The board of directors and strategic council of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) announced David Leatherbarrow is the 2020 recipient of the AIA/ACSA Topaz Medallion for Excellence in Architectural Education.
The AIA/ACSA Topaz Medallion honors an individual who has been intensely involved in architecture education for more than a decade and whose teaching has influenced a broad range of students.
For nearly four decades, professor David Leatherbarrow has trained reflective practitioners through his graduate and undergraduate courses exploring the interdependence of design and theory. He has supervised 30 dissertations and advised an additional 30 that included leaders from around the world.
At the University of Pennsylvania’s Stuart Weitzman School of Design, where he has taught since 1984, Leatherbarrow levied his scholarship to create a foundational culture that persists to this day. For 20 years, he led the school’s first-year studio, which he coupled with a course focused on his signature integration of design and theory. In addition, he has taught the required first-semester course in the school’s Ph.D. program, and his instruction has established fluency in architecture’s theories and history for countless scholars and teachers. His academic leadership at Penn placed him at multiple levels of design education, including two stints as associate dean and department chair, two decades as PhD program chair, and interim leadership of the school’s urban design and undergraduate architecture programs. Prior to his tenure at Penn, Leatherbarrow taught in England at Cambridge University and the University of Westminster.