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.