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Laura Wheaton Wins AIA Young Architects Award

Laura Wheaton

Ayers Saint Gross architect and planner Laura Wheaton has been awarded a 2024 AIA Young Architects Award. The prestigious award honors individuals who have demonstrated exceptional leadership and made significant contributions to the architecture profession early in their careers. Laura is one of only 30 architects from around the United States to receive this recognition.  

In the official awards announcement, Laura is praised for her “unique capacity to pull together people and ideas to accelerate change” and her commitment to “advancing the profession while amplifying the community voices that will help shape a built environment that addresses today’s challenges.”  

“Wheaton’s authenticity has inspired her peers in her firm and the organizations she supports to explore their own positive actions,” the release continues.  

Ayers Saint Gross President Luanne Greene speaks highly of Laura’s engagement methods, calling her “a natural teacher with broad impact” who “advocates for solutions that integrate social, economic, and environmental sustainability.” 

“Her professional skills are paired with integrity and character of the highest caliber,” Luanne said. “She engages individuals and communities in critical dialogue rooted in a deep respect for others. … She builds bridges across generations through her dedication to accessible community engagement. As someone whose career has also spanned from detailed architectural design to high-level planning, I really appreciate what Laura has been able to accomplish so early in her career.”  

Laura Wheaton leads an engagement session at The Ohio State University.

Laura Wheaton leads an engagement session at The Ohio State University. 

Since coming to Ayers Saint Gross in 2020, Laura has served as project manager on high-level planning projects for Ohio State University and the Archdiocese of Baltimore, among others. Previously she worked at the nonprofit Neighborhood Design Center as the manager for its Community Design Works program in Baltimore, providing conceptual design for community-initiated projects with volunteer support.  

Outside of the office, she is active with Baltimore AIA, of which she served as president in 2022.  

Laura said she is humbled and surprised by the recognition, and that she is happy to be recognized as someone who has had a less traditional career path in architecture. Prior to joining Ayers Saint Gross, Laura spent much of her career working in design-related nonprofit organizations.  

“It’s wonderful to see that nontraditional type of career path acknowledged as worth celebrating, especially by the AIA,” Laura said. “Graduating in 2008, many of my class were affected by the economic recession – most of us had jobs when we graduated and lost them within a year and had to figure out new plans. I think it’s good to see the institute recognize that there are other paths that are exciting and worth talking about when it comes to architecture today.”   

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