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A Celebration of Better Illinois Communities by Design

The AIA Illinois Honor Awards recognize people and projects epitomizing the contributions of the architecture profession, the transformative power of design, and the dedication of individuals to service and excellence. All award winners have positively impacted citizens throughout the state of Illinois by helping create communities in which people are drawn to live and work, and to live healthier and happier. 

Gold Medal for Outstanding Lifetime Service
2023: Peter Exley, FAIA

Peter Exley’s professional career has been committed to an equitable and inclusive built environment for children, families, and communities.

As co-founder of Architecture Is Fun, he uses the power of design to build places and spaces that reflect the values, ambitions, and purpose of every stakeholder on myriad civic, cultural, private, and not-for-profit agencies.

As a Dean and educator, he is nurturing future architects as the primary and credible resource with the explicit training and qualification to lead the creation of healthy and equitable net-zero place- making.

As the 97th President of the American Institute of Architects, he led AIA’s delegation to COP26 in Glasgow, and began the AIA Headquarters renewal project embodying the urgent need for climate action alongside a dramatic transformation for workplace, member, and community experience.

“Work of significance and relevance, joy and seriousness, range and depth!!”

- AIA Gold Medalists Robert Venturi & Denise Scott Brown on the work of Architecture Is Fun, 2006.

From Letters of Support

"Peter sets the standard for what a successful career in architecture should look like – one that is focused on joy, giving, beauty, humor, and making the world a better place in every way that you can, whenever and wherever, sometimes by simply just being present. Peter’s humanity is inspiring and I’m lucky to call him a part‐time mentor and a full‐time friend."

"His contributions in leading the AIA to catalyze equity and emphasize action on climate crisis have not only set the foundation for our current AIA leaders but also for generations of leaders to come after us. Most importantly, his leadership and engagement in our profession did not end when his presidential term ended – he has remained committed to advancing mental health awareness in the architectural profession and educating the next generation of architects and leaders at the School of Art Institute in Chicago. I cannot think of anyone more worthy of this honor than Peter Exley, FAIA RIBA NOMA."

"It’s fun to reflect upon a two-decade journey of intersecting paths between Peter, me, and AIA Illinois. We knew him as a transformational chapter president and a national board member who championed public outreach. Though he didn’t have to, he came to every Illinois board meeting to stay connected to colleagues. Peter is one of only two national Presidents from Illinois in my lifetime. He made us all proud in his service. It was a special privilege to work with him as liaison to ACSA, AIAS, NAAB, NCARB and NOMA. No other president was as able to influence those groups."

2022    Larry Livergood, FAIA

2021    Robert I. Selby, FAIA

2019    John Ochoa, AIA

2018    Linda Searl, FAIA

2017    Gaines Hall, FAIA

2016    James L. Nagle, FAIA and John F. Hartray, FAIA
2015    Carol Ross Barney, FAIA
2014    R. Thomas Jaeger, AIA
2012    Gary W. Anderson, AIA
2010    Donald J. Hackl, FAIA
2009    Walter J. Hainsfurther, III, FAIA
2008    Stanley Tigerman, FAIA
2007    Louis J. Garapolo, FAIA
2006    John M. Syvertsen, FAIA

R. Buckminster Fuller Award for Social Good
For Illinois architects involved in humanitarian, social impact or community endeavors
2023: Sheri Andrews, AIA

Sheri Andrews, AIA is a remarkable female architect with over 20 years of experience who embodies the values of environmental conservation and community engagement. Her unwavering commitment to maintaining rigorous design standards and her dedication to serving the Chicago community, along with empowering our internal firm community have made her a true leader.

Transforming Communities through Inclusive Design

Guided by her keen interest in how humans move through space, Sheri is spearheading the building renovation and expansion efforts for the Centennial Commitment project at the John G. Shedd Aquarium. She began the process with a research based approach conducting stakeholder interviews with the Shedd and numerous community outreach meetings. She recently spoke at the museum regarding the relationship between the Centennial Commitment renovations to the existing Beaux-Arts style and how the new design will create a welcoming, inclusive environment, to a diverse set of guests while honoring the historic building. By reimagining the way visitors enter the Shedd, the design will enable new interior circulation pathways that will significantly improve accessibility by reducing the number of transitions between various levels and exhibits of the aquarium. This design not only provides more options for visitors, but makes navigation easier for guests with strollers, wheelchairs and other mobility needs. Her design approach combines functionality, resiliency, and inclusivity to address the unique need of Chicago’s diverse populations.

