Joseph P. Riley Jr. Honored at the Accent on Architecture Gala

On Thursday, April 30th, the American Architectural Foundation presented the Honorable Joseph P. Riley Jr., Mayor of Charleston, South Carolina, with a special recognition award in celebration of 40 years of national leadership in urban design and historic preservation.  The presentation took place at the 26th annual Accent on Architecture Gala in Washington, D.C. in front of over 400 innovators and decision-makers in design, government, business, and education.

Mayor Riley was first elected in 1975 and is serving an unprecedented tenth term in office. Under his leadership, Charleston has developed nationally acclaimed affordable housing and has experienced remarkable revitalization of its waterfront and historic downtown business district. As a founding father and champion of the Mayors’ Institute on City Design, a leadership initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the American Architectural Foundation and the United States Conference of Mayors, Mayor Riley has also helped provide critical urban design support to mayors.

AAF President and CEO Ron Bogle, Hon. AIA, said, “In his 40 years as the Mayor of Charleston, Joseph Riley has effectively engaged architecture and design as tools to dramatically transform Charleston and to drive powerful economic, social and cultural changes in his city. The Mayor’s passion for architecture, urban design, and historic preservation have elevated him to a position of extraordinary national leadership.  And as founder of the Mayors’ Institute on City Design, Mayor Riley has created an institution that will continue to influence the quality of design in American cities.  Simply stated, his influence on the design of American cities is unequaled. Mayor Riley has set a high standard for civic leadership in the 21st century, and AAF is honored to pay tribute to our longtime friend and colleague for his many contributions.”

Mayor Riley is also the namesake of the Joseph P. Riley Jr. Award for Leadership in Urban Design, presented annually at the Accent on Architecture Gala by AAF and the United States Conference of Mayors.  The Riley Award honors mayors whose commitment to excellence in urban design reflects the outstanding example set by the award’s namesake.  In January 2015, President Obama announced his intention to appoint Mayor Riley to the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation “as the agency’s representative for the nation’s mayors.”

Among other honors, Mayor Riley received the 2009 National Medal of the Arts, the 2004 Olmsted Medal from the American Society of Landscape Architects, and the inaugural J.C. Nichols Prize for visionary Urban Development from the Urban Land Institute in 2000.  He received a B.A. from The Citadel and a J.D. from the University of South Carolina School of Law.

The annual Accent on Architecture Gala helps demonstrate design’s potential for improving lives and transforming communities.  Proceeds from the Accent on Architecture Gala directly support the work of the American Architectural Foundation.



Photo courtesy of David Hathcox Photography.
Video courtesy of GVI.

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Posted in: Accent on Architecture Gala, Center for the Advancement of Architecture, Print, Uncategorized

The American Architectural Foundation has been dedicated to advancing the role of architecture and design in American society since its founding in 1943 by the American Institute of Architects.

In its 75 years in existence the Foundation’s work has taken many forms — from educational programming and exhibitions in its early years to large-scale design initiatives and programs —all of which serve to create a rich legacy.

As the managing partner of the Mayors’ Institute on City Design for twenty years, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the United States Conference of Mayors, the Foundation helped move the needle on design and cities. And, through its other signature programs like Save America’s Treasures in partnership with National Parks Service, the Sustainable Cities Design Academy, and Design for Learning, the Foundation has provided critical design leadership training and technical assistance to hundreds of elected officials, education leaders, business leaders, and other key decision makers in the design process.

In recent years, cities and civic leaders have embraced design and design thinking in a way that could not have been imagined when the Foundation begin its work back in 1943 — and AAF’s role in this transformation is a source of great pride for the Foundation. With this increased interest in the role of design in shaping our cities came a proliferation of new organizations to support and facilitate this cultural shift. These advances in the role of design in American society and changes in the nonprofit design sector, coupled with the departure of the organization’s longest-serving CEO, prompted the Foundation’s Board to embark on an intensive and lengthy process to examine the ongoing role and work of the Foundation.

As the Board of Regents reflected on the positive changes of the cultural value of design, the accomplishments of the Foundation, and how the legacy of the Foundation’s work is being carried out by its former staff in new roles and organizations across the country, they reached the conclusion that the American Architectural Foundation had accomplished what it set out to do. As a result, the Foundation began to complete its remaining programs and wind down its operations in the Summer of 2018 and the organization’s endowments have been distributed to allied organizations. The Foundation’s research and reports will remain available on its website as a resource to the field.

The Foundation’s work would not have been possible without the incredible talents of its many staff over the decades, the generous support of its funders, and the tireless dedication of its civic & design partners across the country. The Board remains deeply proud of the significant contributions Foundation has made in its 75-year history and would like to acknowledge that this would not have been possible without the efforts, dedication, and support from so many of you.