March 10, 2021Reading Time: 5 minutes
Robin L. Murray, FAIA, PP, LEED AP BD+C, of Trenton, N.J., was elevated to the AIA’s prestigious College of Fellows for her work in architecture in the areas of sustainability, smart growth, and livable communities across her private practice, governmental service, academic research and design studios, non-profit leadership and pro bono works. Murray, a member of AIA-NJ and AIA-Central, was invested during the 2011 AIA National Convention. The honor, which entitles recipients to use the designation FAIA after their names, is awarded to architects for their individual achievements, as well as significant contributions to the profession and practice of architecture on the national level. At the time there were 2,700 fellows within the membership of 80,000, only 300 of them women.
“We are honored that a member of our chapter has received this recognition,” said Michael Hanrahan, AIA, president of AIA-NJ. “Robin’s elevation to fellow is well deserved. She has contributed countless hours to AIA-NJ in various leadership positions, has been an inspiration to her students, and has worked tirelessly to promote the profession of architecture.”
Murray, principal of RLM Architect in Trenton, N.J., was the only architect in New Jersey to be distinguished with the honor of fellowship in that year. Her practice, which is primarily focused on New Jersey, specializes in sustainable, resilient mixed-use master planning, climate mitigation and migration, and smart growth development. “It’s an honor to be recognized as a fellow of the AIA,” said Murray. “As much time and effort as I’ve dedicated to the AIA over the years, I’ve received more back. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for the AIA and AIA-NJ.”
Murray’s work has been recognized with awards and published nationally by the Urban Land Institute and the American Planning Association. She has taught architecture, urban design, and planning studios on sustainable and regenerative projects at both the Rutgers University Edward J Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy and the New Jersey Institute of Technology School of Architecture. She has been an invited speaker at national/regional conferences on sustainability, smart growth, and resilience including AIA, ULI, EPA, ASBPA, New Partners for Smart Growth, National Governors Assoc., APA NJ, NJ DEP, and NJSLOM among others. She has been recognized by the NJ State Senate and General Assembly and by others for leadership in architecture, planning, and community service. She holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Cornell University and a Masters of Infrastructure Planning from NJIT.
As an extension of her earlier efforts, Murray has worked in climate change and coastal resilience policy and implementation. She managed and participated in a National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Hurricane Sandy grant awarded to NJ DEP for “Building Ecological Solutions to Coastal Community Hazards”. The grant included national partners and 10 local NJ governments. It was recognized with an APA New Jersey Chapter Excellence in Planning award and a national AFWA Climate Leadership Award to advance the resilience of the Nation’s living natural resources. The grant provided outreach to over 4,000 attendees of local, regional, and national events, developed an electronic guide for coastal communities and distributed over 700 printed copies to governments, professionals, non-profits, and residents in NJ. It also created 5 municipal resilience planning projects and 5 resilience projects that were implemented. She also worked on a consultant basis on two of the Rebuild By Design projects and other climate change and coastal planning initiatives. She currently is working on climate mitigation and migration policy and implementation opportunities.
Previously she researched and wrote white papers on cutting edge sustainability policy and implementation for Land Use, Transportation, Housing, Infrastructure, Economic Competitiveness, Social Capital, Equity, Natural Resources, Biodiversity, Agriculture/Food Security, Indoor Air, and supervision on Water and Health issues in support of the HUD-funded Together North Jersey initiative. She also organized the first Sustainable Jersey Sustainable Summit.
Murray could be described as a revolutionary. In addition to her architectural work, she has been a driving force for women in architecture for more than 40 years. At the time she entered the profession, only 2 percent of architects were women. Today, with the help of architects such as Robin Murray, women represent about 15 percent of the 90,000 architects in the country, said Hanrahan.
“Growing up, I knew I wanted a career,” said Murray. “And when I took an architecture course in eighth grade, I knew I wanted that career to be in architecture, though never having met a female architect — at least, not until after I graduated from Cornell University. I’ve always encouraged and assisted young people who are interested in architecture, and to particularly show them that women are part of the profession.”
Murray participated in high school career days for over 20 years and has mentored young people throughout her career. She was president of AIA-NJ in 2000, becoming only the second woman to hold the position in 105 years. She also served as Regional Director of AIA-NJ serving on the national AIA board and as chair of two national committees on sustainability and community design policies for three years.
Among other non-profit work, she is a co-founder and a former president of the tri-state Delaware Valley Smart Growth Alliance, a coalition of government, private and non-profit organizations that help good smart growth projects gain local approvals and which promotes the policies through educational events. DVSGA was the second such organization in the United States, supported through an EPA-funded ULI program. It is still active in those activities.
In her prior professional practice, she created the master plan, program, and buildings for Garden State Park, a downtown redevelopment project in Cherry Hill, N.J. The plan involved the revitalization of a former 230-acre racetrack into a new town center with 1,200 housing units, retail and civic uses, and 1 million square feet of commercial space. It was overwhelmingly approved by a municipal board that had rejected the previous design by another group.
She was the architect for the Siemens Corporate Headquarters/Research Technology Laboratory in Princeton Forrestal Center involving highly advanced technologies for robotics clean rooms and critical design imagery for the Siemens company as their first US-owned project.
Architects are creative professionals, educated, trained, and experienced in the art and science of building design, and licensed to practice architecture. Their designs respond to client needs, wants and vision, protect public safety, provide economic value, are innovative, inspire and contribute positively to the community and the environment. 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 http://www.aia-nj.org
By Stacey Ruhle Kliesch, AIA, AIA NJ Advocacy Consultant | Posted in AIA Central New Jersey, Women in Architecture | Tagged: #AIAFellowship, #AIANJ, #ClimateChange, #Coastalresilience, #Cornell, #COTE, #EastCoastGreen, #FemaleFellows, #LivableCommunities, #NJDEP, #RebuildByDesign, #Resiliance, #RLMArchitect, #RobinLMurrayFAIA, #SmartGrowth, #sustainability, #TrentonNJ, #WIA, #womeninarchitecture, #WomensDay, #WomensHistoryMonth, Fellowship, MichaelHanrahanAIA, NJIT | Comments (0)
Architects are creative professionals, educated, trained, and experienced in the art and science of building design, and licensed to practice architecture. Their designs respond to client needs, wants and vision, protect public safety, provide economic value, are innovative, inspire and contribute positively to the community and the environment.