December 1, 2014 Architecture Professor Wins AIA Gold Medal for Work in Haiti, Appalachia

McRae photo

An architecture professor was recently honored by the East Tennessee Chapter of the American Institute of Architects for helping students and architects alike define how to use the profession as service.

John McRae received the AIA Gold Medal Award during the organization’s annual Design Awards Gala last month. The award recognizes an individual in the field of architecture who has made outstanding contributions with far-reaching impacts.

McRae has led teams to Haiti to help with design-build initiatives as part of the UT Haiti Project, launched in response to the massive earthquake that rocked the island nation in 2010. UT has designed a secondary school, a master planning guide, housing, and medical facilities for several communities in the country.

He also is part of the Appalachia Community Health and Disaster Readiness Project, an interdisciplinary team of students and faculty from several UT programs working together to improve wellness and disaster readiness in Clay County, Kentucky, through practical and innovative methods.

“John McRae has expanded the possibilities of who architects serve and has engaged a variety of disparate professions in the process,” according to McRae’s nomination letter from Susanne Tarovella and Andy Godwin, UT alumni and members of Sparkman and Associates Architects Inc., who have worked with McRae on the Haiti Project. “His interdisciplinary approach to teaching and practice has fostered learning opportunities for a wide variety of people, from American college students to young Haitian children. The work that he has spearheaded designing and building schools, clinics, fire halls, and housing has had, and will continue to have, lasting impact over generations.”

In addition to being a professor and former dean of the College of Architecture and Design, McRae is an accomplished writer, illustrator, and sculptor.