The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has selected 18 recipients for the 2014 AIA Young Architects Award. Young Architects are defined as professionals who have been licensed 10 years or fewer regardless of their age. This award, now in its 21st year, honors individuals who have shown exceptional leadership and made significant contributions to the profession early in their careers.
Illya Azaroff, AIA 
Azaroff earned a Bachelor of Art in Geography as well as a Bachelor of Science in Architecture Studies from the University of Nebraska. He then went on to receive a Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch) and Master of Architecture (M.Arch) from the Pratt Institute. Azaroff is the founding principal of +lab Architects in Brooklyn. He serves on AIANY board as the Alternate Director of Public Outreach and the AIANYS board as the New York Regional Director for the Young Architects Forum. Azaroff is well published for his research in resilient design practices and prototypes of relief shelters.
Thomas Bradley Benjamin, AIA 
Benjamin graduated from Clemson University in 1999 with degrees in both Architecture and Construction Science & Management. After working at the firm Craig Gaulden Davis for 12 years, Benjamin founded Radium Architecture in Greenville, S.C. He has held numerous leadership positions within the AIA, such as the 2009 President of AIA Greenville, where he implemented the components first ever strategic plan. Benjamin is the current Chair of the AIA’s Young Architects Forum. He is a member of the BD+C 40 Under 40 Class of 2012.
Joshua Flowers, AIA 
Flowers graduated magna cum laude from the University of Tennessee with a B.Arch in 2001, returning to his alma mater to earn a Doctor of Jurisprudence in 2005. As the 2012 President of AIA Memphis, Flowers was instrumental in increasing funding for component programs. Licensed as both an architect and an attorney, Flowers serves as in-house legal counsel for Hnedak Bobo Group (HBG) a national leader in hospitality and mixed use design. He is a member of the BD+C 40 Under 40 Class of 2013.
Frantom earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Architecture from The Ohio State University and his M.Arch from Rice University. Currently he is a Senior Architectural Designer and Associate with Gensler Los Angeles. Frantom’s innovative work and collaborative approach to design is enhanced through his strong belief in the mentorship of emerging professionals, maintained ties to academia, and applied research. Frantom has impacted a broad range of platforms in the profession and has made significant contributions early in his career, demonstrating great promise to the future of the architectural profession and to the AIA.
Nathan Kalaher, AIA 
Kalaher earned a Bachelor of Science in Community and Regional Planning as well as a B.Arch from Iowa State University and an M.Arch from Cornell University. He co-founded PLaN Architecture, a firm focused on community engagement and design. He has received numerous awards including consecutive Design Excellence Awards from AIA Iowa in 2012 and 2013. In 2007 he was recognized as an Iowa Innovator by IaBiz Magazine in 2012 as well as being selected to their “10 under 40” list. Kalaher is heavily involved with his state component and is currently the President of AIA Iowa.
Evelyn M. Lee, AIA 
Lee has held elected leadership positions at the AIA, on local, regional, and national boards with the distinct honor of being the youngest member to serve on AIA National’s Executive Committee. She earned a Master of Business Administration from the Presidio Graduate School of Management, B.Arch with Honors and a Minor in Global Studies and Photography from Drury University, and M.Arch from the Southern California Institute of Architecture. Lee’s work has been published in multiple media outlets, and has driven the profession in a more environmentally, economically, and socially responsible direction.
Timothy W. Maddox, AIA 
After graduating cum laude with a B.Arch from the University of Arkansas, Maddox partnered with Tim de Noble to create the firm denoblearchitecture, which was soon changed to deMx architecture with him as the Principal-in-Charge. Under his leadership, the firm has grown and has received numerous design awards. Encouraged by his commitment to serving the profession, AIA Arkansas leadership placed Maddox on the Board of Directors and last year he was voted in as the Secretary for AIA Arkansas.
Daniel Overbey, AIA 
Overbey earned a B.Arch degree from Ball State University and his M.Arch from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He has served as an educator at several institutions as well as held several positions at the local, regional, national level within the AIA. He has authored numerous white-papers on his research work in the field of sustainable design. Overbeys research-based background in building science and environmental systems has enabled him to be an effective design leader, educator, and policy shaper.
Mark Pasnik, AIA 
In 2006 Pasnik co-founded over,under, an architectural and design practice. Under his leadership, the firm has grown in its interdisciplinary design work across a spectrum of scales and projects types. The office continues to present an advocacy voice through the efforts of pinkcomma, its cultural arm for research and exhibitions, which Pasnik also co-founded as Boston’s only independent design gallery. As the first guest curators for BSA Space, Pasnik and his team have launched this new public arm of the Boston Society of Architects with a series of six original exhibitions that have helped foster the BSA’s educational outreach, aiming to attract design and non-design audiences alike.
Michael P. Pfeffer, AIA 
Pfeffer earned a B.Arch from the Universityof Notre Dame and was then recruited by the firm Skidmore, Owings and Merrill LLP (SOM) where he was promoted to Associate Director, becoming one of the youngest directors in the 76-year history of the firm. Soon after arriving at SOM, Pfeffer helped create the Intern Development Program (IDP/ARE) Committee, where he continues to remain deeply involved and serves as a resource and sounding board for the junior architects in the firm who are in various stages of their licensing process.
