Inside Rensselaer
* Architect Peter Bohlin ’58 Awarded 2010 AIA Gold Medal

Peter Bohlin, founder of Bohlin Cywinski Jackson

Architect Peter Bohlin ’58 Awarded 2010 AIA Gold Medal

Peter Bohlin, a 1958 graduate of the School of Architecture at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, has been selected as the 2010 Gold Medalist by the American Institute of Architects (AIA). Awarded annually, the AIA Gold Medal is considered to be the highest honor bestowed to an individual architect. The recognition honors “an individual whose significant body of work has had a lasting influence on the theory and practice of architecture.”

Bohlin is the founder of Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, an architectural firm with five offices in the United States. His company was the joint venture firm for the design of the Rensselaer Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies (CBIS), and was responsible for renovations to both the Russell Sage Laboratory and Playhouse at the Institute.

“Peter Bohlin has left a lasting impression on the American landscape with his exquisite and immersive architectural design work, including right here on the Troy campus of Rensselaer,” said Rensselaer President Shirley Ann Jackson. “We are exceptionally proud of his accomplishments as a graduate of the Rensselaer School of Architecture, and proud to be among the places in the world to have permanent manifestations of his award-winning vision and design.”

The AIA cited Bohlin’s versatile and contextual use of materials and seamlessly integrated design work, writing, “Again and again, his work demonstrates that great cities, towns, and buildings are created by designers looking to further the story of their place in a collaborative and contextual way, not by singular architecture that calls for heedless and self-serving attention.”

“The Gold Medal is an affirmation of our belief in an architecture based on circumstance that relates to the nature of people, whether it be individuals or institutions; the nature of place, whether it be the natural world or a campus or an urban place; and the nature of how we make things, the materials we use to make extraordinary places,” Bohlin said. “Our beliefs have their roots in my education at Rensselaer and continue to carry me, my partners, and many architects in our practice through our careers as they continue to inform and enrich our architecture.”

Some of the other notable projects designed by Bohlin include the William J. Nealon Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in Scranton, Pa., that blends modern elements with original 19th-century design elements; the Apple Store on Fifth Avenue in New York City, with its pristine modern glass design; and the Pocono Environmental Education Center in Dingmans Ferry, Pa., which incorporates natural materials, a broad roof, and unique lantern-like lighting.

Bohlin graduated from Rensselaer in 1958 with a degree in architecture, and started the now 200-person firm Bohlin Cywinski Jackson in 1965. Bohlin’s projects have earned 14 national AIA Awards, including nine Institute Honor Awards, COTE Top Ten Green Project Awards, AIA Committee on Education, and AIA Housing Awards. He is the 66th AIA Gold Medalist, joining the ranks of such visionaries as Thomas Jefferson (1993), Frank Lloyd Wright (1949), Louis Sullivan (1944), LeCorbusier (1961), Louis Kahn (1971), I.M. Pei (1979), Frank Gehry (1999), and Renzo Piano (2008).

Bohlin will be honored at the 2010 AIA National Convention in Miami.

More information on his award can be found at press/releases/AIAB081896.
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Inside Rensselaer
Volume 4, Number 1, January 22, 2010
©2010 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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