2021 Young Architect Award Recipient
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.
Whether seated at his father’s drawing table or exploring construction sites, Daniel Yudchitz, AIA, was introduced to the potential of the built environment at an early age. Today, as a young professional, Yudchitz has honed his approach to implementing design strategies that are both economic and high performing. His thoughtful practice, steeped in his early experiences, is bolstered by his diversified art and design foundation.
"...It quickly became evident that Dan possessed a composite set of qualities: passion, talent, empathy, and intellect"
Yudchitz’s schooling was a mixture of fine arts and architecture. He received his bachelor’s degree in industrial design at the University of Wisconsin-Stout and embarked on architectural studies in Switzerland before completing his master’s in architecture at the University of Minnesota. His studies in Switzerland with Jürg Conzett and Roger Boltshauser instilled in him the belief that any project can contribute to the global dialogue surrounding architecture, no matter its scale or budget. While that idea complemented Yudchitz’s early experiences under the guidance of his father, it also shaped his professional outlook.
Working collaboratively with his father, William Yudchitz, AIA, he designed The EDGE (short for Experimental Dwelling for a Greener Environment), an adventure in prefabrication, minimalist living, and building performance. Completed in 2009, the project was conceived of as two boxes separated by operable window walls. A labor of love for Yudchitz and his father and the recipient of an AIA National Small Project Award and an AIA Wisconsin Honor Award, the project has informed much of Yudchitz’s work since.
In 2008, Yudchitz brought his sensibilities to HGA Architects and Engineers in Minneapolis. There he took the reins on a number of community-focused projects, such as the firm’s design for the Theodore Wirth Park trailhead, a 14,000-square-foot outdoor recreation hub at the Golden Valley, Minnesota, park. Evoking a barn edifice with programmatic elements sprinkled throughout, the flexible structure houses offices, locker rooms, a bike and ski shop, and conference rooms.
“The first time I met Dan was during his M.Arch thesis presentation in 2008. I attended because I knew HGA hired him and soon we would be working together,” wrote Steven Dwyer, FAIA, in a letter nominating Yudchitz for the Young Architect Award. “I was curious and it quickly became evident that Dan possessed a composite set of qualities: passion, talent, empathy, and intellect. During his time at HGA, these qualities only matured and were fundamental in his work to elevate the design and environmental performance of projects for our clients and their communities.”
In 2017, after a decade with HGA, Yudchitz moved across town to assume a senior design leadership role at LEO A DALY. In his new role, he facilitates project interviews, client presentations, and the design approaches the firm’s teams should employ. He is a critical member of the firm’s team that focuses on pro bono projects for underserved communities and is currently assisting Big City Mountaineers in constructing a new base camp that will allow a greater number of children from inner-city settings to experience the outdoors. In 2019, Yudchitz was named one of the emerging leaders in environmental design at the Design Futures Council Leadership Summit on the Future of Environmental Responsibility.
“Service is inherent in who he is and how he sees his role in the world. His design sensitivity is personal, intimate, and responsive to socio, cultural, and societal conditions,” Cindy McCleary, AIA, managing principal and vice president at LEO A DALY, wrote of Yudchitz. “Dan explores the world through making and serving, which reflects directly for the people who experience it. Whether through traditional design or his swinging of a hammer on weekends, for Dan, design responsibility and community service is his vehicle for exploring and impacting the world.”