Florida/Caribbean Architect - Winter 2013 - (Page 9)
Editorial / Diane D. Greer
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Editor, ﬂorida/caribbean Architect
Diane D. Greer
Since 1967, AIA Florida has been celebrating design excellence by presenting an
individual member architect with the Award of Honor for Design. Since the late 1960s,
the award has been presented 28 times. Two years ago, previous recipients Roney Mateu,
FAIA, Carl Abbott, FAIA, and Guy Peterson, FAIA, began working on a plan that would
elevate the Award of Honor for Design to its rightful place in the hierarchy of prestigious
AIA Florida honors. During the presidency of Michael Lingerfelt, FAIA, a plan was
conceived to create a medal, equal in status to the Gold Medal, that would be presented
retroactively to past winners and to future winners in recognition of a life’s work built on
a noteworthy design history.
The new medal is described as “the highest award an architect can receive for design in
the state of Florida.” It was created by Roney Mateu, FAIA, and is pictured on the cover of
Roney selected the “golden section” as the basis for the design, describing it this way:
“The universality of the symbol makes it recognizable to everyone in the design field.
It represents, and is associated with, good design, proportion and scale as the basis of
Historically, architects from the Greeks to Le Corbusier proportioned buildings to
approximate the golden section. For at least 2,400 years, mathematicians have been
fascinated by what we now call the “golden ratio” or “golden section.” In simple terms, it
is a spiral that, as it grows, gets wider by the factor of phi (1.618) for every turn it makes.
Many spiral forms occur in nature, the nautilus shell being the most familiar, but similar
forms can be seen in the outer shell of the human ear and plants such as fern fronds. For
thousands of years, this proportion has been believed to be aesthetically pleasing. It was,
therefore, the perfect form on which to base the design of the new medal.
Cast in lightweight aluminum in a foundry in the Northeast, the medal is two inches
wide by a fraction more than three and a quarter inches tall. The front has both polished
and non-polished surfaces that create a beautiful contrast in the design and give the
medal a three-dimensional character.
In the future, the new Medal of Honor for Design will be given to architects in
recognition of a career dedicated to producing work that employs “systems of harmony
and proportion,” as Le Corbusier’s work is often described.
On a personal note, there are several people who were invaluable in gathering material
for this issue. Special thanks to Clyde Brady for being a wonderful intermediary and
supplying information not otherwise available. Likewise, John Howey. Don Singer helped
to locate people and Roney Mateu answered 1,000 emails with all of my questions about
the new medal. I am grateful to four wives in particular for expediting correspondence
and getting information to me quickly. Bunny Morgan (my best to Bill), Myrtice Craig (my
best to Bob Broward), Martha Taylor and Lynn Seibert were all champs.
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florida/caribbean ARCHITECT | winter 2013
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Florida/Caribbean Architect - Winter 2013
President's Perspective/Dan Kirby, AIA, AICP, LEED AP
Editorial / Diane D. Grteer
AIA Design - " A Search for the Soul of a Project"
Florida/Caribbean Architect - Winter 2013