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AIA Honors Leaders
in Public Architecture

Hon. Douglas P. Woodlock; Thomas R. Aidala, FAIA, Receive 1996 Thomas Jefferson Award

A passionate judiciary champion of design excellence in American public architecture and a diligent public architect whose unwavering design vision is improving the quality of urban life, have been selected to receive The American Institute of Architects' (AIA) 1996 Thomas Jefferson Award for Public Architecture.

The recipients are Thomas R. Aidala, FAIA, principal architect, urban designer, and principal design consultant, San Jose Redevelopment Agency, and the Honorable Douglas P. Woodlock, judge of the U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts. The awards will be conferred at the AIA's Accent on Architecture gala, January 30, 1996, in Washington, D.C.

The Thomas Jefferson Award is presented each year to recognize excellence in architectural advocacy and achievement in three areas within the public realm:

  • Public officials or other individuals who, by their role of advocacy, have advanced the public awareness and appreciation of design excellence.
  • Public-service architects who have managed or produced quality design. within government agencies.
  • Private-sector architects who have established a portfolio of accomplishment in the design of architecturally significant public facilities (there were no 1996 nominees in this category).

For the last 14 years, Aidala has challenged notable architects and planners from throughout the country to achieve their best work in response to the context of the design vision he has created for the city of San Jose. Under his direction, more than 50 significant projects have been completed, creating a public and private cooperative effort that has revived the downtown area. "Mr. Aidala demonstrates an indefatigable commitment to design excellence throughout downtown San Jose's new and remade public realm," said the jury. "In open spaces, transportation corridors, cultural facilities and public-private projects, Mr. Aidala's efforts have breathed new life into California's third-largest city."

Aidala's expectation of design quality and professionalism pervades the 120-person Agency. As a result, the agency views successful redevelopment as meeting public needs, achieving the best design possible at the time, and staying within budget.

Follow this link for Mr. Aidala's remarks upon accepting the Thomas Jefferson Award at the 1996 Accent on Architecture Gala, January 30, 1996.

Judge Woodlock is an eloquent national spokesperson and advocate for architectural excellence in public building and, in particular, for the new federal courts expansion program taking place throughout the country. In carrying the message of design excellence in public architecture to a broader audience, Judge Woodlock has led an ongoing series of seminars over the past five years for judges, court officers, and personnel. The seminars inform judicial officers about the process and substance of designing courthouses and the importance of the highest quality of design for civic buildings. Judge Woodlock has a strong scholarly interest in architecture and the symbolism of the courts and regularly lectures at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. He has also developed a definitive, annotated bibliography on courthouse design.

"Judge Woodlock has, with extraordinary devotion, inspired and guided the making of fine architecture for the courthouses of the future," said the jury.

The 1996 Thomas Jefferson Award for Public Architecture jury was chaired by Michael McKinnell, FAIA, of Kallmann, McKinnell & Wood, Boston.

Source: American Institute of Architects

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