The American Institute of Architects Fellows are honored for their exceptional work and contributions to architecture and society

The School of Architecture is proud to announce that three of its alumni were recognized as AIA Fellows this year, the highest membership honor awarded for exemplifying architectural excellence. Each was selected for their exceptional work and contributions to the profession.  Only 3 percent of the American Institute of Architects' members have this prestigious distinction and we are happy to announce our alumni as part of the AIA College of Fellows:

Laura Heim (BSArch ’81)

Zena Howard (BSArch ’88)

Lee Ledbetter (BSArch ’80)

This year's Fellows will be welcomed into the College of Fellows at a ceremony during the AIA Conference on Architecture 2018 (June 21 - 23, New York City). The ceremony will take place at St. Patrick's Cathedral on June 22.  

Laura Heim, FAIA LEED AP 

Laura Heim Architect

Sunnyside, New York

Laura Heim, established her award-winning, 100% woman owned, neighborhood-based practice in 2006, after two decades of leading restoration efforts in various prominent firms, including Mitchell/Giurgola and Kohn Pederson Fox and eight years of sharing her passion and practical design experience in university classrooms across the country. She has made an impact through her leading advancements in restoration standards in historic neighborhoods by sensitively inserting contemporary programs and design into older buildings. Having restored more than 30 properties in the nationally significant planned community of Sunnyside Gardens in New York, Laura has led the effort in creating this international exemplar of affordable housing and extending the relevance of historic fabric, through restored sustainable communities. She has presented and published her work extensively, lecturing at preservation and architecture conferences nationally and serving as both an advocate and an expert on innovative ways to advance the practice of restoration beyond historical replication. In addition, Laura has been active in many community and academic groups over the past 35 years. She served as President of the Queens Chapter of the AIA and as a member of the AIA New York State Board of Directors and has taught at the University of Virginia, the University of Florida, among other institutions. In her nomination submission, Laura was described as, "one of those special people who has committed her professional life to the improvement and preservation of the built environment and advancing the concept of sustainability."

Zena Howard, FAIA, LEED AP

Perkins + Will

Research Triangle Park and Charlotte, North Carolina

Zena Howard is a Principal and Managing Director of the North Carolina practice of global architecture and design firm Perkins+Will. An award-winning architect, strategist, mentor and team builder, Zena is known for her success leading visionary, complex, and culturally-significant projects including the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC, the Anacostia and Tenley-Friendship Neighborhood Libraries in Washington, DC, the Motown Museum Expansion in Detroit, MI, and the New Brooklyn Village development initiative in Charlotte, NC. She is also Managing Principal and Lead Facilitator for the City of Vancouver Hogan’s Alley initiative and the City of Greenville Town Common Sycamore Hill project. Zena is helping these and other clients envision and create cultural destinations that will celebrate the history and context of displaced, forgotten communities. She is an advocate for diversity within the architecture profession, a field where minority and women professionals are historically under-represented. Zena is a founding member of Perkins+Will’s Diversity + Inclusion Council, an associate professor of architecture at North Carolina State University College of Design, and is a member of Delta Sigma Theta, Inc. public service sorority.

Lee Ledbetter, FAIA

Lee Ledbetter & Associates

New Orleans, Louisiana 

Lee Ledbetter founded Lee Ledbetter & Associates in New Orleans in 1996. The firm's projects have received numerous local, state and regional AIA design awards and have been extensively featured in local and national publications. Lee's work is known for its integration of architecture and interior design; he has been described by Metropolitan Home as "one of twenty outstanding talents in the design community." His work has been exhibited widely at the Institute of Architecture and Urban Studies, the Architectural League, and the Paine Webber Galleries, in New York; the AIA, in Washington DC; the Ballenford Architectural Gallery, in Toronto; the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Contemporary Arts Center, and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, in New Orleans; among others. Prior to establishing his own practice, he worked in the offices of Robert A.M. Stern, Gwathmey Siegel, Michael Graves and Skidmore Owings and Merrill. In addition to being an AIA Fellow, he is a member of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards. He is an inducted member of the City of New Orleans' Historic District Landmark Commission's Architecture Review Committee for the Central Business District, and the Director's Advisory Board of the Cooley House Foundation and the New Orleans Museum of Art. Lee has also taught at Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation and Tulane University's School of Architecture.

Congratulations to these well-deserving alumni!

Please join the School of Architecture in celebrating each new fellow during a special alumni reception in New York City to kick-start the 2018 AIA Conference. The reception will be held on June 20 at the Atrium at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden from 6:30-8:30PM. For more information contact: