Home » Two Kentucky architects receive national honor, named to College of Fellows

Two Kentucky architects receive national honor, named to College of Fellows

Stephen A. Wiser
Stephen A. Wiser

Honored by 2017 Jury of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 15, 2017) — The 2017 Jury of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) has elevated Stephen A. Wiser of Louisville and Michael W. Jacobs of Lexington to its prestigious College of Fellows, an honor awarded to members who have made significant contributions to the profession.

They will be honored at an investiture ceremony at the AIA Conference on Architecture 2017 in Orlando.

The program was developed to elevate architects who have made a significant contribution to architecture and society and who have achieved a standard of excellence in the profession. Election to fellowship not only recognizes the achievements of architects as individuals, but also their significant contribution to architecture and society on a national level.

Out of a total AIA membership of more than 90,000, approximately 3 percent are distinguished with the honor of fellowship and honorary fellowship.

Stephen A. Wiser

Wiser was recognized for his civic activism in urban planning, preservation, publications, architectural advocacy, and healthcare, all of which have contributed to enhancing awareness and appreciation of exceptional design and its impact on the Louisville community and the world at large.

Michael W. Jacobs
Michael W. Jacobs

He has served as an energetic catalyst for quality design in his community over the past 35 years and has contributed thousands of pro-bono hours towards making the Louisville region the best place in which to live. He is a frequent contributor of design-related advocacy columns in local newspapers and is well-known in Louisville for many public lectures and presentations related to design excellence, local architectural history, prominent architects and architecture, healthcare design topics and historic preservation.

Wiser has published numerous books on Louisville architecture, including Louisville Sites to See by DESIGN, a guide book on metro Louisville’s architecture and places to visit, Louisville Tapestry: People and Places that helped make Louisville one of America’s Most Livable Cities, and four specialty books: Carriage Houses of Louisville, Modern Houses of Louisville, Historic Houses of Louisville and Distinguished Houses of Louisville. He authored the AIA Best Practices document on the importance of preserving an architect’s archives (documents, drawings, photos, etc.) and has been a leading advocate in Kentucky on saving important architectural firm archives.

Wiser is a healthcare architect at JRA Architects in Louisville, responsible for designing hospital and other healthcare projects throughout Kentucky and the U.S. He has been a frequent presenter at national healthcare design symposiums and conferences, and is the author of Minimizing Change Orders in Hospital Construction, a book designed to improve the construction process of healthcare projects. This now sold out book was purchased by hundreds of healthcare facilities throughout the United States and internationally. Steve has also been instrumental in efforts to maintain Kentucky’s healthcare design guidelines in accordance with national standards.

Michael Jacobs

Michael Jacobs is a charter member of Omni Architects, which was established in 1975, and now serves as President of the firm. Jacobs established Omni Architects’ design philosophy and widely recognized architectural identity. Under his design leadership, Omni Architects gained recognition as one of Kentucky’s preeminent design firm – the first firm to twice earn AIA Kentucky’s Distinguished Firm Award (1987 and 2008). His designs elevate the appreciation of architecture, engender awareness, and positively impact a cross-section of communities: urban and rural. His design innovation, process, and teaching advance the state of design with clients, students, and peers.

While his body of work resides primarily within Kentucky, juries composed of nationally recognized designers applaud his work. Earning more design awards from AIA Kentucky than any other firm in the state, Jacobs personally garnered 20 of the 25 design awards bestowed upon Omni Architects. These honors – along with industry awards of distinction, publications, exhibitions, and public speaking engagements – not only demonstrate his outstanding achievements but also recognize his impassioned ability to raise expectations by introducing innovative architectural solutions that exceed the status quo and widely accepted design conditions found across the Commonwealth of Kentucky. His architecturally diverse projects vary in scale and typology, and reside in a variety of contexts, including urban, small-towns, campuses, and rural countryside.

In a classroom setting, Jacobs applies his design skills to share his knowledge, educate, and inspire our next generation of architects. Serving as an adjunct instructor at the University of Kentucky’s School of Architecture since 1986, his teaching pedagogy introduces real world issues into the studio, develops innovative design skills among his students, and offers a positive impact within the Kentucky vernacular. His design influence and impact goes beyond the confines of Kentucky – his students graduate equipped with innovative design skills, and move on to work in high-profile offices within the region, across the nation, and around the world.