James McCullar, FAIA, receives AIA’s 2019 Thomas Jefferson Award for Public Architecture

WASHINGTON – Jan. 10, 2019 - The American Institute of Architects (AIA) is honoring James McCullar, FAIA, with its 2019 Thomas Jefferson Award for Public Architecture.  

The Thomas Jefferson Award for Public Architecture recognizes architects, public officials, or other individuals who design distinguished public facilities and advocate for design excellence.

McCullar has been dedicated to the advancement of housing and community design throughout his career. In his private practice and his service to the AIA, McCullar has worked to provide innovative affordable housing and social interventions for urban communities that are significantly underserved by architect-led design.

After working at I.M. Pei & Partners—and his receipt of a Fulbright Fellowship for urban design that sent him to Paris—McCullar opened his own offices, James McCullar Architecture, PC, in 1979. Filling a much-needed role in New York, which at the time was experiencing rising abandonment rates and population drain following the financial collapse of 1975, his firm’s first project was a renovation of two walkup tenement buildings in the South Bronx. The project received an AIA New York Housing Award and was heralded as, “a new kind of public housing,” by The New York Times. Since then, McCullar’s portfolio has swelled with work that elevates the design standards for affordable housing and facilities that serve the community.

During his tenure as president of AIA New York, McCullar bolstered the chapter’s support for then-Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC 2030, which laid out the need for sustainable growth to accommodate an expected one million new residents in the city.

Complete award information is available on  AIA’s website.

AIAFounded in 1857, AIA consistently works to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings, neighborhoods, and communities. Through more than 200 international, state and local chapters, AIA advocates for public policies that promote economic vitality and public wellbeing.
AIA provides members with tools and resources to assist them in their careers and business as well as engaging civic and government leaders and the public to find solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation, and world. Members adhere to a code of ethics and conduct to ensure the highest professional standards.


Matt Tinder
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