AIANY President Jill Lerner aims to change Gold Medal rule

It’s been a bit of an AIANY week on WAN’s New York Metroblog. But a piece of news in today’s Architectural Record about AIANY’s President Jill Lerner spearheading an effort to change the rules by which the Gold Medal is awarded is worthy of a post.

As our readers know, the Gold Medal is the highest honor that the American Institute of Architects can bestow on an individual in recognition of a significant body of work of lasting influence.   But the rules state that the award can only go to an individual.  As Cathleen McGuigan, Arch Record’s editor-in-chief, points out, that individual doesn’t have to be an architect, an American or even living.  Lerner wants to change the rule so that “two or more individuals practicing together” could be awarded the Gold Medal in the future “but only if their collaborative efforts over time are recognized as having created a singular body of distinguished work.”

Needless to say such a change would mirror the current practice of the Pritzker Foundation to give its distinguished architecture prize to more than one person.  Lerner, along with former AIANY President George Miller, introduced the proposal Tuesday at a luncheon honoring Denise Scott Brown.  According to McGuigan, Brown said that she and her husband collaborator, Robert Venturi, had submitted for the Gold Medal on four different occasions but each time the submissions were returned because they were for both of them.

The initiative to rewrite the Gold Medal rules is timely and long overdue.  Lerner’s more inclusive proposal is on fast track and could be considered by AIA’s national board of directors as early as June 18th, when the board next meets at the AIA National Convention.

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