Renowned California Architects and An Activist Coalition are Named as AIA California’s 2024 California Awards Recipients

(March 21, 2024. Sacramento, California) Four renowned architectural forces, including a Pritzker Prize recipient, coupled with a new coalition dedicated to immigrant architects, are the recipients of AIA California’s most prestigious awards for individuals and firms: the 2024 AIA California Award recipients.

This year’s Lifetime Achievement Award recipient is Thom Mayne, FAIA; the Distinguished Practice Award recipients are the duo of Angela Brooks, FAIA, and Lawrence Scarpa, FAIA; the 2024 Firm Award recipient is Frederick Fisher and Partners; and the Norma Sklarek Humanitarian Award goes to Immigrant Architects Coalition.

“The depth of design excellence and innovation advancing the profession that is practiced by the 2024 AIA California Awards recipients will be emulated for decades to come,” noted AIA California President Winston L. Thorne, AIA. “I am exceedingly proud that these recipients draw from the California experience, and are members of our organization.”

Lifetime Achievement Award – Thom Mayne, FAIA
Thom Mayne, FAIA, is such an entity onto himself that seems impossible to say he is synonymous with anything else, except, perhaps, Lifetime Achievement.

Over his five-decade career, the Pritzker Prize recipient has shaped the field of architecture through his work with his firm Morphosis, his own artistic and urban research, and as an educator at institutions worldwide. Beginning from his earliest projects designing alley houses in Venice, California, Mayne has pushed the traditional boundaries of design to impact the way the industry thinks about performance, contextuality, representation, technology, and authorship.

“Thom Mayne’s work has not only represented the ethos of current culture but has also created it,” the AIA California Board of Directors noted in bestowing the award. “Spanning a half-century of practice, his collective body of work, i.e., writings, works on paper, buildings, and urban master plans, have collectively inspired our design thinking and reshaped built environments globally; through innovative, crafted, and sustainable architectural interventions across project type and scales. His elevated design style is recognized throughout the world. He sets the bar for lifetime achievement.”

Distinguished Practice AwardAngela Brooks, FAIA, and Lawrence Scarpa, FAIA
The exploratory and ever-innovative work of Angela Brooks, FAIA, and Lawrence Scarpa, FAIA, has elevated design and practice, and created architectural and legislative solutions for the most pressing societal challenges. The duo are the recipients of this year’s Distinguished Practice Award given in recognition of a career of dedicated commitment to the built environment. Realizing buildings together, Brooks and Scarpa demonstrate what a shared dedication to the power of architecture can produce.

Their commitment stretches back more than twenty years and includes hands-on advocacy—their work establishing sustainability thresholds for buildings in California is still influential today. Their spaces—evolving through explorations into processes and materials—are memorable places designed for individual users to connect to through their own experiences.  

“Larry and Angela’s contribution to practice, the built environment, communities, and policymaking has been remarkedly and positively impactful,” the AIA California Board of Directors stated. “Their inventiveness and intellectual tenacity prove that good design does make a difference, regardless of program, site, political or budgetary constraints. No matter what they are up against, they have made places and spaces that honor and serve the communities they’ve built for. Their work goes beyond that, to contribute and shape the larger built environment through design excellence.”

2024 Firm Award – Frederick Fisher and Partners
“Frederick Fisher and Partners has completed a select, but distinctive body of work,” the AIA California Board of Directors said in aligning Frederick Fisher and Partners with the criteria for the Firm Award—a firm who has consistently produced distinguished architecture for a period of at least 10 years.

Founded in 1981, Frederick Fisher and Partners has produced distinguished architecture for decades—design that embodies a distinctly Californian sensibility—connection to light and nature, embrace of creativity and innovation, emphasis on wellness and health, and a pervasive sense of delight.

The stability and success of the office is a long-term partnership of three partners, today joined by four “NextGen” Partners actively involved in the firm’s day-to-day operations, vital to the development of project strategy and team organization. This successful attention to mentoring a new generation of architectural leadership reflects the Firm Award’s requirement of the same.

“The firm’s work has been stellar, with a portfolio of projects that illustrates that design can make a difference across scales and project types,” noted the AIA California Board of Directors. “The integration of aesthetics, function, and context, deliver spaces that people admire. Their tireless pursuit of progress, extensive partnerships with visionary leaders and institutions is evident in their work.  As collaborators, the firm’s grounded, holistic thinking has –and will continue to– enrich the profession, our communities, and the planet.”

Norma Sklarek Humanitarian Award – Immigrant Architects Coalition  Established in 2019, Immigrant Architects Coalition is the newest entity to receive recognition in the 2024 California Awards suite; its work is no less essential to the field, its body of work, already audacious—take the publication, in 2022 of City Shapers: Stories of Immigrant Designers; its impact already felt. The work of the Immigrant Architects Coalition (IAC) makes it a perfect fit for the Norma Sklarek Humanitarian Award which recognizes an architect or architecturally oriented organization for their social responsibility. Sklarek opened her own doors: She was the first Black woman licensed in California (as well as New York), and the first Black woman to become a member of the AIA, and, through mentorship, opened doors for others.

Since its inception, Immigrant Architects Coalition, a 501c3 entity, has been marked by an unwavering commitment to empowering and supporting immigrant architects. Lectures at national, state, and local conferences serve as platforms to share critical advice on licensure, job retention, and networking.

“IAC’s dedication to the empowerment and nurturing of immigrant architects is evident in the breath of resources, mentorship, publications, podcasts, and presentations the organization has tirelessly provided, growing inspiration for the future of the profession through diversity and design thinking,” said the AIA California Board of Directors. “Their support has played a pivotal role in professional development through scholarships and guided paths to licensure at the local and state levels. IAC has made change, opened pathways, and continued to support immigrant architects in remarkable ways.”

About the American Institute of Architects California (AIA CA)
AIA California is dedicated to serving its members, and uniting all architecture professionals in the design of a more just, equitable and resilient future through advocacy, education and political action. The organization represents the interests of more than 11,000 architects and allied professionals in California. Founded in 1944, the AIA CA is the largest component of the national AIA organization. For more information, visit

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