The American Institute of Architects (AIA) EVP and Chief Executive Officer Robert Ivy, FAIA, is being awarded the Noel Polk Lifetime Achievement Award by the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters (MIAL).
This marks the first time an architect has received the Polk Award, which is given to living Mississippi-connected artists and art patrons whose body of work over a lifetime of creating, performing, and/or supporting art is extraordinary and worthy of special honor. He joins a small list of distinguished Mississippians to be so honored, which commenced with the writer Eudora Welty (2001) and includes actor Morgan Freeman (2007), writer Shelby Foote (2004), the late artist Walter Anderson (1989), and singer Leontyne Price (2000).
“When it comes to making architecture more accessible to the general public, there’s really no one else from Mississippi like Robert Ivy,” said MIAL President Nancy LaForge. “As a writer, author and commentator on architecture worldwide, Ivy now takes his rightful place in an acclaimed list of Noel Polk Award honorees.”
“As the CEO of AIA since 2011, and as an author, editor and practicing architect, Robert Ivy is a worthy ambassador for our profession,” said AIA President Carl Elefante, FAIA. “This award comes as a crowning personal and professional achievement for him as a native of Mississippi. On behalf of the AIA, I am truly delighted to congratulate him on this unique honor.”
Ivy was formerly Editor-in-Chief of McGraw-Hill’s Architectural Record prior to joining the AIA in 2011. Under Ivy’s leadership, Architectural Record became the most widely disseminated architectural journal worldwide and garnered numerous awards, including the National Magazine Award for General Excellence. Ivy also led McGraw-Hill’s design and construction media during its explosive growth in China—where he launched a Mandarin version of Architectural Record—and the Middle East.
Ivy’s authoritative biography Fay Jones: Architect was published in 2001 and is now in its third edition. The book showcases the work of the American architect who was a devotee of Frank Lloyd Wright. The Art Library Society of North America cited Fay Jones: Architect for “the highest standards of scholarship, design, and production.”
At the AIA, Ivy has significantly grown the global footprint of the Institute, which is at its highest membership level in its 160-year-old history. Today, America’s architects are practicing around the world, aided by seven global chapters of the AIA, including new chapters in China and Canada.
Ivy was previously honored by the national architecture fraternity Alpha Rho Chi, for his effectiveness in communicating the value of design. He shares the designation Master Architect with iconic architects such as Mies van der Rohe, Richard Buckminster Fuller, and I.M. Pei. He is one of seven to receive this honor in the fraternity’s 100-year history and the only architect selected in the 21st century. In addition, in 2017, Ivy received the Dean’s Medal from the University of Arkansas Fay Jones School of Architecture.
After earning his Bachelor of Arts in English from Sewanee: The University of the South, Ivy attended Tulane University where he received a Master of Architecture degree. Prior to becoming an architect, Ivy served as an officer in the U.S. Navy.
At an event on June 2, MIAL will honor both Ivy and stained-glass designer Andrew Cary Young of Pearl River Glass Studio of Jackson, Mississippi, with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
In addition to the occasional lifetime achievement awards, each year, MIAL recognizes creative individuals with an award in their specific fields. Authors Walker Percy, Richard Ford, Barry Hannah, and Ellen Gilchrist are among those who have been honored in past annual cycles. A complete list of this year’s award recipients, as well as previous winners, is available on the MIAL’s website.
Supported by Mississippi Institutes of Higher Learning, MIAL is a privately funded, non-profit organization.