Barbara Nadel, FAIA, Honored with Kemper Award for Service to the AIA

by Russell Boniface, Associate Editor

AIArchitect, December 12, 2008

The AIA Board of Directors on December 4 elected Barbara A. Nadel, FAIA, as the 2009 recipient of the Edward C. Kemper Award. Named in honor of the AIA’s first executive director, the award recognizes individuals who contribute significantly to the profession of architecture through service to the Institute.

Nadel is a two-term member of the AIA Board as regional director from AIA New York and 2001 AIA national vice president. She is the founder of New York-based Barbara Nadel Architect, an international architecture consulting firm specializing in security consulting, master planning, operational analysis, health-care design, and special-needs designs for secure environments.

In nominating Nadel for the award, AIA President-elect George Miller, FAIA, wrote: “Barbara is a proven leader, a dedicated mentor to emerging professionals, and an advocate for the AIA and the issues that are critical to the future of our profession. Honoring her with the 2009 Edward C. Kemper Award will appropriately acknowledge her significant contributions, and I recommend her to you most highly and without reservation.”

As the editor of the AIA knowledge-driven Web site previously known as Soloso, Nadel advanced the AIA’s 21st century goals of advocacy, knowledge communities, and public outreach. In addition to serving as AIA national vice president, Nadel has served as AIA New York regional director, chair of the AIA Academy on Architecture for Justice, chair of the AIA Academy on Architecture for Health Design Committee, AIA New York State Board Director, and AIA New York Chapter Health Facilities Committee chair. She served on the AIA Government Affairs Advisory Committee/ArchiPAC and was named a Continuing Education Certified Auditor of AIA programs.

Wrote James McCullar, FAIA, president, AlA New York: “For what she has done for the Institute and the standing of architects and architecture in the larger world where political decisions are often made without recourse to design guidance, we feel strongly that Barbara A. Nadel, FAIA, merits the Edward C. Kemper Award for distinguished service.”

Advocate for design excellence and security Born in New York City, Nadel established her New York City-based firm, Barbara Nadel Architect, in 1992. She earned her bachelor of architecture and bachelor of fine arts from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), and bachelor of arts from the State University of New York at Binghamton. She studied architecture at Cornell University and physics at Hofstra University. After RISD graduation, she served as an in-house architect at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Providence, R.I., which inspired her career in health-care design as well as a deep respect for Americans who serve the nation. On returning to New York in 1980, she worked for leading U.S. architecture/engineering firms (HLW, Perkins+Will, Cannon/NYC, HOK, and Karlsberger) on large urban health-care, correctional, psychiatric, and institutional projects.

For being an advocate for design excellence and security in civic architecture, AIA President Marshall Purnell, FAIA, appointed Nadel as the AIA representative to the U.S. Department of State Overseas Building Operations Industry Advisory Panel for embassy design. In 2006, First Lady Laura Bush and the White House appointed Nadel to represent the AIA at the Preserve America Summit’s Addressing Security panel with the U.S. Department of Defense, the AIA Historic Resources Committee, federal officials, national security, and preservation leaders.

Nadel is the author of the award-winning book Building Security: Handbook for Architectural Planning and Design. She is often the source for reporters and producers of news stories about design, security, planning, and justice facilities. She has contributed to the AIA with 17 publications and has written more than 450 articles on design, justice, health care, and security. Her continuing education articles in Architectural Record have educated AIA members and provided members with CEU credits for licensure.

In describing Nadel’s achievements, Kate Schwennsen, FAIA, 2006 AIA president and professor and associate dean at Iowa State University, wrote: “Barbara A. Nadel has unquestionably raised public awareness about the role of architects in society, and the valuable contributions AIA members make to the communities in which they live and work. Our Institute has greatly benefited from Barbara's generous and enthusiastic service.”

Recognized for her service and respect from her peers Nadel is twice a Richard Upjohn Fellow (2001, 2003). She was elevated to the College of Fellows in 2000. Her contributions to the Institute have earned her numerous awards, including:

  • AIA Institute Honors for Collaborative Achievement (2005) for the impact of her book, Building Security
  • Continuing Education Distinguished Service Award (2003)
  • Certificate of appreciation from the Justice Knowledge Community (2003)
  • AIA New York State (NYS) President’s Award (2002)
  • AIA NYS Del Gaudio Service Award (2001)
  • Several certificates of appreciation from AIA NYS, AIA New Jersey, AIA Long Island, AIA Queens, AIA Brooklyn, and the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers (2005)

In addition, the U.S. GSA commissioner of the Public Buildings Service named Nadel a member of the National Register of Peer Professionals in the Design Excellence Program as of October 2008. The Homeland Security Television Network also appointed Nadel to the Editorial Advisory Board (2008), along with the Hon. Tom Ridge, former Homeland Security Secretary.

Edward Kodet, FAIA, 2008 bursar of the AIA College of Fellows, enthusiastically wrote in his nomination of Nadel: “Barbara Nadel is truly a remarkable architect in the way she utilizes her knowledge and abilities to elevate the profession. Her service calls for special recognition through the Edward C. Kemper Award. I believe Ms. Nadel represents all of the qualities in our profession the Edward C. Kemper Award was designed to reward, and by presenting her with this honor, we would have elevated the meaning of this award.”