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U of M's James Williamson Receives National Award for Religious Architecture

st thomasContact: Gabrielle Maxey
901-678-2843
gmaxey@memphis.edu

April 10, 2014 - James F. Williamson, a professor in the Department of Architecture at the University of Memphis, has been selected to receive the 2014 American Institute of Architects' Edward S. Frey Award for career contributions to religious architecture and support of the allied arts. The national honor is given by the American Institute of Architects (AIA)/Interfaith Forum on Religion, Art and Architecture (IFRAA) to an architect who has demonstrated a passion for and dedication to quality worship and sacred spaces, including fostering spiritual values and for promoting a cross-denominational community focused on religious arts and architecture.

The award will be presented to Williamson at the AIA National Convention in Chicago in June.

His professional practice, which focuses on the design of religious architecture, has included both new and restored churches across the country. During some 30 years of practice as a principal in his own firm, Williamson received more than 30 architectural design awards at the local, regional and national levels. His work has been published internationally. In addition, his professional activities have included leadership in IFRAA and AIA, as well as articles, lectures, films and presentations on religious architecture for professional and community groups.

At the U of M, Williamson teaches design studio, history, theory and professional practice at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. He regularly incorporates the study of religious architecture into his teaching through the assignment of religious buildings to the students in his design studios.

"We are very pleased Jim has been recognized with the AIA Frey Award for his outstanding and sustained contribution to religious architecture," said Michael Hagge, professor and chair of the Department of Architecture. "We also are very pleased that he has brought this and other experiences from his professional practice into the design studios benefiting our graduate and undergraduate students."

Williamson holds two master of architecture degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, where he was a student of Louis Kahn. He later was an associate with Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates in Philadelphia. In 2005 he was elected to the College of Fellows of the AIA in recognition of his notable contributions in architectural design and education.

The Edward S. Frey Memorial Award was established in 1981 by IFRAA Inc., which later became part of the AIA. Frey dedicated his life to his work as the executive director of the Commission on Church Architecture for the Lutheran Church of America.

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Last Updated: 4/26/14