AIA New Jersey Public Awareness Co-Chair William J. Martin, AIA, Recognized For Volunteer Community Service

January 16, 2020

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AIA New Jersey Public Awareness Co-Chair William J. Martin, AIA, Recognized For Volunteer Community Service

On January 11, 2020, AIA New Jersey and Architects League of Northern New Jersey  members gathered at The Treasury at Felina in Ridgewood, NJ to celebrate the inauguration and awards presentation at their co-hosted Gala.

During the event, William J. Martin, AIA, was recognized by the League for his great commitment to Community Serivce and so presented with their newest award, the Architects League Community Service Award. This award is meant to honor a league member based on their humanitarian, social impact or community endeavours. This year’s inaugural award was presented by League Past President and Awards Chair Joseph David, AIA. 

For more than 20 years, Bill has served on the Westwood Planning Board and serves as chair of the Westwood Zoning Board of Adjustment. He also serves on the Closter Historic Preservation Commission and the Bergen County Historic Preservation Advisory Board, where he has been emcee for their annual awards for the past five years. He is the principal architect and guiding influence of the firm, WJM Architect in Westwood, NJ.  Bill was educated at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA and Pratt Institute, School of Architecture in Brooklyn, NY. 

The first time award was decided by a jury of professionals from across the country. The Architects League is most grateful for the participation of Roderick Ashley, FAIA (Portland, OR), Liz Gibbons, AIA (San Francisco, CA) and Dan Hart, FAIA (Austin, TX).

At the same time as his professional colleagues were preparing to recognize Bill’s accompishments, his community was preparing an award of their own. On January 6, 2020, Westwood presented Bill with the 2020 Volunteer of the Year Award at their Zoning Board of Adjustment reorganization meeting. 

The Pascack and Northern Valley Presses report that the Mayor and Borough Council have honored William J. “Bill” Martin with the distinction in part for his “innumerable hours of service to the Borough of Westwood and its residents and incalculable contribution” to Westwood’s way of life.

Bill noted that, “I don’t do this for compensation or not-compensation; I do it to give back to the community. That’s why any of us do it.”

Martin, often lauded as a prime example of a “Citizen Architect,” not only takes time to educate the community about the value of good design and the architectural design process, but inversely makes himself available to educate his fellow architects on the merits of being a citizen architect, volunteer and providing community service. 

According to the American Institute of Architects, they encourage architects to take a greater role in the civic advocacy of their communities. As defined in 2008 by the AIA National Board of Directors, the Citizen Architect:

  • uses his/her insights, talents, training, and experience to contribute meaningfully, beyond self, to the improvement of the community and human condition
  • stays informed on local, state, and federal issues, and makes time for service to the community
  • advocates for higher living standards, the creation of a sustainable environment, quality of life, and the greater good
  • seeks to advocate for the broader purposes of architecture through civic activism, by gaining appointment to boards and commissions, and through elective office at all levels of government.

Bill’s professional life and character meet every quality noted in this definition. Likewise, Bill meets all three of the possible qualifications for the AIA ALNNJ Community Service Award. 

Pascack Press most recently covered Martin presenting a standing-room-only “A History of Home Construction in the Pascack Valley” at the Pascack Historical Society in Park Ridge, and “Permits 101,” a seminar on zoning and permitting in the borough, hosted by Westwood for All Ages at the Community Center.

The AIA is grateful for Bill’s service to the community and the profession and hopes he will continue to serve and be a model for others. Read Pascack and Northern Valley Press Here. 

Westwood Names Bill Martin Volunteer of the Year 2020


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Founded in 1857, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) consistently works to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings, neighborhoods, and communities. Through a dynamic network of more than 250 chapters and more than 95,000 member architects and design professionals, the AIA advocates for public policies that promote economic vitality and public wellbeing. 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. The organization’s local chapter, AIA New Jersey, has served as the voice of the architectural profession in the Garden State since 1900. Based in Trenton, AIA New Jersey has over 2,000 members across six sections. For more information, please visit


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