The 2024 AIA Gold Medal goes to David Lake and Ted Flato
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The 2024 AIA Gold Medal goes to David Lake and Ted Flato

Through the confluence of nature, beauty, and resilience, Lake and Flato have made sustainability exciting in a way few other architects have accomplished

The 2024 AIA Gold Medal goes to David Lake and Ted Flato
By Editorial Staff -

David Lake and Ted Flato are the winners of the 2024 AIA Gold Medal. The American Institute of Architects’ highest annual honor, the medal recognizes professionals whose work has had a lasting influence on the theory and practice of architecture.

Lake and Flato, who established Lake|Flato in 1984, which today has offices in San Antonio and Austin, received the award for their commitment to addressing complex and controversial environmental and socio-political issues, with a view to inclusiveness and easing the burden on our planet.

Austin Central Library - Lake|Flato Architects © Nic Lehoux, courtesy the author and AIA


Lake’s and Flato’s projects

Both Texans and architecture graduates from Stanford University, Lake and Flato began their careers designing ranch houses in their home state. They soon established a reputation as architects and urban planners through numerous projects across a broad range of scales and types, in Texas and beyond.

Always at the forefront of sustainable design, Lake|Flato has distinguished itself for its dedication to creating healthy, sustainable, and inclusive designs inspired by nature. The firm’s work has received numerous awards, including 15 COTE Top Ten Awards, the recognition awarded by AIA’s Committee on the Environment.

The Marine Education Center - Lake|Flato Architects © Casey Dunn, courtesy the author and AIA

Over the years, the practice has contributed to preserving access to over 50,000 acres (20,000 ha) of land in Texas and conserving more than 35,000 acres (14,000 ha) of threatened habitat stretching from West Virginia to Florida’s Everglades. It received one of its COTE Top Tens in 2020 for the Marine Education Center in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, which replaced an earlier structure destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in August 2005. The design was notable for its use and maintenance of land as a first line of defense against natural disasters. Also in 2020, the practice received the same award for the Austin Central Library. With LEED Platinum certification, this is among the most daylit public libraries in the world.

Another COTE Top Ten Award came in 2023 for Confluence Park in San Antonio, a living laboratory that offers visitors a chance to learn about the ecotypes of the South Texas region and the function of the San Antonio River watershed.

Confluence Park - Lake|Flato Architects © Casey Dunn, courtesy the author and AIA

“Their enduring commitment to biophilic design and the wellbeing of humans is clearly evident in projects like the Josey Pavilion, the first Living Building Challenge-certified project in Texas,” explained the AIA. This multifunction center, a 2016 AIA Top Ten winner, is in Decatur, Texas, and operates as a demonstration site for the Dixon Water Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting healthy watersheds through sustainable land management.

Lake and Flato have also repurposed over three million square feet (279,000 m2) of space into multifamily housing, hotels, and offices. These projects include the transformation of a 1950s paper warehouse into a LEED Gold-certified building, which now serves as the headquarters of the Livestrong Foundation, and the redesign of an old and inefficient clinic to create the Arizona State University Health Services Building, a welcoming facility for students.

The Pearl - Lake|Flato Architects © Lara Swimmer, courtesy the author and AIA

Another highlight is the Pearl Brewery Development, which received the 2017 Urban Land Institute Global Award for Excellence. The project involved the adaptive reuse of a 20th-century brewery into a self-sufficient, mixed-use village for residents, nonprofits, and local businesses intended to promote a sense of community and local economic development.

Finally, every day, almost 19,000 people shop at the eight different Lake|Flato-designed H-E-B grocery stores, operated by the H-E-B Grocery Company chain in Texas and Mexico. Through collaboration with the Rocky Mountain Institute to address the grocer’s supply chain, these stores feature sustainable initiatives that lower prices and reduce the facilities’ carbon footprint.


>>> The AIA Gold Medal has been assigned to Carol Ross Barney in 2023 and to Angela Brooks and Lawrence Scarpa in 2022

Cover image ©Lake|Flato Architects, courtesy the author and AIA
Please refer to the individual images in the gallery to look through the photo credits

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