The American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) Board of Directors and its Strategic Council have honored West Coast practice Mithun with the 2023 Architecture Firm Award. The award honors firms that have produced high-quality architecture for at least 10 years. It is the AIA’s highest honor for an outstanding architecture practice.
Founded by University of Washington Professor Omer Mithun in 1949, the firm got its start producing midcentury modern works in the Pacific Northwest, notably experimenting in passive solar design. Today, Mithun employs 180 individuals across offices in San Francisco and Los Angeles.
An AIA press release expanded on Mithun’s contributions to the profession:
Mithun has remained at the forefront of the sustainable design movement since the 1990s and was among the earliest signatories to the AIA 2030 Commitment. Mithun’s portfolio includes seven AIA COTE Top Ten Award-winning projects, 11 net-zero energy buildings, and four Living Building Challenge target buildings. In addition, its sustainability research is shared widely with the profession through countless presentations and publications as well as design tools such as buildcarbonneutral.org, which design professionals across the country regularly access.
Mithun’s groundbreaking and inspiring work—such as a net-positive 30-acre campus expansion at Chatham University near Pittsburgh and 2060 Folsom, a net-zero carbon ready affordable housing development in San Francisco—has distinguished the firm as a leader in the profession. Its commitment to advancing research, one of the firm’s most essential attributes, is on view at the Louisiana Children’s Museum in New Orleans, where a transformative design entwines indoor and outdoor learning opportunities that support literacy, early childhood research, and environmental education.
This year’s announcement comes on the heels of the news that Carol Ross Barney of Chicago’s Ross Barney Architects won the 2023 AIA Gold Award, the highest AIA honor for an individual architect. Last year, MASS Design Group took home the Architecture Firm Award.
For Mithun, this year has been a big one for awards. Alongside associate architects Waggonner & Ball, the practice was one of ten teams to garner a COTE® Top Ten Award for the Louisiana Children’s Museum in New Orleans, pictured above. The annual award recognizes sustainable, high design buildings.