2021 Young Architect Award
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.
In just a few years of practice, Matt Toddy, AIA, has already positively influenced the national dialogue surrounding innovation in practice. A champion for young architects and an eager mentor for the next generation of design professionals, Toddy continually elevates the profession at all levels.
Toddy is an architect and shareholder at the Columbus-based Design Collective in Ohio where he has nurtured an integrated studio environment that puts process and culture at the forefront. His energy and strategic thinking have greatly benefitted the firm since he joined it in 2016, and the multifamily, retail, and shell architecture markets he has established have led to growth of nearly 40 percent.
"Balancing dedicated service, creative innovation, and mentorship with a good-natured personality...he engages communities to empower mentorship and inspire innovation."
As project manager and project architect, Toddy was key in the revitalization of the Huntington Center, a 37-story tower in Columbus originally designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill in the early 1980s. Toddy collaborated with Chicago’s Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture on the project, which required many interventions across a wide range of scales and careful consideration of the 3,000 people who occupy the building daily. He designed a bespoke green wall for the building’s lobby. With nearly 3,000 plants occupying the two-story installation, it was the largest green wall in North America at the time of its completion.
Outside of his firm, Toddy has been heavily involved in the Young Architects Forum. As the young architect regional director for the Ohio Valley Region, he developed and curated the region’s first Practice Innovation Lab, which was highlighted in a keynote presentation at the 2019 Ohio Valley Region Convention. Toddy is now the forum’s first-ever strategic vision director. As a critical member of the forum’s Advisory Committee, he champions young architects and their role in injecting innovation into the practice of architecture. He kickstarted his tenure in the role by developing a new agenda that ties practice innovation into the forum’s core values of leadership, fellowship, and mentorship. His strategies prioritize opportunities for new ideas that disrupt tradition, creating a toolkit to be distributed across AIA chapters, and developing compelling programming for regional and national conferences.
“As the young architect regional director, Matt rebuilt the regional emerging professionals (EPs) communication network. His hard work has paid off, helping EPs across the tri‐state area realize they actually can make a difference and prosper in their own careers by helping each other,” wrote Terry Welker, FAIA, chief building official for Kettering, Ohio, in support of Toddy’s nomination for the Young Architect Award. “Matt Toddy, AIA, knows the cloth he is cut out of as a young architect, and he is using it to make a big difference in the profession.”
Toddy is also an active member of his local and state chapters. He has served as a director on AIA Columbus’ board and is currently its president-elect. In 2017, as the chapter sought ways to close the increasing mentorship gap facing young professionals in Ohio, Toddy and fellow director Jenn Rittler, AIA, created the ARCHway Mentorship Program. Through a hybrid of mentorship and leadership programs, the program connects young architects and associates with firm leaders in the city. Toddy was instrumental in securing $6,000 in funding from the chapter’s board to supplement a $5,000 College of Fellows Emerging Professionals Grant. For AIA Ohio, Toddy worked with architects from across the state to create the Designing for Safety Charrette. The program urged professionals to find alternate solutions to existing educational facilities as administrators prepared to welcome K-12 students back to classrooms in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Balancing dedicated service, creative innovation, and mentorship with a good-natured personality, Matt has developed tremendous rapport with his colleagues, clients, students, and emerging professionals,” wrote Timothy C. Hawk, FAIA, at-large director for AIA National, in a letter supporting Toddy’s nomination. “As one of our top young architects, he engages communities to empower mentorship and inspire innovation.”