David M. Childs Receives Inaugural George M. White Award for Excellence in Public Architecture

Washington, D.C., October 8, 2012—On Thursday, October 11, 2012, the American Architectural Foundation (AAF) honored David M. Childs, FAIA, as the inaugural recipient of the George M. White Award for Excellence in Public Architecture at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.

Childs, chairman emeritus and consulting design partner at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM), former chairman of the National Capital Planning Commission, and a former member of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, has a long and distinguished record of work on public architecture projects with substantial impact in both the United States and abroad. Among his many projects that have shaped the public realm are: the Washington Mall Master Plan and Constitution Gardens in Washington, D.C.; Moynihan Station in New York City; the Northeast Corridor Improvement Plan; the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa, Canada; the Washington Metropolitan Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Washington, D.C.; the Robert C. Byrd U.S. Federal Courthouse in Charleston, W. Va.; Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport; and Toronto’s Pearson International Airport.

Childs also designed One World Trade Center and Seven World Trade Center for Ground Zero in New York City.

Of Childs’ selection, AAF President and CEO Ronald E. Bogle, Hon. AIA, said, “The selection committee was impressed by the depth and diversity of David’s contributions to the public realm. He has demonstrated time and again his commitment to using architecture and design to improve the quality of life in cities by creating dynamic public places that both inspire citizens and help to foster economic vitality.”

The October 11th program began with remarks from Bogle; the Honorable Sandra Day O’Connor, U.S. Supreme Court justice (ret.); and the Honorable Stephen T. Ayers, FAIA, LEED AP, architect of the Capitol. A panel discussion on urban design and architecture in the public realm and the role of the architect in the design of the city followed, with Childs; Philip Enquist, FAIA, partner in charge of Urban Design and Planning at SOM; and Robert A. Peck, Hon. AIA, director of workplace consulting for the Southeast Region at Gensler.

The award is named for the late George M. White, FAIA, retired architect of the Capitol, who, during his nearly 25-year tenure, oversaw key construction and restoration projects around the nation’s capital.


George M. White, FAIA, was appointed the ninth architect of the Capitol in 1971 by President Richard Nixon. In this role, he created the Master Plan for the future development of the Capitol Complex. He oversaw construction of the Library of Congress’ James Madison Memorial Building, the Hart Senate Office Building, the Thurgood Marshall Federal Judiciary Building, and the Capitol terrace infill areas. His accomplishments included the restoration of the Old Supreme Court Chamber and Old Senate Chamber, the partial restoration of National Statuary Hall, the restoration of the U.S. Capitol Building’s west central front, and the interior restoration and renovation of the Library of Congress’ Thomas Jefferson and John Adams Buildings. His conservation efforts included the Capitol Rotunda canopy and frieze and the Statue of Freedom. In the congressional office buildings, he improved electrical, electronic, fire-protection, and transportation systems. Other work included the expansion of the Capitol Power Plant and planning and design for the National Garden, located adjacent to the U.S. Botanic Garden Conservatory, and for the Capitol Visitor Center. He is also credited with modernizing the Office of the Architect of the Capitol and hiring a more professional staff. In addition, George White was a longtime supporter and friend of the American Architectural Foundation. From 1992 until 2005, he provided visionary leadership as a member of AAF’s Board of Regents.


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Posted in: Center for the Advancement of Architecture, Creative Placemaking, Design Leadership, George M. White Award, News, Print, Public Spaces
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