Inspiring Future Leaders

As a committed mentor, Sheri leads the Culture Committee at the firm with the mission of bringing people together and listening to all voices. She encourages aspiring architects, especially women, to pursue their passions and make sure everyone has a seat at the table. She has organized many internal clean-up initiatives around Chicago that have allowed members of the firm to bond while making a positive impact on their local community. She uses her voice in the Culture committee to organize various food bank donations along with monetary donations during the Covid-19 pandemic. As a member of CREW Chicago, Sheri led the CREW Careers program for several years. The program introduces teenage girls to the many career opportunities available to them in the commercial real estate industry. Partnering with Off the Street Club, activities included site visits and design charrettes to highlight the diversity in the industry.

Sustainable Humanitarian Endeavors

Sheri consistently goes above and beyond to engage in humanitarian endeavors, one of which was an effort to build a bike shed at the Ford Calumet Environmental Center, located on the southwest side of Chicago. She initiated an adaptive reuse technique utilizing the existing storage containers onsite to hold the bikes. This solution was not only budget friendly but a sustainable solution that aligns with the nature center's sustainability values.

Whether rehabilitating historical landmarks, mentoring high school students, or implementing community engagement efforts, Sheri has been a catalyst for positive change within the Architecture industry and the city of Chicago.

2022    Gary W. Anderson, AIA

2021    Shabbir Y. Chandabhai, Assoc. AIA

2020    Dave Gerald Broz, AIA

2019    Bryan Hudson, AIA

2017    Lamar Johnson, FAIA

2016    Helen J. Kessler    
2015    Nora Ames & Katie Soven   
2014    Philip J. Enquist, FAIA
2013    Charles R. Newman, AIA    
2012    Katherine Darnstadt, AIA
2010    Jon Daniel Davey, AIA     
2009    Kevin K. Pierce, AIA    
2008    Douglas Milburn, Assoc. AIA    
2007    Martha A. Bell, AIA    
2006    Peter Lind, AIA    

John Wellborn Root for Emerging Professionals
2023: Kelly Moynihan, AIA

Advocating for Equity, Resiliency in Practice

Kelly’s ambition lies in advocating for climate policy and equity within the built environment. Currently on the Membership Committee of the AIA Chicago Board of Directors, Kelly additionally serves as Co-Chair of the COTE/2030 Commitment Knowledge Community and AIA National’s 2030, Sustainability Action Plan Subcommittees, developing advocacy and education programs on sustainability and the 2030 Commitment. Kelly prioritizes partnership with like- minded organizations to articulate bureaucratic calls to action for necessary changes to codes and standards. Her involvement on the Passive House Alliance Board, Illinois Green Alliance’s Chicago Building Advocacy Committee, and International Living Future Institute’s Regional Community, generates a cross-pollination of talented people with innovative ideas advancing centralized resources, combining missions and certifications to streamline green building practices.

Kelly reveres mentorship as the critical relationship for current/prospective architects, both as mentor and mentee. Selected into Chicago’s BRIDGE, TransFORM and WING programs, Kelly participated in mentorship at all levels, and continues to pay it forward by advocating for emerging professionals wherever possible. She prioritizes time with HPZS staff through consistent discussions around goal-setting, is an active participant in IIT and University of Minnesota architecture mentorship programs, a regular speaker at IIT’s Professional Practice Symposium, and has helped develop trajectories for licensure candidates through NCARB’s Think Tank and Licensing Advisor. Kelly delivered the keynote at AIA Illinois’ Emerging Professionals Summit, empowering the attendees to be “Climate Action Superheroes,” a unifying message emphasizing her advocacy passions of mentorship and sustainability.

Assembling for Learning

Kelly participates in various local and national planning committees responsible for unifying professionals for the advancement of the architecture profession. These efforts include leadership within Illinois Green Alliance’s Programs Committee and International Living Future’s Regional Community, planning cross-disciplinary programming and events, uniting people in the spirit of sustainable design and policy.


