Contact: Gabrielle Maxey
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
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
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.