Architecture alumni duo honored with Lawrence Medal

Design for people and the environment has reached new levels thanks to achievements by UO alumni William Leddy and Marsha Maytum, and their San Francisco firm, Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects

In honor of Leddy and Maytum’s distinguished career path, the UO School of Architecture and Allied Arts will present the Ellis F. Lawrence Medal—the school’s highest honor—to the duo during commencement ceremonies June 19.

William Leddy, BArch ’75 and Marsha Maytum, BArch ’77“This will be the first time a collaborative team will be honored with the Lawrence Medal,” Dean Christoph Lindner said in an email to the A&AA community. “Their firm continues to be recognized nationally for its work in sustainable design and for their commitment to ‘making good architecture accessible to everyone.’ ”

This is the 20th year the Lawrence Medal has been awarded.

From their early careers as students in the Department of Architecture, where they met in the 1970s, to the award-winning, 20-person firm they helped to build, Leddy and Maytum—both Fellows of the American Institute of Architects (FAIA)—have stayed true to their values: advancing sustainability, design excellence, social equity, and integrated practice.

Both say those values were born at UO.

“At the University of Oregon, we constructed a framework of values that has guided our lives in design ever since,” the pair said in a “Reflections” piece for the award.

“[Architecture Professor] John Reynolds and all those incredible classes gave us such an important understanding of energy efficiency and working in harmony with nature and how important it was for the environment. Our Oregon experience definitely had profound influences on both of our careers,” Maytum said.

“When we were there in the early ’70s, the whole notion of environmentally appropriate design was in its infancy,” Leddy said of their time at UO. “We’d gone through the oil crisis, and the first generation of solar homes was going on at the time. Serious environmental responsibility was already a huge part of the A&AA culture.”

Four decades later, “we remain convinced that the built environment has an important role to play as a catalyst for positive change, modeling an inspiring, carbon-neutral, and equitable society,” they said. “Now more than ever, we believe the transformative power of design can help lead our communities toward a just, sustainable future for all.”

Their industry has noticed, and amply recognized, Leddy and Maytum’s accomplishments. In April, they were honored with the prestigious 2017 National American Institute of Architects (AIA) Architecture Firm Award, the highest honor the Institute bestows on a firm for notable architecture production covering at least a decade. Previous awardees include Gensler, Perkins & Will, and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.

Rene Cazenave Apartments
Above: One of Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects’ award-winning projects is the Rene Cazenave Apartments, in San Francisco, which provides 120 apartments and support services to house former chronically homeless individuals. Photo copyright Tim Griffith.

“[Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects’] passion for addressing some of the profession’s thorniest issues including regenerative design, universal access, social equity, and housing for the most disadvantaged, has been consistent and impressive,” BNIM principal emeritus Bob Berkebile wrote in support of their nomination for the AIA Firm Award.

The firm has received more than 140 design awards, including 21 National AIA Awards and 36 national and international awards from other leading organizations.  It is one of only three firms in the United States to have received eight Top Ten design awards from the American Institute of Architects Committee on the Environment (AIA COTE).

For Leddy and Maytum, their leadership goes far beyond awards as they consistently bring ecological design principles and standards to the forefront.

A member of the AIA Committee on the Environment Advisory Group from 2009 to 2014, Leddy led the creation of the AIA COTE Top Ten Plus Award, the Institute’s first award to recognize proven sustainable design performance. As COTE chair in 2013, he initiated the AIA COTE Top Ten for Students Award. And Leddy led the initiative to require ecological design narratives and metrics within the AIA Honors Awards program.

Sustainable historic restoration has been the hallmark of Maytum’s work, including adaptive reuse of existing structures and creation of new buildings within historic settings. She was an early advocate for preserving historic resources while integrating new uses, technologies, and sustainable strategies.

She is a nationally recognized pioneer in bridging historic preservation and sustainable design. In the 1990s she was a team leader for several pioneering eco-charrettes including “Greening of the Presidio San Francisco,” “Greening Affordable Housing” Los Angeles, and the International Green Building Challenge in Vancouver, British Columbia, and Maastricht, Netherlands.

In 2015 Leddy and Maytum were named the Pietro Belluschi Distinguished Visiting Professors at UO. Their intermediate architecture studio centered around a theoretical project to house collaborative incubator spaces for the development of sustainable products, tech shops for public use, urban farms, and maker fairs.

Leddy received his bachelor of architecture in 1975 and Maytum received hers in 1977 after studying in Denmark at the Royal Academy. As partners in Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects, Leddy, Maytum, and Richard Stacy, FAIA, have been collaborating continually since 1983.

San Francisco Art Institute at Fort Mason Center
Above: Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects led an adaptive reuse project to transform a decommissioned, historic army base into the San Francisco Art Institute at Fort Mason Center. The firm worked closely with the National Parks Service, the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and the State Historic Preservation Office on the project. Rendering by Bruce Damonte / Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects.

Marsha Maytum and Bill Leddy in 1977
Above: Marsha Maytum and Bill Leddy in 1977.