Kelly led as 2022 AIA National Conference Tours Chair, planning, preparing, and producing 70+ tours for 4,000+ people, a collaborative challenge resulting in the AIA Chicago Presidential Citation Award. The quality of tour content and fluidity of logistics was rewarded with glowing reviews and gratitude from countless attendees for a successful showcase of beautiful Chicago filled with world-class architecture. She has continued chapter service as the 2023 AIA Chicago Designight Chair, leading a committee for Chicago architecture’s biggest annual social and sponsorship event, the Design Excellence Awards.


Activating Places for People and Planet

Kelly spent the last decade learning, collaborating within the Chicago Architecture Community, cultivating connections in pursuit of preservation and creation of carbon-free, equitable, high- performance projects. She is an established design leader, experienced in multiple project types including affordable housing, K-12/higher education, single/multi-family residential, historic preservation, adaptive reuse, commercial interiors, sustainable master planning.


Kelly’s projects achieve several aspirational accreditations including LEED Platinum, Passive House, and Living Building Challenge Petal Certifications. Her prestigious accolades include AIA National COTE Top Ten, and regional awards from AIA Chicago Design Excellence Honor Awards, Urban Land Institute Vision Award, Excellence in Environmentally-Sensitive Design and Community Engagement, AIA Illinois Sullivan Award, and Landmarks Illinois Driehaus Preservation Award. 

2022    Calli Verkamp, AIA

2019    Damon Wilson, AIA

2016    Marc Teer, AIA

2015    Alexander P. Block, AIA
2014    Adam Lund, AIA
2013    April Hughes, AIA
2012    Jack Schroeder, AIA
2010    Brian J. Vitale, AIA
2009    Julianne Scherer, AIA
2008    Jeff Huck, AIA
2007    Mark J Ladd, AIA
2006    Lilija B. Gelazis, AIA

Nathan Clifford Ricker Award for Architecture Education
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2023: Francisco J. Rodríguez-Suárez, FAIA

Francisco J. Rodríguez-Suárez, FAIA is the Director of the University of Illinois School of Architecture at Urbana-Champaign. He studied at Georgia Tech, the Université de Paris and Harvard GSD, where he earned a Master of Architecture with Distinction winning the AIA Medal, the Portfolio Award and a Fulbright Fellowship.


His practice has also earned several awards in seven different categories. In 2008, Francisco collaborated with artist Ai Wei Wei on the Ordos 100 project in China, and in 2010 he was invited to the American Academy in Rome as a Visiting Scholar.


Francisco is committed to framing the Illinois School of Architecture as an epicenter of design, research and innovation aimed at solving contemporary society’s most pressing challenges such as global warming, housing inequities, and sustainable communities.


One of his first initiatives as ISoA Director was to commemorate the 150 anniversary of Nathan Ricker’s graduation through a campaign titled #Ricker150, and an exhibition that will cross the Atlantic to the prestigious Venice Biennale. He has also re-branded the school’s image and reconnected its ethos to Chicago through innovative programs like the Professional Studios with Gensler, HDR and Kahler Slater, Joint Studios with IIT, the abc studio, and the creation of a Chicago-based Alumni Advisory Board.


Francisco’s leadership style has matured through a series of formative experiences, first as former Dean of the UPR School of Architecture, and later as President of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture in Washington DC, where he successfully lobbied for architecture to be included as a STEM discipline. Both experiences, together with a research initiative that resulted in an award-winning book titled Chronologies of an Architectural Pedagogy, provided the foundations for an inclusive philosophy predicated upon the coexistence of excellence and accessibility.


Francisco’s reflections about the discipline have resulted in a calibrated search for a unifying paradigm between theory and practice. It is not the only duality that he continuously addresses as an academic leader. Traditionally, institutions of higher learning offer degrees that revolve strictly around the arts and the sciences, but as Director, he privileges a multi-disciplinary approach, engaging a hybrid body of knowledge that is as much about one world, as it is about the other: architecture--archos and techne.


Through a robust fundraising campaign, he has developed the possibility of offering international design studios, where students can visit for up to a week—with all expenses included—the cities where they are conducting their projects and research, including Barcelona, Vancouver, Tokyo, Paris, San Juan and Santo Domingo. Furthermore, he has also stressed an international agenda that includes previously underserved locales in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean.


In the process, the ISoA has not forgotten about its local community and the university it serves. Director Rodríguez-Suárez has initiated strategic collaborations with the Sybel Design Center, the University Branding office, the Office of the Chancellor, the Grainger College of Engineering, Carle Hospital and CLACS. These initiatives range from designing way-finding strategies for the UIUC campus to developing a community of tiny homes for the homeless in Urbana.


