James Stewart Polshek Named 2018 AIA Gold Medal Winner

James Stewart Polshek. Image courtesy Aislinn Weidele.

New York-based architect James Stewart Polshek, FAIA, 87, who designed the William J. Clinton Presidential Center and served as dean of the Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation for 15 years, has been selected as the 2018 AIA Gold Medal recipient.

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) board of directors and strategic council made the announcement today, and Polshek will be formally acknowledged during the AIA Conference on Architecture in New York in June 2018. The AIA Gold Medal recognizes an individual or pair of architects whose body of work demonstrates a significant, lasting influence on the theory and practice of architecture.

American Museum of Natural History, Rose Center for Earth and Space. Image courtesy Jeff Goldberg/Esto.

Polshek’s William J. Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock, Arkansas. Image courtesy Timothy Hursley.

Born in Akron, Ohio, Polshek graduated from Yale University with a master of architecture degree in 1955, and then worked for I.M. Pei. He launched his maiden practice, James Stewart Polshek Architect, in 1963. Undergoing multiple iterations, Polshek’s firm evolved officially into Ennead Architects in 2010. The collaborative and meticulous nature of the firm has resulted in extensive accolades including more than 200 design awards, 15 National Honor Awards for Architecture, and the 1992 AIA Architecture Firm Award.

Polshek’s Newseum in Washington, D.C. Image courtesy Jeff Goldberg/Esto.

Polshek served as dean of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation from 1972 to 1987. In New York, Polshek’s restoration of Carnegie Hall was completed in 1987, and the Rose Center for Earth and Space at the American Museum of Natural History opened in 2000. Other notable projects include the Newseum on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., as well as the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia.