About the award
A natural leader and gifted designer, Beresford Pratt, AIA, has distinguished himself as a champion for diversity, equity, and inclusion across the profession. He is also an eager ambassador for community empowerment who seeks out opportunities to forge new educational pathways and to amplify the diverse voices of emerging professionals.
Pratt is a design manager for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which he joined in 2021. Previously, he was an architectural designer and project architect for Baltimore’s Ayers Saint Gross, where he led impactful projects such as Johnson-Whittle and Pyon-Chen Residence Halls and Yahentamitsi Dining Hall at the University of Maryland College Park. With more than 900 beds, the project shaped the country’s largest living-learning community. The dining hall honors the campus’ Native American heritage, while the adjoining housing facilities celebrate the school’s first African American graduates and two Asian American trailblazers in Maryland academia.
To advocate for his fellow young architects and emerging professionals, Pratt served as the Young Architect Forum’s (YAF) regional director for the Mid-Atlantic and developed the How to start/grow your EP committee toolkit, a national resource that gathered input from diverse committees across the nation. As editor-in-chief and communications director for YAF, Pratt oversaw the production of CONNECTION, a publication for young architects that features actionable takeaways in each issue. CONNECTION has published more than 170 articles written by a diverse body of contributors from 37 different states. It has been accessed more than 16,000 times across the online publishing platform Issuu and social media.
To bolster equity, diversity, and inclusion in the Baltimore area and beyond, Pratt co-founded the city’s National Organization of Minority Architects chapter in 2018. Under his leadership, membership grew from 10 to 45 members, and he shaped a communications infrastructure to reach a broad audience. In partnership with AIA Baltimore and Beyond the Built Environment, Pratt co-led Say-it-Loud Maryland, a curated exhibition highlighting the work of BIPOC, women, and minority design professionals.
Pratt has introduced design thinking to a diverse body of students in Baltimore. While volunteering in alternative after-school architecture programs, he noted the limited participation of city students due to transportation access issues. To combat this, he organized a team of fellow professionals who developed a series of shadow days through Baltimore Design School to introduce high school students to the profession’s disciplines through hands-on charrettes. Pratt now serves on Baltimore Design School’s board and has supported its mission by raising thousands in monetary and in-kind donations.
Though his career is still young, Pratt’s impact has been powerful and is sure to be lasting. His actions and voice have led to meaningful change and inspired others to follow his lead.