A night to remember, the 73rd annual AIA Seattle Honor Awards

November 7th marked a memorable evening at Town Hall, where AIA Seattle hosted its annual Honor Awards for Washington Architecture, a celebration of design excellence.

AIA Seattle Co-Chairs, Gladys Ly-Au Young (Founder of SKL Architects) and Rachael Meyer (WT’s Director of Sustainability and Landscape Architecture Principal)

The event commenced with AIA Co-Chairs, Gladys Ly-Au Young (Founder of SKL Architects) and our very own Rachael Meyer (WT’s Director of Sustainability and Landscape Architecture Principal). Their opening remarks set a tone of enthusiasm and inclusivity by uplifting local voices, blending discussions of design brilliance, and adding a touch of humor.

Young Architect Award goes to Neha Goel

The evening’s highlights included honoring Neha Goel, an Associate at Weber Thompson, with the AIA Seattle Young Architect Award. This prestigious award recognizes individuals licensed for fewer than ten years who demonstrate exceptional leadership and significant contributions early in their architectural careers.

WT Associate, Neha Goel

A first-generation immigrant architect, Neha is pivotal in Weber Thompson’s internal sustainability task force. In 2023, she was appointed the Licensing Advisor for Western Washington by the AIA Washington Council and was part of the AIA Align Mentorship program in 2022. In 2021 she earned her NCARB Certification, placing her in the notable group of 2.5% Asian female architects in the U.S.

Neha’s influential research has been featured in local and national publications. She bridges practice and education through professional mentorship and as a liaison to the UW Integrated Design Lab. At WT, she oversees the Construction Administration for 35 Stone, a mixed-use mass timber commercial office project in Fremont. This project, part of the Seattle Living Building Pilot Program and aiming for ILFI’s Living Building Petal certification, showcases Neha’s commitment to sustainable design.

An Honorable Mention for Orenda and the Othello Community

From 113 submissions, the jury selected 21 award winners across three categories: Built, Conceptual, and Research & Innovation. They emphasized a strong design culture in the region that authentically reflects its character and ethos. The jury’s criteria focused on beauty, inspired problem-solving, and sensitivity to human experience and environmental challenges.

Photo of Orenda at night time with the mural facade lit up

Orenda was the first project awarded with an Honorable Mention at the AIA Seattle Honor Awards (Photo by Moris Moreno Photography)

Earning the first Honorable Mention of the night, Orenda was described as “more than a building – it’s a celebration of community spirit and a stand against gentrification.” Thanks to an extensive community engagement process, Orenda responds to the needs of South Seattle’s Othello neighborhood while celebrating culture, art, and community spirit. Developed by Spectrum Development, Orenda includes 176 workforce housing units, the Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic, and the Tiny Tots Development Center.

This award is a testament to what a community-centered design can accomplish.

Redefining Excellence in Architecture

The award ceremony underscored a vital truth: architecture is not just about building spaces; it’s about improving communities. It was inspiring to see projects celebrated for their positive impact on society, reflecting the jury’s emphasis on an architect’s responsibility to design with environmental care and the human experience in mind. These awards are more than just accolades–they’re a call to action–reminding us that architectural excellence should inherently include social responsibility and environmental stewardship.

Our role as architects has never been more vital.


Filed under News, Awards
Tagged with Awards, Orenda, Othello Square, Staff

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