M. Arthur Gensler Jr. Honored With George White Award at the 27th Annual Accent on Architecture Gala

M. Arthur Gensler Jr., FAIA, FIIDA, RIBA, founder of the global architecture firm Gensler, received the 2016 George M. White Award for Excellence in Public Architecture at the 27thannual Accent on Architecture Gala on May 26th. The Gala, held at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C., celebrates individuals and organizations whose professional accomplishments combine architecture with civic and community betterment.

Mr. Gensler founded Gensler Architects in 1965 when he was 28 years old. At that time, office interiors were an afterthought, and Mr. Gensler seized the opening. He quickly became an expert in sleek workplace design and grew his fledgling firm into the world’s largest architectural practice. In 2015, the Gensler firm reached its 50-year mark and has grown into a privately held company with 46 offices in 14 countries and over 4,000 employees. Gensler’s work has expanded from office interiors to 27 practice areas including retail spaces, tall buildings, and product design. Notably, Gensler designed the first 100 Apple stores, the Shanghai Tower, both the Facebook and Airbnb headquarters, the San Francisco International Airport, Terminal 2, and thousands of other projects worldwide.

Chair of AAF’s Board of Regents, John Syvertsen, FAIA says, “Art Gensler is a truly remarkable American architect who, during his distinguished career, has advanced the practice of architecture globally while also elevating the practice of interior design to the highest professional standing. Art is the founder and leader of one of the world’s largest and most significant design firms. When we think of Art, we not only call to mind the innumerable architectural, interior design, and planning accomplishments around the world, but also a particularly positive, challenging, and supportive firm culture that is truly unique in the world. No one who has practiced architecture in America in the past half century does not know who Art is, whether they have personally met him or not. Is there are more admired and respected leader in our field today?”

Mr. Gensler is no longer CEO of Gensler, but he has not stopped making an impact in the design world. He serves on the board of trustees at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and California College of the Arts. Alongside trustee, architect, and CEO, he can call himself an author as well. In March of 2015, he published, Art’s Principles: 50 years of hard-learned lessons in building world-class professional services firm. The highly-rated book shares strategies and tools for individuals to excel in business.

Mr. Gensler is also a recipient of IIDA’s Star Award, Ernst & Young LLP’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Cornell Entrepreneur of the Year Award. He is a charter member of Interior Design magazine’s Hall of Fame and a member of Cornell University’s College of Architecture, Art and Planning’s Advisory Council.

“We are honored to add Art Gensler’s name to the list of those honored with AAF’s George M. White Award. Especially on this, the 50th anniversary of his launch of the global firm that carries his name. Joining David M. Childs, FAIA, and Kevin Roach, FAIA, Art joins a growing list of architects who have shaped the architectural profession and influenced design of our cities and places of work, worship, play and learning,” said AAF President and CEO Ronald E. Bogle, Hon. AIA.

The George M. White Award was established in 2012, and is named for the late George M. White, FAIA, who during his 25-year tenure as the Ninth Architect of the Capitol oversaw key construction and restoration projects in and around Washington, D.C., including the construction of Library of Congress’ James Madison Memorial Building, the Hart Senate Office Building and the Thurgood Marshall Federal Judiciary Building, and the restoration of the Old Supreme Court Chamber and the Old Senate Chamber.



Slideshow photographs courtesy of David Hathcox.

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Posted in: Accent on Architecture Gala, Center for the Advancement of Architecture, George M. White Award, Print

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.