Three AIA Members Honored with 2010 Thomas
Awards recognize design excellence
in public and government
2010 Thomas Jefferson Awards honor three singularly unique practitioners
that have all had a vital and positive influence on architecture’s
interaction with the public at large. The recipients—Curtis Fentress,
FAIA, a designer; Les Shepherd, AIA, a government agency head; and
Ken Greenberg, Assoc. AIA, an urban planner—have all exemplified
the architecture profession’s regenerative responsibility to
make the everyday lives of the public better and earned these accolades
in accordance with three award categories.
Curtis Fentress, FAIA. Photo courtesy Jason A.
Knowles © Fentress Architects.
Curtis Fentress, FAIA:
A private-sector architect who has established
a portfolio of accomplishment in the design of architecturally distinguished
Fentress, founder of Denver-based Fentress
Architects, has been honored with a 2010 Thomas Jefferson Award for his deep
expertise in nearly all types of public buildings and his mountain
west regional design identity. His portfolio is filled with well-received
courthouses, museums, memorials, and other cultural facilities. He’s
left an indelible mark on the civic life of his adopted city of Denver,
as he’s designed the tent-like, tensile fabric roof of the
Denver International Airport Main Passenger Terminal, and the city’s
glass curtain walled convention center. Throughout his work, Fentress
has demonstrated a contextual and inventive material sensibility,
and a focus on sustainability.
The Denver International Airport. Photo courtesy
Fentress graduated from North Carolina State University in 1972,
and before he established his own firm he worked for I.M. Pei, FAIA,
and KPF in New York. Currently, Fentress Architects has 100 employees,
making it the largest architecture practice in the region, with four
offices and projects across the world. Fentress regularly serves
as a General Services Administration (GSA) Design Excellence peer
professional, and was named the 2001 Executive of the Year in Architecture
by the Denver Business Journal. His projects have won 78 AIA awards.
Other major projects by Fentress include the Clark County Government
Center in Las Vegas, the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson,
Wyo., and the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico, Va.
“Since starting his firm here in 1980, Curt has demonstrated
a continuous commitment to high design for public buildings—humanistic
architecture that is as effective for its users 20 years down the
line as when it is designed,” wrote AIA Denver President Steven
Carr, AIA, in a letter of recommendation for the award.
Les Shepherd, AIA. Image courtesy of the GSA.
Les Shepherd, AIA:
A public-sector architect who manages or produces
quality design within their agency.
When Shepherd became the chief architect of the GSA, he had eminent shoes to fill in continuing the work of former chief
architect Ed Feiner, FAIA, in ensuring the growth of the GSA’s
Design Excellence program. Adding the Thomas Jefferson Award to his
list of accolades fulfills this promise and underscores the vital
effect Shepherd has had on American’s experience of the federal
government. A 21-year veteran of the GSA, Shepherd has brought together
architects, federal clients, and the public in innovative ways to
create a higher standard for federal facility design.
The San Franciso Federal Building designed by Morphosis. Images Courtesy of the GSA.
A graduate of Texas Tech University, Shepherd previously served
as project manager for several major GSA building projects in local
offices. As chief architect, he led the development of key publications
that codified the criteria for designing, siting, and leasing federal
buildings. He oversees $12 billion of GSA building projects: renovations,
historic preservation, courthouses, land ports of entry, and national
labs. Major projects he’s facilitated include Morphosis’s
San Francisco Federal Building, Yazdani Studio’s Lloyd D. George
U.S. Courthouse in Las Vegas, Bennett Wagner and Grody’s Byron
R. Rogers Federal Building and Courthouse in Denver, and SmithGroup’s
renovation of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington,
“Les is relentless in his dedication to ideas that improve
the design and delivery of public projects,” wrote Mehrdad
Yazdani, Assoc. AIA, in a letter of recommendation. “In the
last two decades he has demonstrated his commitment to work closely
with the architecture, engineering, and construction professionals
in finding ways to build better, more cost effective, and environmentally
responsive buildings in the public sector.”
discerning commitment to excellence in architecture represents a
worthy continuation of the architectural challenge presented by Senator
Daniel Patrick Moynihan,” wrote
Hugh Hardy, FAIA, of H3 Hardy Collective Architecture, in a recommendation
Ken Greenberg, Assoc. AIA. Image courtesy of Ken Greenberg.
Ken Greenberg, Assoc. AIA:
A public official or other individual who
by their role of advocacy have furthered the public’s awareness
and/or appreciation of design excellence.
Throughout his entire career, Greenberg has fearlessly been an advocate
for the civic life of some of the most hobbled and challenged cities
in North America. As a city planner and urban planning design consultant
with his own firm Greenberg Consultants, Ken Greenberg has designed
numerous influential master plans for cities like Philadelphia, Hartford,
Washington, DC, and Detroit, becoming one of North America’s
most eminent thinkers on the Post-Industrial city, and earning the
2010 Thomas Jefferson award in the process. He’s renowned for
his ability to engage the public and ground his designs in the unique
zeitgeist of each place he works for to repair its urban fabric.
An acolyte of urbanist and writer Jane Jacobs, Greenberg understands
that cities are too complex and dynamic to be solved by final, definitive
design end points, and that the best urban design interventions allow
for and encourage this kind of spontaneous evolution.
Greenberg’s Lower Don Lands master plan
in Toronto, completed in association with a team led by Michael
Van Valkenburgh, Landscape Architects. Image courtesy of Ken Greenberg.
Greenberg studied architecture and international relations
at Columbia University and completed an architecture degree at the
University of Toronto. He co-founded the Toronto-based planning and
urban design firm Urban
Strategies in 1987. Greenberg
Consultants was founded in 2001.
Greenberg has also created urban master plans for projects in Toronto,
Boston, Cambridge, Mass., and the Twin Cities.
Developer Lyme Properties worked with Greenberg on the Kendall Square
project in Cambridge, and managing director David Clem wrote in a
recommendation letter of Greenberg’s “gift for language.
He is able to communicate the importance of urban design and superior
architecture, not only to the professional world, but to the residents
of neighborhoods impacted by growth, change, construction noise,
“Ken is one of the most skilled and respected urban designers
practicing in the world today,” wrote Kairos Shen, Boston’s
chief city planner, in a letter of recommendation. “His greatest
strength, however, is his ability to build consensus on even the
most controversial of projects.”