About the award
The Young Architects Award honors individuals who have demonstrated exceptional leadership and made significant contributions to the architecture profession early in their careers.
Though his path through architecture has been anything but typical, Ryan R. Murphy, AIA, is the embodiment of a civil servant and citizen architect. From his time in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to the founding of his tech-forward firm, he challenges preconceived notions of a career in architecture as he advances the profession.
Murphy served in the military for nearly a decade, voluntarily going to Afghanistan to work on critical projects such as a redesign of Police Department #1 in downtown Kabul, the only woman-led police department in the country. After many other government agencies had failed to provide a feasible master plan for the department, Murphy led a quick reaction team that designed infrastructure upgrades that improved clean water delivery, drastically improved sanitary conditions, and addressed dangerous electrical hazards. Murphy’s work was completed in an active war zone, requiring a quick and efficient response. A few years later, Murphy provided critical assistance to North Carolina, Florida, and Puerto Rico, which were all ravaged by Hurricane Maria.
Following his service, Murphy founded Shamrock+, his entrepreneurial firm, in Savannah in 2019. He has embraced new facets of architecture that include drones, LiDAR imaging, and scan-to-BIM technology. He and his team worked closely with Savannah Technical College’s Culinary Institute, incorporating the firm’s technology into the school’s quest for a new instructional space in a former downtown nightclub. The firm’s scanned data of the building’s interior and roofs were shared with the project architect, Hansen Architects, to create a complete Revit As-built model.
Murphy is eager to share his expertise in emerging technologies with the profession, and, to that end, he developed Emerging Technologies in AEC: Increased Safety and Accuracy of the Site Documenting Process as a continuing education course. He is also a 2020 graduate of AIA Georgia’s Christopher Kelley Leadership Program and will complete a term on the organization’s executive committee later this year. As its 2022 chair, his commitment to broadening the program’s diversity and inclusion, and expanding it to include AIA Alabama’s nominees, yielded the most diverse class in the program’s history.
Murphy’s engagement with AIA stretches back to his days as a student at both Southern Illinois University Carbondale and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he served as president of both school’s AIAS chapters. AIA Savannah honored him in 2021 with its Artisan Award that recognized his innovative use of reality capture services that helped keep design professionals safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In both his service to the nation and the profession, Murphy has distinguished himself through his willingness and ability to solve any problem. He exemplifies architecture’s power to serve the greater good, even during the worst global circumstances.