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Thaden School (Design Excellence)

Northwest Arkansas Design Excellence Program

Promoting the highest level of design in Arkansas’ Benton and Washington counties

Selection Committee

This committee will conduct an annual search for designers to create the pool from which the foundation can choose for upcoming Design Excellence projects. The selection committee was designed to have representation from an architect, a landscape architect, an urban designer, and the sitting dean at the Fay Jones School of Architecture at the University of Arkansas – all of whom have demonstrated promise and talent in their chosen career.

Toshiko Mori

Toshiko Mori, FAIA
Founding Principal of Toshiko Mori Architect PLLC
The Robert P. Hubbard Professor in the Practice of Architecture at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design

Toshiko Mori, FAIA is the founding principal of Toshiko Mori Architect PLLC, and the Robert P. Hubbard Professor in the Practice of Architecture at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. She was inducted to the Academy of Arts and Letters in 2020 and has been a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences since 2016.

Mori’s recent awards and honors include the Isamu Noguchi Award in 2021; the Louis Auchincloss Prize from the Museum of the City of New York in 2020; the ACSA Tau Sigma Delta National Honor Society Gold Medal in 2016; and Architectural Record’s Women in Design Leader Award in 2019. This year, her project “Fass School and Teachers’ Residence” won the 2021 AIA Architecture Award. Last year, she published two new monographs, one with a+u magazine for their February 2020 issue and another with ArchiTangle Berlin titled Toshiko Mori Architect: Observations.

Ellen Dunham-Jones.jpg

Ellen Dunham-Jones
Professor of Architecture and Director of Master of Science in Urban Design program, Georgia Institute of Technology
Fellow of the Congress for the New Urbanism

Ellen Dunham-Jones is a professor of architecture and directs the MS in Urban Design at the Georgia Institute of Technology. An authority on sustainable suburban redevelopment, she maintains a unique database of over 2,200 suburban retrofits, hosts the REDESIGNING CITIES podcast series and was recognized in 2017 by Planetizen as one of the 100 most influential urbanists. She is co-author with June Williamson of Case Studies in Retrofitting Suburbia: Urban Design Strategies for Urgent Challenges (Wiley, 2021 – winner of the Environmental Design Research Association’s Great Place Book of the Year Award) and Retrofitting Suburbia: Urban Design Solutions for Redesigning Suburbs, (Wiley, 2009, 2011, winner of the PROSE award for best architecture and planning book of 2009.) Their documentation of successful retrofits of aging big box stores, strip mall corridors, and office parks into more sustainable places has been featured in The New York Times, Harvard Business Review, PBS, NPR, TED and other prominent venues. She is a Fellow of the Congress for the New Urbanism as well as the Brook Byers Institute of Sustainable Systems, lectures widely, and conducts workshops and research on the many co-benefits of retrofitting – as well as on the potential urban design impacts of autonomous vehicles. She has BS and M.Arch degrees from Princeton University, practiced architecture for 20 years, and taught at UVA and MIT before being recruited to direct the Architecture Program at Georgia Tech in 2000.

Peter MacKeith design excellence
Peter MacKeith

Peter MacKeith, Dean and Professor
Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design
University of Arkansas

Peter MacKeith is the dean of the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design at the University of Arkansas. He has been an associate professor in the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis, as well as adjunct associate curator of architecture and design for the university’s Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum. He served as associate dean of the Sam Fox School until June 2013.

MacKeith directed the international Masters Program in architecture at the Helsinki University of Technology from 1994-99 and previously taught in design and architectural theory at Yale University and the University of Virginia. He has worked in practices in both the United States and Finland and has written and lectured extensively in the United States, in Finland, and across the Nordic countries on the work of Alvar Aalto, and contemporary Finnish and Nordic architecture in general.

A past editor of Perspecta, The Yale Architectural Journal (1988), he is also the author and/or editor of numerous other publications, including Encounters: Architectural Essays, a selection of essays by Juhani Pallasmaa (2005) and Archipelago, Essays on Architecture (2006). MacKeith’s analytical drawings of Aalto’s buildings were included in the 1998 retrospective of Aalto’s work at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In 2009, he co-curated the exhibition On the Riverfront: St. Louis and the Gateway Arch and was the venue coordinator for Eero Saarinen: Shaping the Future. He also adapted the exhibition Design with the Other 90%: CITIES – organized by Cynthia E. Smith, curator of socially responsible design at the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum – for the Kemper Art Museum.

MacKeith is the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship, research grants from The Graham Foundation for Advancement in the Visual Arts, and active in both the ACSA and the EAAE. He also has received two Creative Achievement in Design Education Awards from the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) in 2008 and 2014.

Mia Lehrer Design Excellence
Mia Lehrer

Mia Lehrer, Urbanist
Mia Lehrer, FASLA, founded MLA with a vision to improve quality of life through landscape. She is internationally recognized for progressive landscape design, advocacy for sustainable and people-friendly public places, and catalyzing work for a climate-appropriate future. Mia has led the design and implementation of ambitious public and private projects, including the Hollywood Park Racetrack redevelopment and its new LA NFL Stadium, the LA County Natural History Museum Gardens, Vista Hermosa Natural Park, and many Los Angeles River-related projects.

She earned her Master of Landscape Architecture degree from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, and lectures and teaches around the world. In 2017 she received the ASLA’s LaGasse Medal.