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Lawrence W. Speck, FAIA, Awarded AIA/ACSA Topaz Medallion

      Award honors distinguished educator

      Contact: Matt Tinder

      For immediate release:
      Washington, D.C. – December 17, 2010 –
      The Board of The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) named Lawrence (Larry) W. Speck, FAIA, as 2011 recipient of the Topaz Medallion for Excellence in Architectural Education. The AIA/ACSA Topaz Medallion honors an individual who has made outstanding contributions to architecture education for at least 10 years, whose teaching has influenced a broad range of students and who has helped shape the minds of those who will shape our environment.

      A native of the Gulf Coast of Texas, Speck attended M.I.T. and studied under five Topaz Laureates as professors. Speck received his Bachelors and Masters Degrees in architecture in just five years. After graduating, Speck jointed the M.I.T. faculty while also splitting his time in practice, first with Sert Jackson Associates in Cambridge and later with Huygens and Tappe in Boston. The pattern of having concurrent involvement in teaching and practice has continued throughout his career. In 1975, Larry joined the faculty of the School of Architecture at the University of Texas at Austin and started his own practice, Lawrence W. Speck Associates, in Austin.

      In 1978 Speck traveled to Australia as a Fulbright Senior Scholar where he became acquainted with several prominent local architects such as Glenn Murcutt and Philip Drew. In the early 1980s, Speck’s practice began to gain national notice by receiving several awards for their work. Between 1981 and 1984, various projects were published in Architectural Design, The New York Times, Architecture, Progressive Architecture and Architectural Record.

      Concurrent with these practice successes, Speck was helping to found the Center for American Architecture and Design in the School of Architecture at the University of Texas at Austin, where he was director from 1982 to 1990. He organized six national symposia, helped publish three books, and created the journal, CENTER. During this period, Speck wrote for several other architecture publications.

      In 1990, Speck became associate dean of the School of Architecture at the University of Texas at Austin and in 1992, he became dean. During his nine years as dean, the school grew immensely and achieved a top-ten ranking among schools of architecture in U.S. News and World Report as well as attracting several extraordinary new permanent faculty members. Speck joined the firm Page Southerland Page in 1999 where he is currently one of five principals.

      Speck’s contribution to architectural education has been in the extraordinary quality of his teaching. He has been the recipient of the Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award, chosen from among all 14 campuses of the University of Texas system, as well as virtually every university-wide teaching award given at the University of Texas at Austin, including the Friar’s Centennial Teaching Fellowship, the Chancellor’s Council Teaching Award, the Blunk Professorship, the AMOCO Award, the Dad’s Association Teaching Award and membership in the Academy of Distinguished Teachers. He has received the School of Architecture’s Outstanding Teacher Award three times. All of this documents that Speck’s teaching is not just excellent; it is truly exceptional. He began as a brilliant and dedicated studio teacher, progressed to become a challenging and provocative seminar leader, and has—over the last two decades—honed his skills as a charismatic and spellbinding lecturer.

      Speck has expanded the range of his teaching in the School of Architecture and has been an agent of change at the larger University of Texas community. He is an effective mentor to younger faculty members and is a master at instructing graduate students on how to lead discussion sections effectively.

      About The American Institute of Architects
      For over 150 years, members of the American Institute of Architects have worked with each other and their communities to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings and cityscapes. By using sustainable design practices, materials, and techniques, AIA architects are uniquely poised to provide the leadership and guidance needed to provide solutions to address climate change. AIA architects walk the walk on sustainable design. Visit Twitter:


      About Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture
      The Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture is a nonprofit, membership association founded in 1912 to advance the quality of architectural education. The school membership in ACSA has grown from 10 charter members to over 250 schools in several membership categories. These include full membership for all accredited programs in the United States and government-sanctioned schools in Canada, candidate membership for schools seeking accreditation, and affiliate membership for schools for two-year and international programs. Through these schools, over 5,000 architecture faculty are represented. In addition, over 500 supporting members composed of architecture firms, product associations and individuals add to the breadth of interest and support of ACSA goals. ACSA provides a major forum for ideas on the leading edge of architectural thought. Issues that will affect the architectural profession in the future are being examined today in ACSA member schools.


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