

Damaris Hollingsworth, AIA, NOMA, Design by Melo, Golden Valley, MN

Paul Young, City of Memphis, Memphis, TN

Image credits

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Anthony Schirripa