2016 Edward C. Kemper Award Recipient

From 1914 to 1948, Edward C. Kemper led the AIA as Executive Director. Since 1950, this award has honored members who carry on his legacy of continued and significant service to the AIA.

In 1976, Terrance Brown, FAIA was in Guatemala when a devastating earthquake hit. While helping care for survivors in the Department of Sacatepequez hospital, he and others learned the building was in danger of collapsing from aftershocks, so Brown, a veteran of the Vietnam War, volunteered to set up a field hospital in a soccer field to house hundreds of the injured.

Over the course of many catastrophes in the four decades since, Brown has put his architectural and leadership skills to work helping people be safe, recover and rebuild. After earthquakes, tornadoes, terrorist attacks and other disasters, Brown has led the rebuilding effort. He has also personally trained more than 1,000 US and Canadian architects in ways to mitigate and recover from a disaster.

"Terry's leadership in developing disaster recovery programs across the country and the globe sets a high mark for the AIA," Charles Harper FAIA Emeritus and for 14 years the chair of the AIA Disaster Response Committee, wrote in support of Brown's nomination for the Edward C. Kemper Award.

After the 9/11 attacks, Brown's expertise in disaster-related work was instrumental in developing programs that specifically prepare architects for work in disaster preparedness and recovery. While serving as AIA National Vice President, Brown was "thrust into action in the wake of the attacks that horrifically re-envisioned architecture and the built environment," wrote Florida architect Michael D. Lingerfelt FAIA, a former chair of the AIA Disaster Assistance Committee, in endorsing Brown's nomination. Brown, he wrote, "led the disaster assistance team in determining how architects could best help a shattered and horrified city and nation."

These efforts culminated in 2005, when he led an initiative to add emergency response training to the profession's previous focus on relief and recovery. This included disaster response programs, training and credentialing for architects on disaster assistance, and an outreach program that helps governments and citizens understand the pivotal role architects can perform after a catastrophe.

His hands-on work continued with Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit the coast of Japan in 2011, Colorado wildfires in 2012 and floods in 2013. In April 2015, materials that he and others on AIA's Disaster Committee were made available online to Nepalese and Asian architecture associations.

"Terry's efforts are the foundation for the profession's work in disaster assistance and mitigation today"

"Terry's efforts are the foundation for the profession's work in disaster assistance and mitigation today," wrote Robert Williams, 2015 president of AIA New Mexico, in Brown's home state.

In his own practice, Brown has worked extensively with Native Americans, designing hundreds of homes as well as health centers and educational facilities for their communities.

Upon graduating from Texas Tech University's architecture program in 1969, Brown was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army Engineers and served in Viet Nam, flying daily helicopter missions. He was awarded the Bronze Star and other honors during his service, and chronicled daily life in an illustrated war journal that he wrote and drew.

After Vietnam, Brown spent eight years working in Guatemala, focusing on Mayan linguistics but soon getting drawn into disaster recovery. Four decades later, his hand is felt throughout the world, both in the numerous places where he personally contributed to disaster relief and in places where other architects he trained have gone to work.

As Harper put it, Brown's "works are exemplary actions for us all."


2016 Collaborative and Professional Achievement Awards Jury

Drew White, FAIA, Chair, Axis Architecture & Interiors, Indianapolis

Ric Bell, FAIA, City of New York, Department of Design and Construction, New York City

Sarah Dirsa, AIA, KG&D Architects, Mt. Kisco, New York

Daniel Feil, FAIA, Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission, Washington, D.C.

Jennifer Penner, Assoc. AIA, Studio Southwest Architects, Inc., Albuquerque

Image credits

Terrance-J- Brown1

Edward A. Vance, FAIA

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David T. Downey

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Terrance J. Brown, FAIA