01-29-20 | Association News

AIA Names Recipient of Its 2020 Architecture Firm Award

Selected by AIA's Jury of 7 Members

Architecture Research Office staff.

The American Institute of Architects has announced the winner of its 2020 Architecture Firm Award. Architecture Research Office (ARO) has been named as this year's recipient.

With architecture that is simultaneously humanistic and analytical, ARO, has, over 25 years, crafted a reputation for imaginative work that emerges from the firm's relentless exploration, according to AIA. Continually advancing the built environment, the firm pushes boundaries and leverages research and an inquisitive methodology to continually answer the question, "What's next?"

Founded in 1993, the firm is led by principals Stephen Cassell, FAIA, Kim Yao, AIA, and Adam Yarinsky, FAIA. With a staff of just 30, the firm's portfolio includes a broad range of work that has been widely celebrated and recognized with six AIA Honor Awards, the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award for Architecture, and the Academy Award for Architecture from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 2018, ARO was named AIA New York's firm of the year. Whether it's a 500-square-foot recruiting station in Times Square for the nation's armed forces or a new campus for the Rothko Chapel, the inception of each project is marked with a deep dive into the client's mission and culture so that the firm can emerge as the client's biggest advocate. ARO's approach, rather than a signature style, serves as the common thread running through each project, the Institute added.

"ARO's work, ranging from their extensive work on additional American University campuses to the cultural work they are doing for the Rothko Chapel and have done for the Judd Foundation to the research work that they've done on urban climate issues as well as material fabrication, has been consistently tight in its articulation (no excess), but it emerges from a keen understanding of each project and a keen appreciation for each deployed material rather than coming from a school of minimalism," Sarah M. Whiting, Assoc. AIA, dean and Josep LluA-s Sert, professor of architecture at Harvard University, wrote in a letter supporting ARO's nomination for the award.

"It takes the tireless efforts of firms like Architectural Research Office to construct a positive working environment within their offices that develop skills, discipline, and deep values to empower every young professional to achieve their own measure of success and purpose towards lifelong contributions to the profession and the broad realm of architecture," wrote Marlon Blackwell, FAIA, in a letter supporting ARO's nomination. "I, too, admire their willingness to admit that they know enough to know that they don't know."

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