2017 Honor Awards for Design Excellence

Sponsored by

Poole Professional

XL Insurance

Jurors, Representing AIA Philadelphia

Joanne Aitken FAIA, Kieran Timberlake

Katie Broh AIA, MGA Partners

Scott Erdy FAIA, Erdy McHenry Architecture

Antonio Fiol-Silva FAIA, SITIO

Fon Wang AIA, Ballinger

Jury Overview

Boston’s reputation for design leadership was well known to the jury even before we assembled. We expected to discover among the body of work a preponderance of innovative and new design ideas addressing issues of urbanism, sustainability, and social equity. We were not disappointed; however, we did wish that we had seen more projects by architects working outside Massachusetts.

The submission pool was heavy with large academic, medical, and other institutional projects, which was not surprising given the regional market and expertise of many area firms. The ones we chose to recognize demonstrated exemplary attention to detail from planning through execution; each was commendable for creatively fostering often complex program typology at the forefront of education, research, and innovation. We turned away from large-scale projects that seemed competent but conventional. We also found several compelling smaller projects that did something special with a modest charge.

Overall, the work we reviewed met our expectations. Nineteen projects emerged as remarkable, regardless of budget and program. These projects do not follow trends; we hope, in fact, they set them.


In 2017, there were 119 projects submitted to the Honor Awards for Design Excellence program. The sole judging criterion was design excellence, as defined by the jury. Architects located in Massachusetts were invited to submit projects sited anywhere in the world. Alternately, architects living anywhere were invited to submit projects sited in Massachusetts.