2012 Medal of Honor Award – Thomas Bosworth, FAIA
AIA Northwest & Pacific Region Honors Thomas Bosworth, FAIA with 2012 Medal of Honor Award
OLYMPIA, WA, SEPTEMBER 24, 2012: The American Institute of Architects Northwest and Pacific Region (AIA NW&P Region) has announced that Thomas L. Bosworth, FAIA is the recipient of the AIA Northwest and Pacific Region 2012 Medal of Honor. The Medal of Honor is the highest honor presented by the AIA NW&P Region.
Thomas L. Bosworth is a Professor Emeritus with the Department of Architecture at the University of Washington and a partner at Bosworth Hoedemaker, a Seattle firm that specializes in the custom design and renovation of high‐end residences primarily in the Pacific Northwest.
Over the past four decades, Thomas L. Bosworth has helped shape architecture — both as a profession and an art form — and architects in the Northwest. His contribution to the field and practice of architecture is experienced through his two parallel, though not mutually exclusive, professions: architect and professor.
The Medal of Honor was established to select and recognize an individual member of the AIA Northwest and Pacific Region who has consistently demonstrated excellence in design, the practice of architecture, architectural education, or service to the profession, which has promoted public understanding of architects and architecture, and who has made notable contributions unique to the AIA NW&P Region. The AIA NW&P Region consists of Alaska, Guam/Micronesia, Hawaii, Hong Kong, Idaho, Japan, Montana, Oregon, and Washington.
The 2012 AIA NW&PR Firm Award jury consisted of Bob Frasca, FAIA, Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects; Joe Mayo, Assoc. AIA, Mahlum; Christine Bruckner, FAIA, CEBruckner Architect; and William Bain, FAIA, NBBJ. Donald Stastny, FAIA is the 2012 Region Medal of Honor Chair.
The Medal of Honor and certificate will be formally presented to Bosworth at the AIA NW&P Regional Conference in Tucson, Arizona, October 10-13th, 2012.
Select Nomination Statements
“Tom’s work is based in the classical, yet is modern in detail. His sections are masterful. His buildings are calm and assured and have a clarity, intelligence and strength that I find particularly touching.” — Peter Q. Bohlin, FAIA
“Tom is clearly one of the foremost architects practicing design in the Pacific Northwest Region. He is one of the stalwarts of the Northwest School as a key member of the very influential second generation of this school, following in the footsteps of Paul Kirk, Ralph Anderson, Belluschi and others. As the Director and lead architect of the Pilchuck Glass School, working with Dale Chihuly, he produced a series of beautifully crafted simple wood pavilions that stand out as some of the finest work of this school of architects.” — David Miller, FAIA
“Tom was always the consummate teacher, organized, prepared, and knowledgeable. He taught with a level of quiet confidence, and was able to get his students to generate fine schemes carried to a high level of completion.” — Jeffrey Karl Ochsner, FAIA
“Tom is deserving of this recognition. He is a quiet, soft spoken man with tremendous depth, talent and intelligence. I have a deep appreciation for his impact on design and education in this region.” –Sheri Olson, FAIA
While Bosworth’s distinguished professional career has been focused mainly on residences, his best‐known work is the collection of structures he designed for the Pilchuck Glass School, the 40‐year‐old center for glass art education located in Stanwood, WA. The school’s campus is defined by the buildings he created — over a dozen in all, including faculty and student housing, the main lodge and studios — which capture the essence of environmental sustainability with their rustic Northwest design, and use of natural and native materials.
His leadership and stewardship of the department helped shape a top architecture school with degree programs that are highly ranked nationally. Bosworth expanded the depth and breadth of architectural studies at UW with a catalog of progressive courses and enriching programs that continue to this day. Through the hands‐on international study programs he created — the widely recognized Architecture in Rome and an exchange program with Kobe University — Bosworth ushered in awareness and appreciation of the history and practice of architecture on an international scale for countless students.
Bosworth’s portfolio of more than 60 residences illustrates and celebrates design themes that are not only the pillars of his practice but are central to what defines Northwest architecture: the incorporation of natural light throughout interior spaces, the relationship of a building to the land upon which it resides, a traditional vernacular, and the importance of craft.
For Bosworth, natural light is the most important building material, providing shape and meaning to everything he creates. In the foreword of Building with Light in the Pacific Northwest, Peter Q. Bohlin, FAIA, says “Practicing architecture in the Northwest necessitates an understanding of elusive light, and projects like Ragen House on San Juan Island illustrate Tom’s masterful skills with building sections. Light streams through dormers and monitors, rendering the interior with a light quality reminiscent of paintings by Jan Vermeer.”
Bosworth excels at creating site‐based buildings rooted in their surroundings and has a knack for envisioning architecture within the landscape.
Born and raised in Oberlin, Ohio, Bosworth had an early fascination with the classics, and ancient art and architecture. He studied architectural and art history at Oberlin College, graduating with a B.A. and M.A. Following military service, he studied in the graduate schools of Princeton and Harvard, then earning his professional architecture degree from Yale in 1960. That same year, he began his career with Eero Saarinen and Associates, where he helped design several major projects which include the T.W.A. terminal addition at JFK airport, while also teaching part‐time at Yale. He went on to teach at the Rhode Island School of Design for four years, where he was head of the architecture department.
His growing reputation led to an offer from the University of Washington to teach and have a hand in shaping the Department of Architecture. Bosworth remained on the faculty for over 40 years, serving as department chair (1968‐72) and professor of architecture and architectural history courses (1972‐2003). He established and directed the Architect in Rome program, as well as co‐founded the exchange program with Kobe University in Japan.
His private practice as an architect, planner, and consultant in architectural design and historic preservation in Seattle spanned nearly 40 years — until 2004, the year Bosworth Hoedemaker was formed. His design work, which totals nearly 90 projects, incorporates light and a sense of place with classical ideas of order, simplicity and beauty. He has designed more than 60 houses, including many retreats and vacation homes in the San Juan Islands. Bosworth’s portfolio includes several buildings for Overlake School, as well as a master plan and collection of iconic buildings for the Pilchuck Glass School, which he created between 1971 and 1986. He also served as the school’s director in the late 1970’s — all while continuing to teach at the University of Washington. Bosworth was elected a Fellow of the AIA in 1979.
Over the years, his residential design work has been widely published in design journals and lifestyle magazines — including Pacific Northwest Magazine, Western Interiors, Luxe, Cottage Living, Better Homes and Gardens, Arcade Magazine, Metropolitan Home, Elle Décor and Sunset. Bosworth is the recipient of countless honors and awards, both academic and architectural. He won a fellowship from the American Academy in Rome (1980), the Masuda Fellowship to Kobe University (1990) and an honorary doctorate from Kobe University in 2003. He has been honored numerous times over the years by the AIA— at the city, state, regional and national level s— and served on the AIA national Honor Awards jury in 1984 and 2000. Most notably, he received the 2003 AIA Seattle Medal of Outstanding Lifetime Achievement.
A collection of some of his most exceptional houses, Building with Light in the Pacific Northwest: The Houses of Thomas L. Bosworth, Architect, was published in 2007.