American Institute of Architects elevates Vermont Architect Brian Mac to College of Fellows

Charlotte, VT — The 2018 Jury of Fellows from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) elevated 152 member-architects to its prestigious College of Fellows, an honor awarded to members who have made significant contributions to the architecture profession. Among those selected was Brian Mac, FAIA, a resident of Waterbury and a principal in the firm Birdseye of Richmond.

The 2018 Fellows will be honored at a ceremony at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on June 22 during the AIA Conference on Architecture in New York City.

Upon receiving the news Mac said, “It’s a great honor. Imagine the history—the first name in the FAIA directory is Alvar Aalto—the Finnish architect legend!  It’s also very humbling, since my workmates took it upon themselves to prepare the application on my behalf. The talent in our studio is incredibly diverse and they all applied their expertise to the submittal. I’m also appreciative of those who wrote letters of support.”

The AIA Fellowship program was developed to elevate those 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 over 90,000, approximately 3 percent are distinguished with the honor of fellowship. The elevation to fellowship is conferred on architects with at least 10 years of membership in the AIA in one or more of four nomination categories: 1) promoting the aesthetic, scientific, and practical efficiency of the profession; 2) advancing the science and art of planning and building via improved architectural education; 3) leadership in the AIA and other related organizations; or 4) advancing the living standards of people through an improved environment.

Mac was elevated for his contributions in fellowship category 1. A member of AIAVT since 1997, he has received an astounding fifteen AIAVT and AIANE awards in twenty-two years for design excellence in collaboration with the Birdseye team. Prominent architect jurors for from as far as Wyoming and Colorado have echoed the comments of jurors around the Northeast in describing the signature themes that feature in Mac’s many residential projects.

Design juries reviewing Mac’s work have again and again praised the clean interiors, textural and innovative use of materials, excellent craftsmanship, a richness of detail, the transformation of traditional forms into those that are fresh and edgy, responsive site design, clear concepts, and appropriately subdued color palates. Over the years, jurors have said certain aspects of Mac’s designs called to mind the aesthetic of Frank Lloyd Wright, Donald Judd, and Mies van der Rohe—but in a new way for current time and place.

Mac said, “The application experience gave me the opportunity to look back at when I began my practice with Birdseye. I was able to see a refinement in design detail and also a common design paradigm I’ve been exploring for 20 years. The exercise has proven to be a good milestone for how to move forward.”

“Professionally, it was important to have this reflection internally,” at work, Mac added. “I clearly have benefitted, as an architect, by working with all the uber-talented individuals at Birdseye. The constant in-house learning and seeing construction on all levels has enabled me to confidently push, explore and refine design intentions.  My friends at work support me in all of this and I’m honored to share the FAIA achievement with them. It’s a great datum for the next 20 years.”

The 2018 Jury of Fellows was composed of Karen Nichols, FAIA (Chair), Michael Graves Architecture & Design; Peter Bardwell, FAIA, Bardwell + Associates, LLC; Mary A. Burke, FAIA, Burke Design and Architecture PLLC; Philip Castillo, FAIA, JAHN; Mary P. Cox, FAIA, Virginia Commonwealth University; Paul Mankins, FAIA, Substance architecture and David Messersmith, FAIA, University of Texas.

About The American Institute of Architects

Founded in 1857, the American Institute of Architects consistently works to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings, neighborhoods, and communities. Through nearly 300 state and local chapters, the AIA advocates for public policies that promote economic vitality and public wellbeing. Members adhere to a code of ethics and conduct to ensure the highest professional standards. The AIA provides members with tools and resources to assist them in their careers and business as well as engaging civic and government leaders and the public to find solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world. Visit Visit the local chapter at