For more than a decade, the eligibility requirements of candidates for the AIA’s Gold Medal have been the subject of considerable conversation among members. Many have asked for revisions to the requirements to reflect current trends in practice.
Robert Ivy, in his May 1997 Editorial for Architectural Record entitled “From Singularity to Cooperation“, put forward a compelling case for a collaborative Gold Medal, but only when warranted. He wrote “It is not uncommon today to find couples and small groups, regardless of gender, practicing together at the highest levels of creativity and skill, filling in each other’s thoughts, dancing in each other’s minds.” He said that “by broadening the medal to include joint winners, the Institute will send an important message that our institutions are capable of change, as our profession shifts from singularity to cooperation.”
In the subsequent 16 years, the conversation has continued but action and change have been elusive. Now is the time to recognize the changing face of national and international practice. By revising the criteria for the award of the Gold Medal to include collaborators, whose work is considered as a singular body of distinguished architecture, our AIA will be seen as being more inclusive and responsive. The highest standards for which the AIA Gold Medal stands will be burnished even more brightly. The opportunity to make this positive announcement as a concrete example of the Repositioning of the AIA will be a strong signal of the new direction of our organization.
The specific recommendation included in the motion would permit the Gold Medal to be awarded to an individual or to “two or more individuals practicing together, but only if their collaborative efforts over time are recognized as having created a singular body of distinguished architectural work”. With the exception of the eligibility requirements, all other procedures currently described in the AIA’s Rules of the Board will remain unchanged.
The motion only addresses the eligibility of Gold Medalist candidates. The language of the Firm Award and all other Honor Awards are to remain as currently described.
We hope that the Board will support this action and implement the change as quickly as possible.