The Honorable Stephen Ayers, FAIA, Architect of the Capitol, is the recipient of the 2018 AIA Thomas Jefferson Award for Public Architecture. The award honors both public and private sectors, public official and others who design distinguished public facilities and/or advocate for public excellence. It was presented by the AIA during the 2018 exposition in New York City.
“It is a tremendous job and responsibility to be the Architect of the Capitol, but I have a great team of people doing the right thing and being great public servants,” said Ayers. “I’m an architect and a public servant at heart, I have been for more than 30 years. I get to do both in the greatest buildings in the world.”
The 11th Architect of the Capitol, Ayers was appointed by Barack Obama in 2010 for a 10-year term. He oversees 17.4 million square feet of government buildings, including the U.S. Capitol, the House and Senate buildings, the Supreme Court building, the Library of Congress and others, as well as 570 acres of grounds, 2,300 employees and a budget of $600 million.
In her letter nominating Ayers, Carolyn Sponza, AIA, president of the AIAIDC Board of Directors, wrote, “In so many ways, Stephen Ayers has used his national leadership role to go well beyond what would normally be expected of a public servant. He has made himself a resource for the public, showing how public architects can help make a better world through design excellence.”
Ayers has been responsible for the completion of the Capitol Visitor Center and for the restoration of the Thomas Jefferson Building and the U.S. Botanic Garden Conservatory. He also oversaw a comprehensive master plan for the U.S. Capitol complex. Most recently, he oversaw the restoration of the historic cast-iron capitol dome.
The sustainability improvements he has implemented have resulted in a 30% reduction in energy consumption and another 20% reduction is expected in the near future.
The jury for the 2018 award included Rik Master, FAIA, chair, USG Corp.; Patrick Burke, FAIA, Columbia University; Lindsey Graff, Assoc. AIA, Ayers Saint Gross Architects; Libby Haslam, AIA, GSBS Architects; and R. Steven Lewis, FAIA, TRC Energy Services.