Contact: Shannon Calder                                                       FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Assoc. Director of Communications
(916) 642-1718

SACRAMENTO, Calif.—Feb. 10, 2017—The practice of architecture can sometimes be about creating a legacy—either in portfolio or firm culture or contribution to society within other categories. The AIACC Council Awards Program celebrates these attributes with the Council Awards Program. This year’s recipients were announced at the Feb. 10 Board of Directors meeting in Los Angeles, and are now part of the esteemed list of award-winning architects

Distinguished Practice Award:

This year’s Distinguished Practice Award was received by Michael Folonis, FAIA.

Michael Folonis, FAIA, has led a distinguished practice in architecture since founding his namesake firm in 1983. Over the course of his still thriving career, Folonis made a name for himself as a leader in responding to the challenges of an individual building type, an educator and mentor to other professionals, an advocate for design excellence, and a collaborator within the design and construction process.

In addition to his daily practice, he has served on the AIA, Los Angeles and AIA, California Council Board for seven years, has taught at several universities for more than three decades, has served and chaired the Santa Monica Architectural Review Board, was appointed to the Historic Preservation Overlay Zone Board, and even helped pass a California law in 2016 which made it easier for architects, landscape architects, planners, engineers, and artists to serve their communities as volunteers on design review boards and planning commissions.

Jurors, unanimous in their decision to move Folonis forward, noted how most, if not all of his work is exceptional. “His dedication and sharp eye for design have served the profession, and the world, well,” commented one juror.

For the last 35 years with no proverbial end in sight, Folonis continues to synthesize the conceptual and practical, consistently proving his ability through buildings sensitive to place, materiality, environment, and the Modernist legacy of Southern California.

Lifetime Achievement Award:

This year’s Lifetime Achievement Award went to a total of three people, and for the first time in history, firm partners Betsey Dougherty, FAIA and Brian Dougherty, FAIA, of Dougherty. Brian has had over 40 continuous years of service to the AIA holding numerous positions at the local, state, and national level. To this day, he continues to represent California through AIACC and AIA Leadership. Additionally, Brian was the first practicing architect and founding member of the California Collaborative for High Performance Schools as well as a member of the UC Berkley Environmental Advisory Council.

Likewise, Betsey has been an active member in the AIA since 1976. As one of the first actively involved women in the AIA Orange County chapter, Betsey has continued to hold positions at all levels of the AIA, many of which she was the first woman to do so. Furthermore, Betsey continues to serve as a California Architects Board (CAB) Licensure Advocate as well as the Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture.

While both Brian and Betsey have accomplished so much as individual architects, it’s the work they’ve completed together that represents the definition of a lifetime career of dedication and achievement. They are an inspirational duo, supporting fellow professionals, enhancing California Communities, engaging volunteers and promoting the value of service through personal and professional commitment.

The jury voted unanimously to move them forward as they have been “passionate and exemplary pioneers within the AIA and their contributions should be recognized at the highest level possible.”

Beverly Willis, FAIA, also received the Lifetime Achievement award, and was also recommended unanimously by the jury. “She is an amazing woman,” one juror commented, “her focus on service as well as design is unsurpassed.” Beverly Willis has been a dedicated architect, urbanist, philanthropist, activist, artist, writer, lecturer, founder of the Beverly Willis Architectural Foundation, and past president of the AIACC.

After expanding her artwork to include industrial and architectural design, she embraced the industrial design axiom that good design “sells”. With that mantra in mind, she pursued a career in architecture and pioneered the historic preservation and reuse movement in San Francisco. Over the next six decades, Beverly’s work portfolio grew to over 800 buildings with notable and award winning properties.

In addition to her notoriety for the quality of her work, Beverly also has a distinguished career of service holding positions never held by a woman before both within the AIA and beyond. Beverly is a role model and a transformational leader, leading the profession or architecture toward a more equitable, innovative, and influential future.

For more information, contact Shannon Calder at 916.642.1718.


The AIACC represents the interests of more than 11,000 architects and allied professionals in California.  Founded in 1944, The AIACC’s mission supports architects in their endeavors to improve the quality of life for all Californians by creating more livable communities, sustainable designs and quality work environments. Today, The AIACC is the largest component of the national AIA organization. For more information, visit

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