Jason Dale Pierce, AIA 
Pierce earned both a B.Arch and Bachelor of Arts in Theatre from Drury University and is currently a project architect with HOK in St. Louis, where he also serves on the Board of Directors for AIA St. Louis. Pierce has served on the Executive Committee of the AIA California Council as the Vice President of the Academy for Emerging Professionals. Pierce is also involved with Habitat for Humanity, Next American City, Ronald McDonald House, and the Practice Management Knowledge Community Advisory Board.
Mark A. Schwamel, AIA 
Schwamel received a B.Arch from Cleveland State University and went on to earn a combined Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Architecture and Urban Design at Kent State University. Schwamel currently works for Gensler, where he also volunteers with the Rebuilding Together program, making homes warm, safe and dry for elderly or less fortunate families in the Chicago area. He is passionate about professional development and is the office architecture licensure champion, serving as the intern program coordinator and mentor. Schwamel served as the Associate Director on the AIA Chicago board as well as the AIA Illinois Regional Associate Director on the AIA National Associates Committee (NAC). He is a member of the BD+C 40 Under 40 Class of 2013.
Matt Slagle, AIA 
During high school, Slagle excelled at drafting and art and received a four-year scholarship to Baker College of Muskegon. He later transferred to the University of Colorado (CU) where he earned both a Bachelors of Business Administration and M. Arch. By his third year in the graduate program at CU, Slagle had already acquired 8 years of full-time architectural experience, making him eligible to take the Architectural Registration Exams. Slagle has served as the AIA Grand Rapids Member Services Director and has spent time volunteering at various other organizations.
Christian B. Sottile, AIA 
After graduating as Valedictorian from the Savannah College of Art and Design, Sottile was awarded a fellowship to continue urban research abroad in Italy. He earned his Master’s Degree in Urban Design and Architecture from Syracuse University and was voted among the Top 100 Academics in the nation by “USA Today”. Sottile turned his attention toward expanding the role of the architect as a leader in issues of community planning, preservation and growth. Currently, he serves as a principal of Sottile & Sottile, a Savannah-based urban design firm working in Nationally Registered Historic Districts across the United States.
Lorena Toffer, AIA 
Toffer earned a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from Monterrey Tech and a M.Arch from Texas A&M. She is a registered architect in both Texas and Mexico and has developed quite a diverse portfolio. This experience has demonstrated her broad range, being able to go from boutique projects to facilities seen by millions of people. During her leadership role as Chair of the Young Architects Forum (YAF), Toffer led the creation of two signature programs – the Portfolio/Resume Workshop and the 10 Under Ten Exhibition.
Brian Vitale, AIA 
Vitale earned a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and M.Arch with honors from Washington University in St. Louis. While at Washington University, he received the AIA’s Scholastic Gold Medal and Certificate. Vitale is currently the Design Director for the Chicago office of Gensler. He has served as an Adjunct Professor of Design at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s School of Architecture and was most recently awarded the 2010 AIA Illinois John Wellborn Root Award.
Williams earned a M.Arch degree from Florida A&M University and is currently a member of the HKS Architects Inc. Commercial Assembly and Sports and Entertainment Group. Williams is also currently an adjunct professor at Seminole State College as well as serves on the AIA Orlando board as Secretary. She served as the chairperson for Women In Architecture – Orlando. Williams is consistently working to educate people about the inner benefits of the architecture community and believes strongly in the need to market architecture to citizens of all ages.
Jeffrey M. Yrazabal, AIA 
Yrazabal earned a B.Arch from Washington State University (WSU). Following four years at Soderstrom Architects, Yrazabal joined SRG Partnership where he was promoted to Principal, one of the youngest in the firm’s history. He is the current AIA Northwest & Pacific Young Architect Regional Director, as well as President of AIA Portland. Yrazabal is also an avid volunteer, working with groups such as Rebuilding Together and Architects in Schools, and sits on the WSU Athletics Board as President of the Columbia River Cougars Club.
The jury for the 2014 Young Architects Award includes: Ronald L. Skaggs, FAIA (Chair), HKS, Inc; Lenore M. Lucey, FAIA, LML Consulting; Albert W. Rubeling, FAIA, Rubeling & Associates, Inc; John Sorrenti, FAIA, JRS Architect, PC and William J. Stanley, III, FAIA, Stanley Love-Stanley.
About The American Institute of Architects
Founded in 1857, members of the American Institute of Architects consistently work to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings, neighborhoods, and communities. Through nearly 300 state and local chapters, the AIA advocates for public policies that promote economic vitality and public well being. Members adhere to a code of ethics and conduct to ensure the highest professional standards. The AIA provides members with tools and resources to assist them in their careers and business as well as engaging civic and government leaders, and the public to find solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world. Visit www.aia.org .
Three recent BD+C "40 Under 40" winners are among the outstanding young architects recognized by the AIA.
Three recent BD+C "40 Under 40" winners are among the outstanding young architects recognized by the AIA.