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Robert Ivy will present a lecture at 4:30 p.m. Monday, April 17, in Ken and Linda Sue Shollmier Hall, Room 250 of Vol Walker Hall, on the University of Arkansas campus, as part of the spring lecture series in the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design. 

Ivy, FAIA, is the former executive vice president and chief executive officer of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and former editor-in-chief of Architectural Record.

In his lecture, “Fay Jones for the 21st Century: A Coherent Vision,” Ivy will discuss who Fay Jones was, how his career impacted the field of architecture, and why people should care about his legacy today. By examining Jones’ work, the context in which he and his office built, and Jones’ coherent, measured approach to both environment and structures, Ivy will explain how Jones demonstrated how programmatic constraints can result in transcendent architecture, for the 20th century and today.

The namesake of the Fay Jones School and an Arkansas native, Jones was a member of the U of A’s first graduating class of architecture students in 1950. He later taught for 35 years and served as the School of Architecture’s first dean. He also earned an international reputation for his design work. The AIA awarded him the prestigious AIA Gold Medal in 1990. Later, it honored Jones as one of the country’s “10 most influential living architects” and ranked his masterwork, Thorncrown Chapel, as the fourth best building by an American architect in the 20th century. 

Ivy served as executive vice president and chief executive officer of the AIA from 2011-2021. As CEO of the AIA, he helped grow the association to a record membership of more than 95,000 members, all during difficult periods in American life, including the pandemic, racial reckoning, and the politics that divide the nation. 

Before joining the AIA, Ivy was editorial director and vice president at McGraw-Hill Construction, as well as editor-in-chief of Architectural Record, a McGraw-Hill publication. With his guidance, Architectural Record covered the architectural expansion in China, witnessed the challenge of 9/11, addressed architecture’s role in climate, and became the most widely disseminated architectural journal worldwide. It also received the National Magazine Award for General Excellence.

Throughout his career, Ivy has served as a frequent keynote speaker, panelist, moderator and media spokesperson for events coast to coast and around the world, from the White House and the Monterey Design Conference in California to gatherings in Europe and Asia.

In 2009, Ivy received the G.D. Crain Jr. Award for his contributions to business media. For his contributions to architectural education, he received the Tau Sigma Delta Silver Medal. In 2010, Ivy joined I.M. Pei, FAIA, as one of two then living recipients of the title “Master Architect” by Alpha Rho Chi. Ivy also received the Dean’s Medal from the Fay Jones School in 2017. 

His book Fay Jones: The Architecture of E. Fay Jones, FAIA (1992, AIA Press) was cited with the George Wittenborn Memorial Book Award by the Art Libraries Society of North America for “highest standards of scholarship, design, and production.” It will be reissued by the University of Arkansas Press.

He served three times as the U.S. Commissioner at the Venice Architecture Biennale. Since 2018, he has been awarded two lifetime achievement awards: the Noel Polk Lifetime Achievement Award from the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters (2020), the organization’s first architect recipient; and the Mortimer M. Marshall Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Institute of Building Science (2021), primarily for his work in social equity.

While in practice in Columbus, Mississippi, Ivy taught at Mississippi State University. He was also Distinguished Visiting Faculty at Syracuse University in architectural criticism. Most recently, Ivy taught a seminar with Dean Peter MacKeith at the University of Arkansas, titled “A Life in Design: Design Leadership in the Real World.” This fall, he will teach a course on “Practice Concerns” to graduate students at Tulane University. 

Ivy received a Master of Architecture degree from Tulane University. He also received a Bachelor of Arts (cum laude) in English from Sewanee: The University of the South, in Sewanee, Tennessee.

The school is pursuing continuing education credits for this lecture through the American Institute of Architects

This lecture is free and open to the public. Seating is limited. 

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