Board of Directors elected James Logan Abell, FAIA, as the 2010 recipient of the Edward C. Kemper Award. Named in honor of the AIAs first executive director, the award recognizes individuals who contribute significantly to the profession of architecture through service to the Institute. Abell will be honored at the 2010 AIA National Convention in Miami.
The Tempe, Ariz.-based Abell has spent the last 35 years offering the public a myriad of community design solutions the AIA has to offer through its Regional and Urban Design Assistance Teams (R/UDAT). He has been the public face of what architects and the AIA can do to help people in need of better cities, town, neighborhoods, streets, homes, and businesses. Abell has worked with numerous R/UDAT programs across the nation, assembling diverse groups of design professionals to lead community forums in developing design solutions for changing communities, including affordable housing.
In 1974, Abell won a fellowship for work and travel in Northampton, England while finishing his architectural degree at Arizona State University (ASU). A Mark III British New Town, the Northampton Development Corporation sparked his early interst in sustainable urbanism and afforded new experiences in urban design and master planning. Abell further developed this expertise as a 10-year member of the City of Tempes Planning and Zoning Commission. In 1979 he founded Abell and Associates Architects in Tempe. The firm offers a diverse array of design services: architecture, landscape architecture, and urban planning.
Abell first became involved with the AIAs R/UDATs in 1974 in Phoenix, and he led his first national R/UDAT in 1994. Hes been a consistent presence in the AIAs regional and urban design committee since the mid-80s, and helped craft an AIA design assistance team handbook. Abell has participated in 16 major community design charrettes, including AIA R/UDATs and AIA Vision 20/20 events in Vermont, Utah, California, Ohio, Texas, and Arizona. In each of these places, he has expertly assembled groups of elected officials, designers, local residents, preservationists, and activists, and helped them to find their own unique design interventions that can secure the future of their communities.
As the most public face for these initiatives, James used his passion for sustainable urbanism and his unique humor and compassion to communicate complex ideas in an accessible and compelling way, touching the minds and hearts of hundreds of participating citizens, wrote Robert Herman, AIA, of Edwards and Daniels Architects in Salt Lake City, in a letter of recommendation.
Abell has used many of his R/UDAT projects as opportunities to enroll architecture students in urban design activism and community outreach, and throughout his career hes been a constant mentor to aspiring designers. Hes taught architecture classes at ASU and the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture in Spring Green, WI and Scottsdale, AZ. Hundreds of high school students have heard his career lectures on the design professions, and Abell helped initiate and develop a 16-week architecture curriculum for Phoenix area fifth and sixth graders that was taught by 90 AIA architects.
Notable projects by Abells firm include Arizona Mills, a major retail center, the McClintock High School Multipurpose Facility in Tempe, a sports and classroom complex; a campus master plans for ASU and local community colleges; an historic renovation of the Lambert-Miller Gallery in Phoenix; and The House of 3 Courtyards, and early earth integrated residence.
Abell has been awarded five AIA Arizona Presidents Commendations and two AIA Arizona Design Excellence awards. In 1989 at the age of 38, Abell won the AIA Arizona Architects Medal, the youngest architect to do so. Named in honor of the AIAs first executive director from 1914 till 1948, past winners of the Edward C. Kemper Award have been William Perkins, FAIA (1950), Norman Koonce, FAIA (1998), Norbert Young, FAIA (2005), and Barbara Nadell, FAIA (2009).