Announcing the 2017 Richard Morris Hunt Prize Fellow & Scholar

The American Architectural Foundation (AAF) and the French Heritage Society (FHS) have named architect Beth A. Jacob, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP BD+C, the 27th Fellow of the Richard Morris Hunt Prize (RMHP) and Constance C. Lai, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP BD+C, as the fourth Scholar of the Richard Morris Hunt Prize.

As the 2017 Fellow, Jacob will spend six months in France studying how public markets serve as catalysts for urban revitalization. She will focus on French approaches to the preservation and adaptive reuse of public markets, taking into account the architectural, social, and cultural significance of these distinctive structures. Jacob is a Principal at Clio Associates LLC in New Orleans and has a Master of Preservation Studies from Tulane University and a Master of Architecture from the University of California, Berkeley.

Ms. Lai, the Manager of Historic Preservation Services for the Grunley Construction Company, has a Master of Science in Architecture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. As the 2017 Scholar, she will spend five weeks in France exploring construction quality control issues and comparing American and French methodologies.

“We are excited to welcome both Beth and Constance as Richard Morris Hunt Prize honorees and believe that they will support the rich tradition of scholarship that the Prize is known for,” said Ron Bogle, AAF President and CEO and RMHP Co-Chair. “Their backgrounds in architecture and historic preservation reflect the missions of both the Prize and AAF’s Center for Design & Cultural Heritage, and we look forward to including their work as a part of the body of research completed by previous Fellows and Scholars.”

“The research Beth and Constance carried out bore the important fruit this Prize will help disseminate, enriching both their lives and their profession,” said Michèle le Menestrel Ullrich, FHS Founding President and RMHP Founder and Co-Chair. “An exceptional Jury deemed both worthy to join the ranks of the Hunt Prize Laureates. We wish them a fine journey as they enter our family.”

About the Richard Morris Hunt Prize

Created in 1990 in partnership with AAF and FHS, the RMHP permits a French-American exchange of architects specializing in historic preservation in a contemporary architectural context.

Named for the first American architect to graduate from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, Richard Morris Hunt (1827-1895), the RMHP names two award recipients annually: the RMH Fellow and RMH Scholar.

The Richard Morris Hunt Prize Fellow

A French-American Jury convenes each year to award the RMHP alternatively to an American or French architect committed to a reflection and personal immersion in the preservation of patrimony, historic or contemporary. The architect is chosen for the excellence of his/her credentials, his/her leadership ability, and his/her research project’s potential for development. A six-month trip, divided in two or three periods, takes place alternatively in America or France and is assisted by the Managing Teams of the RMHP.

The RMHP provides the Fellow with an exceptional opportunity to research the chosen topic he/she has defined to the Jury. He/she meets highly qualified, experienced experts, visiting unique sites. It is a total immersion, confronting him or her with different philosophies, approaches, and customs. A Final Report is presented one year after the Fellowship’s conclusion.

The annual stipend for the RMH Fellow is made possible through a partnership with LafargeHolcim.

The Richard Morris Hunt Prize Scholar

Since 2011, the RMHP Jury gives an opportunity to an architect with the characteristics outlined above to spend five weeks in France or America with the assistance of the RMH Managing Teams. A Final Report is due six months after the end of the Scholar period.

The annual stipend for the RMH Scholar is made possible by an anonymous American donor.

Both the Fellow and Scholar become part of the RMHP Laureates network of experts renowned for their professional excellence and their personal qualities, today comprised of 27 Fellows and four Scholars from 1990 to 2016.

More information on the Prize is available at

Photo: Beth A. Jacob (L) and Constance C. Lai (R)

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Posted in: News, Print, Richard Morris Hunt Prize

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.