Six Dallas Architects Elevated to AIA College of Fellows

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2017 Fellows (clockwise): Marcia Ascanio, Bob Borson, John Hutchings, Lisa Lamkin, and Michael Malone
2017 Fellows (clockwise): Marcia Ascanio, Bob Borson, John Hutchings, Lisa Lamkin, Michael Malone, and Marcela Abadi Rhoads

Six Dallas architects are among the 178 American Institute of Architects (AIA) members to be elevated  to the College of Fellows. The prestigious, merit-based honor is awarded by a jury of peers to those who have achieved professional excellence and made significant contributions to architecture and to society as a whole. Dallas professionals continue to be well-represented in the College of Fellows.

“We are proud to have a higher percentage of Fellows here in Dallas than elsewhere around the country. It speaks to quality of our members, who are enhancing the quality of life through their practices – both here and around the world,” said Jan Blackmon, FAIA, executive director of AIA Dallas. “With honorees ranging from sports and education facility specialists, to accessibility experts, to communicators sharing a love of architecture with new audiences, the 2017 class of AIA Fellows highlights the diversity of talent and expertise of our Dallas architectural community.”

‘A Diversity of Talent’

Marcela Abadi Rhoads, FAIA, is one of this year’s inductees. Rhoads is the owner of Abadi Accessibility, a Dallas-based accessibility consulting firm. She is the author of two books on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and is a passionate advocate for barrier-free design.

“I’m extremely honored,” Rhoads said. “Not only is it a privilege to be among wonderful architects in College of Fellows, I’m blessed to be able to give back to the profession in the way I do. It’s not fancy or sexy. The beauty of what I do comes from my mission to educate my architectural colleagues and the building industry. I’m grateful that the College of Fellows has recognized how important it is that we elevate our industry by being more aware and making design inclusive for everyone.”

Also among the honorees is Bob Borson, FAIA of Malone Maxwell Borson Architects. Borson is the a creator of “Life of an Architect,” an industry blog credited as being the most-trafficked non-commercial architectural website in the world. Borson described the news as “horn-tootin’” and “25 years in the making.” He details the process submitting for the Fellowship in a post entitled, “Guess what? I Just Receive an ‘F’.”

“When I started the blog seven years ago, I didn’t have any agendas. I just wanted to learn this new technology,” Borson said. The resulting feedback, which he says comes predominantly from young people curious about the profession, caught him by surprise. It’s also become his driving force. “The outreach component – that I wasn’t looking for – is the only reason I continue [the blog]. I’m really proud that there are people who read my blog and walk away with an appreciation of the value of what it means to be an architect. Receiving my Fellowship seems to be an acknowledgment from the AIA that they are okay with me acting as the voice of our profession, and that is pretty humbling.”

The 2017 Fellows will be honored at a Ceremony held at the AIA Conference on Architecture in Orlando on Friday, April 28. See below for information about each of this year’s newly elevated Fellows.

The 2017 Fellows

Marcia Ascanio - HKS
Marcia Ascanio, FAIA – HKS

Marcia Ascanio, FAIA – HKS
Ascanio is an associate principal at HKS, and an industry-wide expert in quality management. A guest professor at the University of Texas at Arlington, Ascanio is dedicated to technical education and mentorship. As an industry expert for building envelope cladding systems, her notable projects include serving as senior quality management director on a first-time, three-dimensional roof for the L.A. Rams Stadium at Hollywood Park in Inglewood, California.


Bob Borson, FAIA - Malone Maxwell Borson Architects
Bob Borson, FAIA – Malone Maxwell Borson Architects

Bob Borson, FAIA – Malone Maxwell Borson Architects
Borson is a gifted storyteller who has used the experiences acquired over his 25-year career to create the “Life of an Architect” blog, the most-trafficked non-commercial architectural website in the world. Borson’s use of digital media has changed the paradigm for architectural advocacy and fostered an honest, perceptive, and relatable conversation about architecture that engages people all over the globe.


John Hutchings, FAIA - HKS
John Hutchings, FAIA – HKS

John Hutchings, FAIA – HKS
Hutchings, a principal at HKS, has created one of the world’s most acclaimed sports practices, delivering architecturally and environmentally significant multi-use facilities. His projects, designed to be regionally appropriate and to revitalize cities, include the recently-opened U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Hutchings is also credited with first-of-its-kind roof designs at Miller Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana.


Lisa Lamkin, FAIA - RW Architects
Lisa Lamkin, FAIA – BRW Architects

Lisa Lamkin, FAIA – BRW Architects
Lamkin is recognized for creating educational environments that transform communities and shape lives. Through practice, leadership, and knowledge sharing, she has demonstrated the capacity of architecture and architects to positively impact social infrastructure. Lamkin has two decades of involvement with AIA Dallas, has served as chair of the AIA National Project Delivery Knowledge Community, and has led both local and regional chapters of the Association for Learning Environments.


Michael Malone, FAIA - Malone Maxwell Borson Architects
Michael Malone, FAIA – Malone Maxwell Borson Architects

Michael Malone, FAIA – Malone Maxwell Borson Architects
Malone created the Texas Society of Architects’ first award for lifetime design achievement during his time as president in 2015, was instrumental in launching the first regional design conference in the Southwest, and has for the past 20 years made lasting contributions to the Society’s governance, finances, and property. He has also mentored countless students, interns, and young architects during his career, consistently striving to create a culture of inclusiveness, learning, and caring in his firm and in the profession at large.


Marcela Abadi Rhoads, FAIA - Abadi Accessibility
Marcela Abadi Rhoads, FAIA – Abadi Accessibility

Marcela Abadi Rhoads, FAIA – Abadi Accessibility
A passionate advocate for people with disabilities, Marcela Abadi Rhoads empowers, educates, and collaborates with building industry professionals to shape environments free of physical and attitudinal barriers for all. Rhoads creates programs that raise awareness about the challenges that people with disabilities face and how architects can make the built environment better and more inclusive for them. She has written two books about the ADA, publishes a monthly newsletter, and presents to organizations across the country on the topic of barrier-free design.

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Heather Hunter

In addition to a 15-year career in marketing and communications, Heather is an accomplished freelance writer and has contributed to The New York Times’ “Modern Love” column and “The United States of Dating” on National Public Radio. Her blog, This Fish Needs a Bicycle, was syndicated by NBC Universal (iVillage) for four years. As a ghostwriter, her work has appeared in publications such as WIRED and Stadia Magazine

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