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AIA 2022 Award for Excellence in Public Architecture Winners – Robert Eisenstat & Paul Mankins

This year’s 2022 AIA Award for Excellence in Public Architecture has officially acknowledged two top figures in the field of public architecture. Both guys are legitimate candidates for the national honor 

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) will honor Paul D. Mankins, FAIA, principal of Substance Architecture, and Robert D. Eisenstat, FAIA, design leader for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, with the 2022 AIA Award for Excellence in Public Architecture. 

The honor is given to architects, public servants, or other people who champion excellent design while creating notable public structures. 

Robert D. Eisenstat, FAIA (Co-chair of AIA New York’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee) 

Robert D. Eisenstat, FAIA

Robert Eisenstat, FAIA, a vocal proponent of public spaces, has proved the significance of outstanding transportation design in our daily lives for more than 30 years. He has established a remarkable and significant portfolio of crucial projects that benefit everyone in his capacity as the design leader for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. His work emphasizes how crucial architects are to defining the public sphere. 

After spending 15 years in private practice in the US and Brazil, Eisenstat joined the Port Authority in 1990. The Port Authority is a distinctive government organization that daily benefits millions of locals and tourists in the greater New York City area.  

Eisenstat, who was appointed head architect of the organization in 2013, is in charge of a group of architects and specialized consultants that work together to increase awareness of the authority’s projects. He has completed extensive and complex projects that enhance transit and fundamentally alter neighborhood while advocating public-private alliances and partnerships. 

Eisenstat has been in charge of significant initiatives like the $10 billion master plan to upgrade the aging and inadequate Port Authority Bus Terminal, the busiest facility of its kind in the entire globe. Additionally, he participated in the LaGuardia Airport Redevelopment Program selection committee, a $3.6 billion project to update one of the busiest airports in the nation. Eisenstat oversaw downtown Manhattan’s transportation plans after the devastating terrorist attack on September 11, 2001, and he reinstated the PATH commuter rail service at the World Trade Center. 

Eisenstat has worked to advance a deeper comprehension and engagement in design quality and innovation for both the profession and the general public as the co-chair of AIA New York’s Transportation and Infrastructure Committee since 2007. He has fostered a sizable knowledge network through the relationships he formed with design specialists and technical experts from all around the world, through which priceless experience and skills are shared.  

Additionally, he develops and oversees a broad range of initiatives for architects, related professionals, and the general public that emphasize the importance of architects improving the sustainability of cities. 

Paul D. Mankins, FAIA (Principal, Substance Architecture, Des Moines Public Art Foundation) 

Paul D. Mankins, FAIA

Paul Mankins, FAIA, a proud native of the American Midwest, has created distinctive venues for lifelong learning, public art, and sustainability. He has made significant contributions to his hometown of Des Moines and has used his unique perspective to develop a portfolio of initiatives that benefit all Iowans. He has consistently shown throughout his career how important it is for architects to address the social, environmental, and economic issues that are important to the communities they work in. 

Mankins has created a collection of widely acclaimed public art over the course of three decades. His ideas go beyond simple practical needs to offer consumers enduring spatial experiences rooted in common civic values. 63 design prizes from various levels of the AIA, 29 of which were for public architecture, have been given out in honor of his accomplishments. 

Mankins returned to Iowa in 1991 after completing his doctoral studies at Yale University and started working as an architect for the University of Iowa in the Herbert Lewis Kruse Blunck Architecture offices. 

His first task there was to build a screen wall that concealed a parking garage from view. Even though it wasn’t a showy project, the finished Kautz Plaza transformed a tiny public area for gatherings of students and did much more than just conceal an eyesore. What was originally intended to be a straightforward screen was changed into a place, a theme that recurs frequently in his art. 

Mankins started working with other artists early in his career to create integrated site-specific artworks. He received an invitation to join the board of trustees of the Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation in 2004. Mankins is currently a Principal of Substance Architecture in Des Moines, where he is in charge of significant jobs like the Riverwalk Pavilion and Pump Station. 

He has worked with well-known artists through the organization, including Siah Armajani, Alice Aycock, Jun Kaneko, and Kerry James Marshall. Through his efforts, Des Moines has become a national destination for public art and public art has become an integral part of daily life in the city. 

AIA 2022 Award for Excellence in Public Architecture – Jury 

  • Ryan Gann, Assoc. AIA, Chair – Chicago 
  • Shannon Gathings, Assoc. AIA – Duvall Decker Architects, P.A., Ridgeland, Mississippi 
  • Joseph Mayo, AIA – Mahlum, Seattle 
  • Katie Swenson, Assoc. AIA – MASS Design Group, Boston

Read Relevant >>  2022 Architecture & Interiors Award Winner

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