AIA Elevates School of Architecture Faculty and Alumni to College of Fellows

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) recently elevated four Minnesota architects to the AIA College of Fellows in recognition of their contributions to the profession and society.

The School of Architecture can count three out of the four new Minnesota fellows among its faculty and alumni:

William Blanski (B.Arch ’85), design principal with HGA Architects and EngineersRenée Cheng, professor of architecture; and Peter G. Smith (B.Arch ’85), president and CEO of BWBR.

Elevation to the College of Fellows is a tremendous honor. Out of a total AIA membership of over 90,000, only 3% are granted fellowship or honorary fellowship.

In their announcement, AIA praised Blanski’s “passionate leadership and unique perspective,” and credit him with advancing “excellence in architecture across the country by providing beautiful and functional solutions for the complex and diverse communities he serves.”

Bill Blanski (B.Arch '85)

William Blanski (B.Arch ’85)

They said that Cheng “connects profession and academy, analyzing and promoting innovative practices, new forms of representation and alternative project delivery.”

Renée Cheng, professor of architecture

AIA noted Smith’s passion for developing leaders and for “sharing creative strategies for sustainable business leadership, client service, and design.” They added that Smith “proves that business success and distinguished architecture are simultaneously possible.”

Pete Smith (B.Arch '85)

Peter G. Smith (B.Arch ’85)

The fourth Minnesota architect elevated to the College of Fellows, Timothy Dufault, is president and CEO of Cuningham Group and an alumnus of the U’s Carlson School of Management.

The 2017 Fellows will be honored at the AIA Conference on Architecture in Orlando, Florida.

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