2023 Honor Awards

Redefine design to be inclusive, contextual, and impactful.

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The Honor Awards for Washington Architecture is AIA Seattle’s annual marquee program, drawing hundreds of attendees to a lecture-style event of unique rigor and breadth. This nationally-recognized program provides an important opportunity for the design community to share and celebrate its achievements, both among practitioners and with the community at-large.

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Every year, jurors praise submissions that reveal the story behind the marketing images. What concepts and considerations drove the design? How did the design team creatively address the project parameters and client goals? Did the true design intent materialize in the project? What is the project’s benefit or impact? Ultimately, what makes this an award winning project? Submitters were encouraged to use the project narrative, captions, and inclusion of process work as opportunities to tell a design story.

In addition to the jury’s own criteria, the AIA Seattle community has identified four considerations for the submission review process: Inspiration, Problem-Solving, Environmental Sensitivity, Social Impact. The integration of the Common App into the submission process also raises awareness of the Framework for Design Excellence.

Jury Deliberations will occur during Jury Weekend in Seattle, November 3-6, 2023:

  • Friday, November 3 | The jury arrives, having reviewed all submitted projects ahead of time.
  • Saturday, November 4 | The jury deliberates and determines a shortlist of projects. From this shortlist, they will determine which eligible BUILT projects they would like to visit.
    • The Honor Awards Committee will contact Site Visit Contacts on Saturday to coordinate Sunday visits. Site Visit Contacts must be authorized to organize a hosted site visit on Sunday, November 5.
    • SITE VISITS ARE ANONYMOUS. The project design team shall not be present.
  • Sunday, November 5 | Site visits occur, followed by the jury finalizing their selection of this year’s award recipients for all award categories.
  • Monday, November 6 | The jury will discuss and present their official award selections for the first time on-stage at the Live Event at Town Hall Seattle.

Awards are the final determination of the jury.


Katie Ackerly AIA, LEED AP, CPHC | David Baker ArchitectsBerkeley, CA
Katie Ackerly, AIA, is Principal and Sustainable Design Director at David Baker Architects, an award-winning architecture firm known for elevating the design of multi-family housing. Katie joined DBA in 2012, and over the years has brought focus and heft to the firm’s sustainable design goals, positioning DBA at the forefront of decarbonization and resilience initiatives in affordable housing design and construction. Katie draws on a background in building science and energy-efficiency policy, including graduate studies with the Center for the Built Environment. She brings DBA into critical conversations and approaches to sustainable  multifamily housing, informing research reports and design guidelines and sharing her knowledge through writings and workshops. She has been active in the International Living Future Institute’s Affordable Housing pilot program and she currently leads DBA’s collaborations with RMI on several government-funded initiatives to catalyze equitable zero-carbon retrofits for existing affordable housing.
Steven Lewis, FAIA, NOMAC, LEED AP | ZGF Architects | Los Angeles, CA
Steven Lewis is an architect and a tireless advocate for social justice and diversity within the field of architecture. He is currently a principal with the firm ZGF Architects, where he leads the Los Angeles office’s urban design practice. Prior to joining ZGF, Steven was appointed to the position of Urban Design Director for the City’s Central Region, where he played a key role in shaping the vision of present and future development. Steven is the AIA 2016 Whitney M. Young, Jr. Award recipient, and was elevated to the AIA College of Fellows in December of 2015. Steven was a Loeb Fellow at the Harvard Design School for the 2006-07 academic year. More than anything, Steven is a facilitator of partnerships and alliances between groups and individuals who seek to use architecture and design to effect positive change to our world.
Katie Swenson | MASS Design Group | Boston, MA
A nationally recognized design leader, researcher, writer, and educator, Katie Swenson is a Senior Principal at MASS Design Group, where she leads the Advocacy team. Katie’s work explores how critical design practice can, and should, promote economic and social equity, environmental sustainability, and healthy communities. She has over 20 years of experience in the theoretical and practical applications of design thinking and is a talented global public speaker and thought leader. A prolific writer, Katie authored Design with Love: At Home in America and In Bohemia: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Kindness. She co-authored Growing Urban Habitats: Seeking a Housing Development Model with William Morrish and Susanne Schindler. Katie was awarded the AIA Award for Excellence in Public Architecture in 2021. Prior to joining MASS, Katie was the vice president of Design & Sustainability at Enterprise Community Partners. An alumni of the Enterprise Rose Fellowship’s second class, she was tapped to lead and grow the program in 2007. Katie founded the Charlottesville Community Design Center in 2004. Katie teaches at the Parsons School of Design at The New School and lectures extensively on sustainable community development and
affordable housing.
Moderator: Joshua McNichols | KUOW | Seattle, WA
Joshua McNichols reports on growth and development for KUOW Public Radio in Seattle. Radio is Joshua’s second career. His first was in architecture: After earning a BA in Architecture from the UW, he worked in architecture firms around Seattle for about a decade. As a reporter, Joshua focuses on how we can live together in cities as climate change and economic inequality render more places inhospitable or unaffordable. He loves to interview architects and architecture students for his stories because their work often inspires faith that the future can be changed and improved. Building anything that lasts requires this faith. If you really want to get him talking, ask Joshua how a good radio story is like a building. He can give you a 20-minute answer, but like any good radio reporter, he can also boil it down to less than a minute.


Initiated in 2018, the Young Voices Selection (YVS) program aims to elevate and engage the voices of young designers through direct participation and representation in AIA Seattle’s Honor Awards for Washington Architecture. Three young designers, nominated by firm leaders and selected by the Honor Awards Committee, will be given the opportunity to review, deliberate, and select ONE Built project submission. This chosen project, the “Young Voices Selection,” will be recognized at the live event in November and selected by this year’s Young Voices…

  • Max Hunold | GO’C
  • Shoshanna Sidell | SkB Architects
  • Stacy (Yubei) Song | NBBJ


Questions about the Honor Awards? Contact Programs Manager, Zoe Guckenheimer

Questions about attending the Live Event? Contact Senior Programs Coordinator, Andrea Aguilera

Sponsorship Questions? Contact Executive Director, Melissa K. Neher


Special thanks to the Honor Awards Committee who plans and executes AIA Seattle’s Honor Awards for Washington Architecture!


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