Courthouse Architect Takes 2010 AIA Gold Medal

WASHINGTON — The American Institute of Architects will honor Pennsylvania-based architect Peter Bohlin, FAIA, with the 2010 AIA Gold Medal award, the organization’s highest honor.

The AIA Gold Medal, which is voted on annually by the AIA board of directors, recognizes individuals whose body of work has influenced the theory and practice of architecture. Bohlin, who founded Bohlin Cywinski Jackson in 1965, is known for his versatile, contextual use of materials.

Notable Bohlin projects include the 1999 integration of a new courthouse annex into the William J. Nealon Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in Scranton, Pa., as part of a $34 million expansion and renovation of the original 19th-century, neo-classical courthouse.

The existing four-story, art deco-influenced building completed in 1931 features limestone and brick construction with a granite base, green serpentine columns, and terracotta with polychrome accents. The project received a citation in the 2000 GSA Design Awards.

The design joins the old and new structures with a multi-story, skylit atrium, creating a major civic space while minimizing changes to the existing historic building. The atrium establishes a focus for public circulation within the complex with a series of discretely placed bridges that provide secure and separate circulation routes between the two structures.

Bohlin, whose projects have earned 12 national AIA Honor Awards over the last four decades, is the 66th AIA Gold Medalist. He joins the ranks of Frank Lloyd Wright (1949), Louis Kahn (1971), Frank Gehry (1999) and Renzo Piano (2008).

“His architecture clearly communicates that buildings are not just placed on the landscape but are part of the landscape and indeed enhance the experience of nature,” wrote Ed Feiner, FAIA, former General Services Administration chief architect, in a letter of recommendation.