The Board of Directors and the Strategic Council of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) today honored Mithun with the 2023 AIA Architecture Firm Award.
The annual AIA Architecture Firm Award is the highest honor the AIA bestows on an architecture practice. The award recognizes a firm that has consistently produced distinguished architecture for at least 10 years.
Mithun, founded by University of Washington Professor Omer Mithun in 1949, is an integrated design firm that introduces positive change through its holistic, interdisciplinary pursuit of architecture. At its founding, Mithun emerged as an award-winning firm producing Mid-century Modern work across the Pacific Northwest. True to Omer Mithun’s curious spirit, the firm engaged in early explorations in passive solar design. Today, the firm has additional offices in San Francisco and Los Angeles, but its 180 professionals espouse a “one studio, three doors” spirit as they advance Mithun’s mission: Design for Positive Change.
With a deep belief in design’s ability to change people’s lives and connect them deeply to place, the firm embraces its 70-year history of excellence but remains committed to addressing today’s critical challenges. In doing so, Mithun carefully balances three crucial outcomes of a successful modern architecture practice: beautiful design, an eager embrace of sustainability leadership, and commitment to the social contract.
Mithun has remained at the forefront of the sustainable design movement since the 1990s and was among the earliest signatories to the AIA 2030 Commitment. Mithun’s portfolio includes seven AIA COTE Top Ten Award-winning projects, 11 certified net-zero energy buildings, and four buildings with Living Building Challenge certification. In addition, its sustainability research is shared widely with the profession through countless presentations and publications as well as design tools such as buildcarbonneutral.org, which design professionals across the country regularly access.
As a multigenerational firm founded by a professor celebrated for his mentoring ability, Mithun has long explored ways to empower its junior designers and professionals early in their careers. The firm was an early adopter of emerging design and visualization technologies, centering those tools within a culture of mentorship and integrated design. The resulting concept, which Mithun called the coLAB, is a central component in its offices, allowing the next generation of design leaders to spur innovation. Within the coLAB, designers of all levels rely on digital and analog tools to uncover bold new ideas together.
Visit AIA’s website to learn more about Mithun’s selection as the 2023 AIA Architecture Firm Award recipient.