Finally, Francisco is outspoken about the crucial challenges faced by today’s institutions of higher learning and the possibility of moving at the speed of innovation and changes brought upon by the new millennium. As Director, he has paved the way for the ISoA to remain both flexible and relevant. He has also repositioned the ISoA at the forefront of the academic and professional discourse, expanding its international footprint and relevance, and finally designing, and building bridges and collaborations between the School and a world that is more connected than ever.

2022    Chip von Weise, AIA

2020    Curtis J. Sartor, Jr., Assoc. AIA

2019    Linda Nelson Keane, AIA

2017    Dan Wheeler, FAIA

2014    Mark Taylor, Assoc. AIA
2013    Al Rusch, AIA
2010    Jack A. Kremers, AIA
2009    Michael Andrejasich, AIA
2008    Constantine D. Vasilios,  AIA
2007    Robert I. Selby, FAIA
2006    Anne Sullivan, AIA

Alan Madison Award for Diversity Work
2023: Roderic Walton, AIA

For over 25 years Roderic has championed equitable outcomes for historically disadvantaged and marginalized communities. He has advocated for enhanced engagement during design and helped to advance the equitable practice of architecture nationwide through mentoring and knowledge sharing. The ripple effect of this work is demonstrated through community partnerships and student advocacy. The design processes and outcomes that he advocates for have removed barriers and promoted inclusion.

Roderic advanced the AIA Chicago healthcare knowledge community’s mission to support local healthcare design professionals by elevating DEI topics through planning themed AIA events, the summer leadership series (SLS) tours, and panels that he designed and facilitated. He also co-authored the committee’s anti-racism pledge and accountability framework and created and established DEI-related content for panels, inducing facilitating panels on equity for women in architecture, and addressing the humanitarian crisis through design.

Roderic serves as the national education committee leader for the Academy where he is introducing DEI measures into the workflows of the Academy across the entire organizational structure and is currently leading the development of a DEI mission and vision statement. As an active member of the HCD editorial advisory board, he facilitates diversity and equity related discussions at nationally attended design and planning events and also sits on design award juries. Roderic leads his firm’s national DEI initiative that consists of 30 members from across the country. He is currently leading the firm’s first firm wide DEI training initiative that will train 400 employees on how to detect manage bias and microaggressions.

Motivated by a desire to create more visibility around the nation’s homelessness and affordable housing crisis, Roderic’s firm decided to create a unique housing initiative—The Legacy Project. He is the Chicago Legacy House principal in charge. He lead a group of architectural graduate students from Miami University (Oxford Ohio) for a project based in Chicago, and focused on providing equitable outcomes for a community on Chicago’s south side.


He has served as the co-president of Miami University’s GLBA group, pioneering an engagement initiative entitled Building Bridges where the group pushed into other student groups on campus to share stories and find connections.

Based on shortened life expectancy of communities in the locations he practices, Roderic spearheaded an initiative to understand why the BIPOC community was suffering disproportionately from Covid and issued a call to action for architects, advocating for enhanced engagement as agents for change.

2022    Tiara Hughes, Assoc. AIA

2020    Maya Bird-Murphy, Assoc. AIA

2019    Danielle Tillman, AIA

2017    Walter D. Street III, AIA

2016    Oswaldo Ortega, AIA
2014    Eben C. Smith, AIA, NCARB, NOMA, RRO
2013    Aurelien Tsemo, AIA
2012    Kenneth E. Casey, AIA

President's Award

2022    Pullman National Monument and State Historic Site

2021    Arquitectos, Chicago Women in Architecture (CWA), and I-NOMA

2020    Chicago Architecture Biennial - Student Design Competitions

2019    Wright in Kankakee: The Bradley House

2018    Landmarks Illinois

2017    PechaKucha Chicago

2016    AEC Cares
2015    National Council of Architectural Registration Boards
2013    archi-treasures
2012    Public Building Commission of Chicago
2010    Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, LLP's Chicago office
2009    Environmental Law and Policy Center
2007    Healthy Schools Campaign by the Illinois State Board of Education
2006    Illinois Historic Preservation Agency

