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.
Through her work as an architect and public health professional, Caroline Shannon, AIA, employs design excellence and research to equitably improve the health of communities around the world. She is an ambassador for the profession who eagerly engages in projects and opportunities that improve people’s lives.
Shannon is a strategist for Gensler in Boston and previously served as a senior associate for Höweler + Yoon Architecture and an architect at Shepley Bulfinch/LENS Strategy. While at Shepley Bulfinch, she grew into leadership roles as a key member of the firm’s first sustainable design leadership group and co-leader of its health care practice group. She significantly contributed to many of the firm’s large health care projects and managed the construction of the University of Global Health Equity in Rwanda, a project that clearly demonstrates Shannon’s dedication to health, equity, and sustainability.
As a member of Höweler + Yoon's associates group, Shannon led the firm’s sustainability initiative, which included Architecture 2030 reporting, as well as its internal mentoring program. She was instrumental in the success of the firm’s projects, most notably the Memorial to the Enslaved Laborers at the University of Virginia, which offers a contemplative space that addresses the country’s shameful history of slavery.
Eager to demonstrate how architecture can serve others, Shannon spent three years living and working in informal settlements across Latin America after completing a Master of Architecture at Harvard Graduate School of Design in 2013. Supported by an Appleton Fellowship, she was immersed in the challenges communities face there, including health risks posed by climate change. The focal point of her work was the Park and Institute Sitiê in Rio de Janeiro, which transformed an informal dump into a celebrated public green space.
In Boston, Shannon continues to seek out meaningful opportunities to engage the public in shaping the built environment, an essential element of her practice. She was nominated by the Boston Society of Architects (BSA) to serve as a commissioner on the Cambridge Historical Commission, which reviews dozens of projects during public meetings. Through a partnership program between BSA and Boston’s public school system, she has also visited numerous kindergarten classrooms to provide lessons on design and the building of cities.
After more than a decade in architecture, Shannon returned to Harvard to pursue a master’s degree in public health at the university’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. At Gensler, which Shannon joined last year, she is poised to incorporate her expertise into projects that bolster health and resilience at all scales.