2022 Young Architects 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.

Allison M. Wilson, AIA

As a trusted sustainability leader, Allison M. Wilson, AIA, is committed to guiding her institutional clients to making more equitable and enduring investments in the built environment. Her professionalism and unwavering commitment to shaping a more promising future—no matter what difficulties she may face—has positioned her as an important member of her firm and the profession at large. Wilson is ready to confront significant challenges facing the design community while ensuring that the next generation of architects is ready to make its mark, too.

Wilson’s first foray into the profession began when she was a student leader for University of Maryland’s award-winning entry in the 2011 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon. That experience helped galvanize her commitment to sustainability and define the voice and rigor she brings to her professional work. Today, Wilson is a senior associate at Baltimore’s Ayers Saint Gross, where she intertwines each of the firm’s projects with the ideals of environmental action and social justice.

After achieving licensure, Wilson became the firm’s sustainability director in 2017 and has since formed a robust sustainability master planning practice for higher education clients. She has assembled a dedicated team and guided numerous projects through third-party certification, including Ayers Saint Gross’ first Living Building Challenge and WELL Building projects. Her influence has elevated the firm’s body of work, better aligning it with the AIA Framework for Design Excellence.

“Over the past decade, I have watched her put passion and professionalism into action daily—actions she takes herself and actions she inspires in others,” Luanne Greene, FAIA, president of Ayers Saint Gross, said in a letter nominating Wilson for the Young Architects Award. “Allison innovates, researches, teaches, and encourages our teams to create designs that are beautiful, high-performing, and inclusive. She enables our clients to make long-lasting investments in the built and natural environment. She shares her knowledge with others, with colleagues across the country, and works to strengthen our community by encouraging an inclusive pipeline of future designers.”

Her firm became an AIA 2030 Commitment signatory shortly after she joined, and Wilson has been a champion of the annual reporting effort to the Design Data Exchange. She authored Ayers Saint Gross’ first sustainability action plan, titled “Take Action,” and oversaw its recent update, “Recommitting to Action,” which is guiding the firm to carbon neutrality in its interdisciplinary work.

"She shares her knowledge with others, with colleagues across the country, and works to strengthen our community by encouraging an inclusive pipeline of future designers.”

In the early stages of her career, Wilson embraced the importance of mentorship and giving back to the profession. Her contributions to AIA Baltimore were integral in revitalizing its Committee on the Environment and in shaping a sustainable growth model that spurred the rebirth of similar committees at other AIA chapters. In addition, she has been an engaged member of AIA Baltimore’s professional development program, which transforms practitioners into empowered citizen architects ready to advocate on behalf of the profession both locally and nationally.

Wilson's service has also resulted in continued engagement with the U.S. Green Building Council in Maryland and Texas. Because of her leadership, USGBC Texas–Central Texas Region hosted a revenue-generating six-part continuing education series that broadened the local design community’s awareness to design for LEED v4 certification. Simultaneously, Wilson volunteers with the ACE Mentor Program of Austin, and her guidance there has grown student recruitment by more than 460%.

“Allison is dedicated. She is resourceful,” Monica Worheide, national director of affiliates for the ACE Mentor Program, said of Wilson in a letter. “Allison is an asset to the architectural industry because she elevates the entire cohort of professionals and students she engages, in addition to achieving her own personal and professional growth goals.”

Image credits

Allison M. Wilson-02

David Hills

Allison M. Wilson-03

Ayers Saint Gross

Allison M. Wilson-04

Gabe Border

Allison M. Wilson-05

Halkin Mason Photography

Allison M. Wilson-06

Tom Holdsworth