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Congratulations to Our 2021 TxA Honorees!

The Texas Society of Architects has announced the recipients of its 2021 Honor Awards. These awards recognize exceptional members, firms, individuals, and organizations for outstanding achievements in support of the profession of architecture, the built environment, and quality of life in Texas. Recipients will be recognized at the upcoming 82nd Annual TxA Conference and Design Expo, happening in San Antonio on October 7–9.

We are excited to congratulate our Dallas honorees:


Award for Equitable Practice in Architecture in Honor of John S. Chase Jr. FAIA

Darren L. James, FAIA

As president of KAI, Darren L. James, FAIA, has built a staff reflective of his commitment to inclusion (30% minority; 45% women) and a firm founded on the conviction that a diverse talented team is crucial to transforming communities. For 41 years, the firm has focused on designing for under-resourced neighborhoods, such as Fair Park and South Oak Cliff in Dallas, working tirelessly to engage resident stakeholders to make a lasting impact. James challenges his peers to implement their own EDI programs and mentors friends and colleagues to embrace and excel in the profession with these principles. He is also a civic leader promoting equity and inclusion through roles such as president of Fair Park First, chair of the Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce, and co-chair of the mayor’s Economic Recovery Committee.


Architectural Landmark Award

Little Chapel-in-the-Woods (1939)
O’Neil Ford and Arch Swank with associate architect Preston M. Geren Architects and Engineers

This non-denominational chapel on the Texas Woman’s University campus in Denton is considered the ultimate realization of Ford’s vision for architecture to be contemporary but also of a specific place or culture. A masterpiece of architectural regionalism, the masonry building featured engineering innovation in the parabolic load-bearing brick arches leading toward the altar, and reveals an astonishing level of traditional detail, including stained glass windows, metal and ceramic light fixtures, and a multitude of other handcrafted elements. The chapel was designed as part of the National Youth Administration program, which aimed to give jobs to young people: Students, under the direction of artisans from around the country, constructed the windows, pews, altar pieces, bronze doors, and mosaics.


Mentorship Award

Women in Architecture Network

One of the most dynamic networks at AIA Dallas, Women in Architecture is an invaluable resource for the chapter’s young female members. In 2017, the group started the EMPOWERING conference to inspire, promote, and encourage female membership, and the event quickly expanded from a half-day to full-day event that has served over 500 participants to date. WiA hosts speed mentoring mixers and with a variety of events to fill the need for one-on-one conversations and networking, and recently introduced a scholarship program. AIA National has made a commitment to move justice as well as racial and gender equity from aspiration to action, and WiA is showing a remarkable way to put those goals into practice.




Mitchell Milby, Hon. AIA Dallas
Founder and Principal, Milby

Mitchell Milby, Hon. AIA Dallas, is an attorney focused on the construction industry who has long championed causes for architects and architecture in Texas. He is the founder of Milby, a law firm devoted to the representation of design professionals, and an AIA Professional Affiliate. In addition to providing legal counsel for many architect clients, he has shown a deep commitment to educating architects and engineers on issues such as corporate matters, copyright protection, documentation safeguards, and contract drafting/negotiation. He shares this knowledge via writing and speaking opportunities with AIA at the national, state, and local levels. He’s served on numerous AIA Dallas committees and has been an important part of the chapter’s legislative efforts.


Jill Magnuson, Hon. AIA Dallas
Director of External Affairs, Nasher Sculpture Center

Jill Magnuson, Hon. AIA Dallas, has spent 20 years working alongside architects and planners to highlight exceptional design while making the process more accessible to the public. As director of external affairs for the Dallas Center for the Performing Arts Foundation, she communicated the design narrative for new venues, including the Winspear Opera House and Wyly Theater; as a board member of the AIA Dallas Foundation, she helped conceptualize and create the Dallas Center for Architecture (now AD EX); and at the Nasher, she has had an ongoing role in the resolution of the reflectivity issues affecting the museum’s daylighting system. Magnuson is a founding member of the CityLab High School Foundation board and the Dallas Arts District organization.


Thank you to our AIA Dallas Community Honors Committee for championing these nominations. Congratulations to this year's recipients!