AIA/ACSA Topaz Medallion for Excellence in Architectural Education 2024 awarded to Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk

The Board of Directors and the Strategic Council of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) along with the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) today announced Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, FAIA, as the 2024 winner of the AIA/ACSA Topaz Medallion for Excellence in Architectural Education.

The AIA/ACSA Topaz Medallion honors an individual who has been intensely involved in architecture education for more than a decade and whose teaching has influenced a broad range of students.

Plater-Zyberk, who holds degrees from Princeton and Yale universities, has played a significant role in shaping the University of Miami’s School of Architecture since it was formally created by university President Edward T. Foote II in 1981. Since she began teaching at the university in 1979, Plater-Zyberk has continually sought out problems in the built environment that she could address collaboratively with students and colleagues.  

As dean of the school, a position she held for 18 years, she augmented the Bachelor of Architecture degree with two- and three-year master’s degrees in architecture, a post-professional master’s in urban design, and a master’s in real estate development and urbanism. In addition, she raised more than $10 million to support professorships, new programs, and the construction of three new facilities. During her leadership, the school experienced significant institutional growth, and she nurtured a culture of intellectual exchange, encouraging faculty to engage in research and share their work in publications.  

Informed by her experience as a co-founder of the Congress for the New Urbanism, she continues to teach important courses on architecture and urban design, including the recently developed course “Adaption to Climate Change.” Her former students can be found engaged in design initiatives in communities across the globe. In addition, Plater-Zyberk holds a parallel appointment within the university’s Miller School of Medicine and collaborates with faculty peers on research on the built environment’s impact on human health. She continues to lecture widely and is a visiting professor at institutions of higher education in the U.S., Europe, and Asia, presenting more than 100 lectures in the past decade alone.  

Outside of the academy, Plater-Zyberk continues to practice at DPZ CoDesign, the Miami-based firm she co-founded in 1980 with Andrés Duany, FAIA. Building on its well-established reputation for innovation and community design, the firm now boasts six partners with offices across the nation. Its work, widely celebrated with awards and honors, has contributed to the discourse on community, town planning, and urban design.  

Learn more about Plater-Zyberk’s selection as the winner of theAIA/ACSA Topaz Medallion for Excellence in Architectural Education 2024.