March 11, 2021
Myer Harrell, AIA, LFA, LEED AP BD+C, Homes has been named as a 2021 AIA Young Architect for his active engagement in the profession of architecture, his leadership in sustainability and his impact on the built environment.
Recipients of the AIA Young Architects Award have demonstrated exceptional leadership and made significant contributions to the architecture profession early in their careers. Myer is one of twenty honorees nationwide, and the only recipient in Washington State. He is a Principal and the Director of Sustainability for Weber Thompson, an integrated design firm in Seattle nationally recognized for their commitment to sustainability.
The depth of Myer’s knowledge, from jurisdictional green incentives to biophilia, makes him an in-demand speaker at high-profile events and writer of topical pieces for widely read publications. Myer’s ability to intertwine practice and teaching helps him press upon tomorrow’s architects the need for an interdisciplinary and integrated design process.
The majority of Myer’s professional career has been devoted to Weber Thompson, which he joined in 2005 as an intern. Today, he is a Principal and its first Director of Sustainability.
In 2010, Myer led the charge in Weber Thompson’s signing of the AIA 2030 Commitment and assembled a team to consistently track the firm’s work, provide project data to AIA, and oversee the firm’s internal efforts to meet a constantly evolving list of sustainability goals. Myer’s leadership has led to Weber Thompson’s listing on ARCHITECT 50’s sustainability rankings for four years in a row, a rare accomplishment for a mid-sized firm largely focused on private commercial development.
A trusted industry leader in high performance design, Myer draws on his teaching, research, and volunteer service to inspire WT’s commercial design practice. He was named AIA Seattle Young Architect in 2011, and has served on the AIA Seattle Board of Directors since 2016, currently as the president-elect. Nationally, Myer serves on the AIA Continuing Education Committee. His past service includes the USGBC Greenbuild Program Working Group, the USGBC Education Events Committee, and the Cascadia Green Building Council Board of Directors.
Myer earned a Bachelor of Science in Architecture at the University of Maryland and a Master in Architecture and Commercial Real Estate Certificate from the University of Washington. He has co-instructed architecture studios at the University of Washington and has been invited to be a guest lecturer and studio critic. His current research includes building-integrated agriculture, land-use incentives for deep green projects, and crafting a business case for sustainable design choices.
“He brings out the best in teams, asking great questions and then providing ‘room’ for all to contribute in exploring answers,” wrote Tom Marseille, P.E. LEED Fellow, Managing Principal, Integral Group, in a letter supporting Myer’s nomination for the Young Architect Award. “He is a high-functioning, integrative thinker and multi-mode communicator and has been able to contribute meaningfully to most any topic in my experience. This has made him a great person to kick new ideas around with, whether formally or informally.”
Myer has been a part-time faculty member at the University of Washington’s Department of Architecture, and a firm liaison for the University’s Center for Integrated Design Research Partnership Initiative. Working closely with Associate Professor Gundula Proksch, he taught a graduate-level comprehensive design studio that investigated the integration of urban agriculture in, on, and around mixed-use residential buildings. Myer introduced experts on the subject as well as speakers well versed in growing food in urban settings and arranged class visits to growing operations in the city. The resulting projects were cutting-edge designs that realized building systems capable of food production, paired with metrics that detailed the potential agricultural yield.
“In the 22 years of my academic career and professional practice in renowned offices in London, New York, and Seattle, I have not seen a more accomplished and versatile young architect that shaped his profession in so many significant ways,” Proksch wrote of Myer. “With Myer’s high credentials and enthusiasm, he becomes an admired mentor and role model whenever he interacts with students.”
For Weber Thompson’s 70,000-square-foot Watershed Office Building in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood, completed last June, Myer steered his team through site challenges and the developer’s desire to outshine its recent LEED Gold building across the street. His team’s solution to maximize the development was to participate in the Seattle Living Building Pilot Program, a land use incentive that rewards extra height and area for Petal Certification through the Living Building Challenge. Because of his intimate knowledge of the most rigorous green building standard in the world, Myer was able to further educate the team and design the building with advanced energy and water efficiency strategies.
Completed in 2020, Watershed is the recipient of the Washington State NAIOP Night of the Stars Sustainable Commercial Development of the Year award, and was a Runner-Up in the DJC 2020 Building of the Year Awards.
The Jury for the AIA Young Architects Award included:
- Peter Kuttner, FAIA, Chair, Cambridge Seven Associates, Inc., Boston, Massachusetts
- John Castellana, FAIA, TMP Architecture, Inc., Bloomfield Hill, Michigan
- Frances Halsband, FAIA, Kliment Halsband Architects, New York, N.Y.
- Ivenue Love-Stanley, FAIA, Stanley Love-Stanley, Atlanta, Georgia
- Ryan McEnroe, AIA, Quinn Evans, Washington, D.C.
- Chris-Annmarie Spence, AIA, Wkarch, Chicago, Illinois
Read the official AIA announcement.
About Weber Thompson
Seattle-based Weber Thompson is a full service, West coast design firm specializing in architecture, interior design, and landscape architecture. This award-winning company has a staff of 70 design and construction professionals, housed in Watershed, a deep-green office building in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle. Since 1988, Weber Thompson has developed a diverse practice with projects that include high-rises, high-density urban infill, residential, commercial office, hospitality, and affordable housing projects. Weber Thompson seeks effective results through a thoughtful and collaborative design process. Learn more at www.weberthompson.com or contact Weber Thompson at (206) 344-5700 or email@example.com.
About the American Institute of Architects (AIA)
Founded 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. Learn more at www.aia.org.
About AIA Seattle
AIA Seattle provides the architecture community with resources and relationships to make a difference through design. A chapter of the American Institute of Architects, AIA Seattle is a 501(c)(6) nonprofit, membership service organization. Learn more at www.aiaseattle.org.