2004    Kevin Sido, Esq.
2003    Illinois Building Research Council
2002    Mayor Karen Hasara, City of Springfield
2001    Corda Murphy, AIA Northeast Executive Director
2000    Albert W. Voirin, AVA Insurance Agency
1998    Newhouse Architecture Competition, Chicago Architecture Foundation
1997    Attorney General Jim Ryan
1996    Lawrence Kirkegaard, Hon. AIA
1995    Alice Sinkevitch, Hon. AIA
1994    Illinois Historic Preservation Agency   
1992    James Nowacki, Esq.
1991    Graham Foundation
1990    Chicago Architecture Foundation
1989    Landmarks Preservation Council
1988    Women's Architectural League
1987    Gary J. Skoien
1986    Shirley Norvell, Hon. AIA
1985    Museum of Science & Industry
1984    Chicago Architectural Assistance Center

Richard Nickel Award for Non-Architects
For (non-architect) citizens who lift up architecture and the profession
2021: Krisann Rehbein

As the Executive Director of ACE Mentor Program of Chicago, she oversees program operations for the organization. Working with a dynamic and committed core of volunteers from the architecture, construction and engineering industries, the program provides out-of-school programming for 300 teens annually, gives out over $150k in scholarships and 60 paid summer work experiences.


Prior to joining ACE Mentor, Krisann spent over a decade at the Chicago Architecture Foundation. During her tenure, she implemented city-wide programming for teens, piloted a fully funded community outreach initiative, placed over 150 students in paid internships, and developed a suite of new adult programs to expand the conversation about the built environment in Chicago. She spearheaded and directed a major institutional project, the development and writing of a textbook to teach high school students about architecture published as The Architecture Handbook: A Student Guide to Understanding Buildings. The award-winning curriculum is part of the official career curriculum for the Chicago Public Schools and is used in schools across the country.

Jury Comments:  

Krisann’s career represents a mission of this award - to celebrate those who lift up architecture and the profession. Among her achievements: Krisann’s long-term commitment that engages youth to learn about the fields of design and construction, promotes opportunities to discover their interests, and working with industry professionals to help support that learning and discovery, all deserve this recognition. 

2020    David Doig

2019    Mike Waldinger, Hon. AIA

2018    Lynn Osmond, Hon. AIA

2017    Corda Murphy

2014    Ida "Pinky" Noll
2012    Gianfranco Grande
2009    Shirley J. Anderson, Hon. AIA

Charles W. Nothnagel Award for Public Service
For Illinois architects involved in public service
2021: Karen Shoup, AIA

Karen Shoup's career in Public Service encompasses multiple communities, agencies, programs and initiatives spanning over 34 years.

As a Subject Matter Expert, Karen is currently working with the United States Virgin Islands Department of Public Works/ Witt O'Brien's hurricane recovery team to rebuild the four islands of the Territory. As Bureau Chief of Urban Program Planning for the Illinois Department of Transportation, Karen led the development of the Illinois Long Range Transportation Plan, Transforming Transportation for Tomorrow.  Focusing on State Capital Planning, Karen served as Associate Director for the Governor's Office of Management and Budget. This required development of the annual Capital Budget for the State of Illinois. Karen was responsible for building the legislation and implementation of Governor Quinn's Illinois Jobs Now and Jump Start capital programs. School Construction and planning has been a focus for Karen. As Supervisor at the Illinois State Board of Education and Administrator of School Construction at CDB, Karen led the development of a 6 billion dollar school construction, school energy efficiency, maintenance grant programs and the development of guidelines for communities. She also served on the Springfield RUDAT, Habitat for Humanity Board, AIA Illinois and Prairie Chapter Boards.

Jury Comments:

Karen has served our profession well, not just in her roles at the Capital Development Board and Illinois Department of Transportation, but also in her service to the AIA.  She has served on committees, both state and chapter boards and is the current AIA Prairie President, guiding the chapter (even through a pandemic) with strength and vision. Karen is a deserving recipient of this award.

2019    Scott Nacheman, AIA

2017    Jim Law, FAIA

2016    Holly Gerberding, FAIA
2015    Michael A. Dixon, FAIA
2014    Gracia Maria Shiffrin, AIA
2012    Mike Jackson, FAIA
2010    Martin A. Alblinger, AIA
2009    Edward K. Uhlir, FAIA
2008    Paul W. O'Shea, FAIA
2007    Enrique Unanue, Illinois Department of Public Health
2006    Michael Rogers, AIA

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