Stephen Ayers, FAIA, Architect of the Capitol, has been selected as the 2018 recipient of the Thomas Jefferson Award for Public Architecture. The Thomas Jefferson Award for Public Architecture recognizes architects in the public and private sectors, public officials, or other individuals who design distinguished public facilities and/or who advocate for design excellence. Ayers will be honored at the AIA Conference on Architecture 2018 in New York City.
As the 11th Architect of the Capitol, a position he was appointed to by President Barack Obama in 2010, Ayers cares for the nation’s architectural treasures and uses his prominent voice to advance the profession. His leadership has seen him testify before Congress on more than 50 occasions, where his keen insight on matters of historic preservation, long-range master planning, and sustainability has elevated the discourse on good design to the national level.
A recognized leader in sustainability, Ayers guides more than 2,300 employees and a $600 million budget in the stewardship of some of America’s most important buildings. He oversaw completion of the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, a project that was well over budget and behind schedule when he was appointed. When he committed to a completion date and final budget — both of which proved to be accurate — Ayers demonstrated to Congress that the country’s architects can lead and deliver. More recently, his restoration of the Capitol dome and rotunda repaired more than 1,000 cracks and deficiencies in the structure.
Ayers has received several design awards from the AIA for his restorations of the Thomas Jefferson Building and U.S. Botanic Garden Conservatory, among others, and initiated and oversaw a comprehensive master plan for the U.S. Capitol complex. The plan was developed concurrently with one for the National Mall, and encompassed the House of Representatives, Senate, Library of Congress, and Supreme Court. His widely recognized sustainability initiative for the Capitol Complex has resulted in a 30 percent reduction in energy consumption across the campus, with a further 20 percent reduction on the horizon. As the voice of the profession at the highest levels of government, Ayers’ commitment to the past and concern for the future enhance projects nationwide.
The jury for the 2018 Thomas Jefferson Award includes: Rik Master, FAIA (Chair), USG Corporation; Patrick Burke, FAIA, Columbia University; Lindsey Graff, Assoc. AIA, Ayers Saint Gross Architects; Libby Haslam, AIA, GSBS Architects; and R. Steven Lewis, FAIA, TRC Energy Services.