Congratulations to AIA Seattle member Amanda Snelson AIA, for being a recipient of the AIA National 2024 Young Architects Award!

With the heart of a mother and the spirit of an activist, Amanda Snelson AIA, treats architecture as an adaptable tool to serve communities and shape a more sustainable and equitable world. Never shy about sharing the challenges she has faced on her journey to motherhood and balancing her career while parenting two young children, she leads with empathy as she encourages other women in the profession – including in her role as Co-Chair for AIA Seattle’s Women in Design Committee.

Snelson’s path to architecture began with a love of art and a knack for geometry. Growing up in the Ozarks, she dreamed of making big things one day, just like her ironworker father. Now, across 13 years of practice, she has left her mark on a wide array of projects, from small renovations to multi-million dollar life science projects. She began her career as a daylight analyst and modeler and has already risen to associate principal at ZGF Architects. In each of her roles, she has displayed a true passion for the profession and a deep understanding of the ways design affects communities.

Pursuing meaningful citizenship has long been an imperative for Snelson. Her first involvement with AIA was in Springfield, Missouri, where she volunteered on AIA Springfield’s events committee. Later, while at Dake Wells Architecture, she helped organize the firm’s participation in community events, curating window displays for downtown art walks and encouraging her colleagues to participate in bike-to-work weeks. She also founded and organized seven local PechaKucha Nights, which were affiliated with the globally acclaimed events series, and collaborated with 55 local artists and community members. Because of her community engagement efforts in Springfield, 417 Magazine placed Snelson on its 20 under 30 list in 2012.

Her engagement continued when she moved to Los Angeles, where she served on AIA Los Angeles’ Design Awards Committee. As she sat for her licensure exams, she became involved with NCARB, and in 2016, seeking to make the path easier for other aspiring architects, she spoke about licensure at the AIA Conference on Architecture.

Throughout her career, Snelson has been a staunch advocate for sustainability and has been involved in her firm’s AIA 2030 Commitments and firmwide reporting. She has worked with ZGF’s project performance team as the Los Angeles liaison, gathering data for more than 30 existing projects and ensuring all new projects were reported. Due to her tireless efforts in the realm of sustainability, she received the DuPont Emerging Leaders Scholarship from the Design Futures Council.

As she continues to add to her professional toolkit, Snelson proves that it’s possible to be a mother and a successful leader in the studio. She contributes to the culture and well-being at ZGF’s Seattle office, where she is currently working on tenant improvement projects for Seattle Children’s Hospital.

The American Institute of Architects selected 30 recipients for the 2024 Young Architects Award, which honors individuals who have demonstrated exceptional leadership and made significant contributions to the architecture profession early in their careers.

Read about the other AIA National Young Architect Award Recipients.