April 13, 2018
Happy Birthday to our Nation’s Only Architect President, Thomas Jefferson
Today AIA New Jersey recognizes the birthday of our great nation’s third president, Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson lived from April 13, 1743 – July 4, 1826. He was the primary author of our Declaration of Independence. He was an American Founding Father but what sets him apart from his peers, from our perspective, is the fact that he was a most accomplished architect of the classic tradition. The only architect so far to serve as president of the United States of America.
Thomas Jefferson won the AIA Gold Medal, posthumously, in 1993. The AIA Gold Medal is awarded by the American Institute of Architects conferred “by the national AIA Board of Directors in recognition of a significant body of work of lasting influence on the theory and practice of architecture.” It is the Institute’s highest award. Since 1947, the medal has been awarded more or less annually and is considered one of the most prestigious awards in the architecture world.
Photo credit: UVA Jefferson Grounds Initiative
Jefferson designed his own home, Monticello, and the University of Virginia, both in Charlottesville, VA. The sites were inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1987 as well as being included on the United States National Park Service‘s online travel itinerary.
Official Presidential portrait of Thomas Jefferson (by Rembrandt Peale, 1800)
The American Institute of Architects also has an award named after the man, the Thomas Jefferson Awards for Public Architecture.
“Any AIA member, group of members, component, or AIA knowledge community may nominate candidates in the following three categories honoring Thomas Jefferson’s contributions to architecture:
- Category one: private sector architects licensed in the US with an established portfolio of accomplishment in distinguished public facilities
- Category two: public sector architects employed in the US public sector or in US government agencies that manage or produce public architecture
- Category three: public officials or private individuals advocating for or furthering public awareness and appreciation of quality public architecture
Great public architecture embodies the identity and values of a society. The Thomas Jefferson Awards for Public Architecture recognize architects in the public and private sectors, public officials, or other individuals who design distinguished public facilities and/or who advocate for design excellence.
A self-taught architect who designed his own and colleagues’ homes, Jefferson wrote extensively on architecture, developed an architectural style that’s still influential today, and positioned architecture as an essential element in establishing the new nation and capital.” ~ aia.org
By Stacey Ruhle Kliesch, AIA, AIA NJ Advocacy Consultant | Posted in Historic Resources, NJ Architect Newsletter | Tagged: #AIA, #AIAGoldMedal, #AmericanInstituteofArchitects, #ARCHWEEK18, #CharlottesvilleVA, #classicalarchitecture, #Monticello, #RembrandtPeale, #ThomasJefferson, #UnitedStatesNationalParkService, #UniversityofVirginia, #UVA, #WorldHeritageList, Architect, President | Comments (0)