Dean Ila Berman and the members of the Dean’s Advisory Board are pleased to announce that Adam Yarinsky, FAIA LEED AP (BSArch 1984) has been selected as the 2017 A-School Distinguished Alumni Award recipient. This award recognizes exceptional graduates from the School of Architecture who have demonstrated creativity, innovation, leadership and vision through their distinguished body of work, within the professional, academic, civic, or artistic realms, as well as their service to the University of Virginia. “We are very proud to have alumni like Adam who embody the very best of our educational values and professional endeavors – design excellence, innovative research and socially impactful projects,” said Dean Berman.
Adam Yarinsky is a founding partner of Architecture Research Office (ARO), a New York City firm, led by Yarinsky, Stephen Cassell and Kim Yao. ARO is described as being ‘as much a laboratory as a design practice,’ an ethos that is marked by a commitment to a rigorous process of investigation, analysis and testing, leading to designs that are at once materially sensuous, intellectually engaging, and socially impactful. Driven by this research-driven process, ARO is able to operate at a wide range of scales and achieve a diverse variety of projects from strategic planning, architecture and urbanism, to the crafted object. Commenting on this diversity, Distinguished Lecturer and nominating faculty member, Professor Lucia Phinney, expands, “From addressing climate change to designing affordable, ultra-efficient housing prototypes and to defining the Five Principles of Greenwich South (a strategic planning study with The Alliance for Downtown New York), ARO has always been known for their social ethic as well as for their elegant design work.”
Under Adam’s leadership, vision, and experience, ARO has received over 75 design awards, from organizations such as the American Institute of Architects, the Chicago Athenaeum, the New York City Public Design Commission, the New York Landmarks Conservancy, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, the Architectural League of New York, and the National Endowment for the Arts. In addition to these notable recognitions, the Distinguished Alumni committee members, in particular, acknowledge and admire Adam’s lasting contributions to both practice and education. He has held academic fellowships and appointments at the University of Michigan, Washington University in St. Louis, Princeton University, Harvard’s Graduate School of Architecture, Yale University School of Architecture, among others, and has returned to UVA’s A-School multiple times as visiting faculty. “Throughout his career, Adam has exhibited strong parallel contributions to education and practice, and is deftly able to bring his significant knowledge and experience working on critical issues impacting the built environment to his teaching and mentorship of the next generation of architects,” remarked Paul King, Chair of the Dean’s Advisory Board and the A-School Distinguished Alumni Award committee.
Most recently Adam was appointed as the School of Architecture’s Thomas Jefferson Visiting Professor for the spring 2016 semester. Related to ARO’s seminal design research on the impact of rising sea levels on Manhattan (featured in the Museum of Modern Art’s Rising Currents exhibition in 2010), graduate students worked with Adam on a studio focusing on a large-scale urban project in Hampton Roads and the Chesapeake Bay, addressing the social and ecological threats facing this coastal community. Through this studio, students were able to address how the localized conditions of place intersect with global ecological patterns, in order to manifest designs focused on resiliency expressed through the temporal realm. Adam further described how the terms of context and time are fundamental to his work. He explained, “…we believe that a building is a living part of its social and physical context. Our approach to design is grounded in a recognition of architecture’s capacity to create manifold relationships between people and places directly through use and experience over time.”
These values are expressed through Adam’s significant accomplishments as a teacher, researcher and practitioner. Merrill D. Peterson Professor of Landscape Architecture, Elizabeth Meyer, stated, “Adam Yarinsky’s gifts as an architect are evident in many realms – private practice, university teaching and public advocacy. He is deserving of the UVA School of Architecture Distinguished Alumni Award based on the innovative nature of his built commissions through ARO, but also for his contributions as a thought leader and public advocate for design. His talent and tenacity is evident from the scale of details to urban designs.”
“I am very honored by this recognition. The education I received at the A-School was vital to my development as an architect: I was exposed to critical thinking, motivated to work hard and strived to achieve excellence,” Adam said. “But perhaps more important was the unique confluence of architecture, landscape architecture, urban planning and architectural history that is integral to the A-School. This became the basis of my perspective as a practitioner and an educator.” The A-School Distinguished Alumni Award will be presented to Adam at the 29th Annual Dean’s Forum Dinner, being held at V House, the home of Jim and Bruce Murray, on Saturday, October 7, 2017 in Charlottesville.