The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has selected, Alexander Cooper, Daniel Feil, and Robert Peck to receive the 2012 Thomas Jefferson Award for Public Architecture. This year’s award recipients will be honored and receive their awards at the 2012 AIA National Convention and Design Exposition in Washington D.C.
The Thomas Jefferson Award recognizes excellence in architectural advocacy and achievement in three categories: Private-sector architects who have established a portfolio of accomplishment in the design of architecturally distinguished public facilities (category 1); public-sector architects who manage or produce quality design within their agencies (category 2); and public officials or other individuals who by their role of advocacy have furthered the public's awareness and/or appreciation of design excellence (category 3).
After graduating from Yale with an architecture degree, Cooper began his career in public service with the New York City mayor John Lindsay’s administration. He served as director of design at the New York City Housing and Development Administration from 1968 until 1971, when he became director of the Urban Design Group within the city’s planning department. In that position, which he held until 1973, Cooper guided planning, design, and zoning issues citywide. From 1973 until 1979, Cooper was the director of the Urban Design Program at Columbia University, and also served on New York City’s planning commission. As the head of Cooper, Robertson & Partners, a New York-based firm Cooper co-founded in 1979, he has been instrumental in developing virtually all of New York City’s most revered public spaces. After the events of 9/11, Coopers firm prepared a security plan so 30,000 workers could safely return to work in Lower Manhattan, helped select a site for the memorial, and planned which streets should continue through the affected area.
Feil began his career in 1971 as a planning architect for the U.S. Navy, where he developed master plans and site studies for facilities and infrastructure valued at more than $2 billion. In 1986, he took on the job of National Airport site design manager with the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, a position he held until 2004. In this role he oversaw the redevelopment of the 860-acre Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport campus, including the renovation of its historic 1941 terminal and the design of a new, light-filled and airy 1.1-million-square-foot terminal. Feil’s support for public architecture has not been limited to his role in public service. As a member of the AIA Committee on Public Architecture from 1986–1996, he led a campaign that resulted in the U.S. Office of Personnel Management revising its job classification standards to allow architects to qualify for federal managerial positions, while previously they had been restricted to production roles. Since 2005, Feil has been the executive architect on the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission.
Peck currently serves as Commissioner of Public Buildings at the US General Services Administration and also served in this position during the Clinton Administration where he was an early and crucial supporter of the agency's Design Excellence Program, which GSA launched in 1994 as a way to attract and select the best architects for capital construction projects. Private sector experience includes managing director of Jones Lang LaSalle, president of the Greater Washington Board of Trade. His prior federal experience includes positions at the Office of Management and Budget, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Federal Communications Commission. He also was associate counsel to the Senate's Committee on Environment and Public Works and Chief of Staff to the late U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. Peck served as a Special Forces officer in the U.S. Army Reserve. He is a past president of the D.C. Preservation League, a former appointee to the D.C. Board of Education and has served on numerous other public and nonprofit boards. Peck holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Pennsylvania, a Juris Doctor from Yale Law School, and was a Visiting Loeb Fellow at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design.