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Birmingham Architect Elevated to Prestigious College of Fellows by the American Institute of Architects


ArchitectureWorks’ Founding Partner Dick Pigford has been elevated to the prestigious College of Fellows by the American Institute of Architects (AIA). AIA’s College of Fellows was developed to elevate those architects who have achieved a standard of excellence in the profession and made a significant contribution to architecture and society on a national level.

The AIA is elevating 115 member-architects to its prestigious College of Fellows. Of the fellows admitted this year nationally, Dick is the only candidate from Alabama to receive this honor. Dick’s elevation to the FAIA recognizes both his leadership of award-winning projects, as well as his dedication to service within the Birmingham community. AIA Fellows are recognized with the AIA’s highest membership honor for their exceptional work and contributions to architecture and society. Only 3 percent of the AIA members have this distinction.

Dick’s sense of community stewardship was evidenced in the early years of his practice with the establishment of SawWorks, a pro-bono gathering space for local non-profit groups that is co-located with the ArchitectureWorks office. Many diverse groups have developed regional community projects out of SawWorks, among them: United Way, Friends of Railroad Park Development, Cahaba River Society, the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham, and Create Birmingham. SawWorks also serves as home-base for Impact America’s SpeakFirst debate program.

Additionally Dick co-founded the Tuesday Group, a non-profit organization of local architects, planners, and engineers to provide low and moderate income neighborhoods with quality design services. This group helped springboard revitalization efforts in Birmingham’s Ensley neighborhood through its partnership with the Bethel Ensley Action Taskforce (BEAT).

Dick’s successful career includes a broad range of project types – residential, education, commercial, retail, institutional, and religious. His expertise and passion for working with diverse community groups is evidenced by his long relationships with Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, BEAT, Kingston Coalition, and Jones Valley Teaching Farm, among many others, across more than four decades since he established his practice.

Prospective candidates for Fellowship must have 10 years of AIA membership and demonstrated influence in at least one of the following areas:

  • Promoted the aesthetic, scientific, and practical efficiency of the profession;
  • Promoted the science and art of planning and building by advancing the standards of architectural education, training or practice;
  • Coordinated the building industry and the profession of architecture through leadership in the AIA or other related professional organizations; or
  • Advanced the living standards of people through an improved environment.

Fellows are selected by a seven-member Jury of Fellows. This year’s jury included Chair Mary P. Cox, FAIA, Virginia Commonwealth University; Peter Bardwell, FAIA, Bardwell + Associates, LLC; Mary A. Burke, FAIA, Burke Design & Architecture PLLC; Philip Castillo, FAIA, Jahn; Mary Johnston, FAIA, Johnston Architects, LLC; Paul Mankins, FAIA, Substancearchitecture; and Nancy Rogo Trainer, FAIA, Drexel University.

ArchitectureWorks is a Birmingham based architecture design and planning firm. Five partners currently lead the firm – Dick Pigford, Marzette Fisher, Jay Pigford, Cindy Coyle, and Bruce Lanier. Established over twenty years ago, the firm has expertise in a wide range of project types including education, commercial, historic renovation, health care, civic, and residential.

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