Architect, professor, speaker and author Paul Lewis, FAIA, has bridged the worlds of practice and academia by producing award-winning architecture, interiors, books, and conceptual projects. His acclaimed built works synthesize design excellence and tectonic innovation, using inexpensive materials in new ways to engage methods of construction to maximum effect. Lewis is a founding principal at Lewis.Tsurumaki.Lewis Architects (LTL), formed with his twin brother, David, and Marc Tsurumaki, in 1997. Winner of a National Design Award, eleven AIA awards, Architectural League’s Emerging Voices and Young Architects Prize, Lewis has developed buildings that champion the capacity for design excellence to not be defined by expensive budgets.
The 2017 Jury of Fellows of the AIA elevated Lewis to its prestigious College of Fellows in the first category of Fellowship, which recognizes architects who have “Promoted the aesthetic, scientific, and practical efficiency of the profession,” according to the organizations’s definition. Now among the AIA membership’s three percent distinguished with Fellowship and honorary Fellowship, Lewis was recognized at the New Fellows Reception hosted by AIA New York in March and was honored further at an investiture ceremony at the recent AIA Conference on Architecture 2017 in Orlando.
Here, he identifies professional highlights and early influencers that have helped earn him some of the recognition we celebrate today:
Q: What is your proudest achievement, as an architect, or your favorite project you’ve worked on?
A: Our book Manual of Section, which contains not only five years of research and drawings articulating a typology of section, but also twenty years of thinking about how section can be generative through our own architectural projects.
Q: What is your earliest memory of experiencing architecture?
A: Munich 1972; playing in, under and around Frei Otto’s tensile structures.
Q: Who do you most admire?
A: My parents, Arnold and Beth Lewis, architectural and cultural historians respectively, who bring curiosity and optimism to life.
Q: What are you working on right now, or what is your next big project?
A: We are working on the Helen R. Walton Children’s Enrichment Center, a new school for early childhood education, which is one of the first projects in the Northwest Arkansas Design Excellence Program.
Q: What does being a Fellow mean to you?
A: It means I am challenged to do even better work, so as to not squander the honor.
Editors’ Note: This feature is part of a series celebrating the 18 members of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) New York Chapter that have been elevated to the AIA College of Fellows in 2017, an honor awarded to members who have made significant contributions to both the profession and society. Learn more about Fellowship here. See the previous Featured Member here.