The trailblazing Toshiko Mori was honored with the 2019 AIA/ACSA Topaz Medallion for Excellence in Architectural Education, which honors the recipient for their active involvement in architecture education for over a decade and for influencing a broad range of students through their teaching.
“She challenges her students to become educator-practitioners themselves and harnesses academic inquiry and professional rigor to reshape the practice of architecture,” the AIA writes in a press release. “Mori’s teaching philosophy is one rooted in respect for individual talent, sensitive guidance, and productive dialogue.”
Launching her New York practice in 1981, Mori began her teaching career at the Cooper Union School of Architecture in 1983. She became the first female faculty member to receive tenure at Harvard GSD, where she is also the first and only woman who served as chair of the school's architecture department. In her current role as a professor in architectural practice at the GSD, she leads advanced seminars and travels with students across the globe to teach students the importance of local contexts and community interests in their designs.
“Toshiko is an indefatigable advocate of architecture in the broader halls of academia and a formidable institution builder whose determination, patience, and hard work have earned her the broad respect and admiration in academia at large, in the profession, and wherever she has been called to represent architecture,” wrote Jorge Silvetti (who received the 2018 Topaz Medallion) in his support of Mori’s nomination.
Mori will be honored with the Topaz Medallion during the 2019 AIA Conference on Architecture in Las Vegas.
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