David Waggonner, FAIA, a principal in the architectural firm of Waggonner & Ball in New Orleans, received the highest honor given by the American Institute of Architects Louisiana Chapter (AIA LA) on September 10.
He was honored with the prestigious 2016 Medal of Honor during the AIA LA Awards Banquet, held in conjunction with its annual Design Conference in Lafayette. The award is given by the AIA LA Board of Directors to recognize significant and enduring contributions to the advancement of architecture and influence on architects in Louisiana.
Waggonner has led projects in Europe, China and across the United States. He has held teaching positions at Washington University, Yale University and Tulane, and has given countless lectures nationally and internationally. A facilitator at Rockefeller Resilience Academies, he has also been actively working to imprint a new way of thinking about design and investment through the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities campaign in locations as diverse as New York City; Chennai, India; and Jakarta, Indonesia. Devoted to his native Louisiana, Waggonner is committed to architecture as a way of understanding the world and enhancing the environment, encompassing lands and waters, from the countryside to the city.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Waggonner saw an opportunity for New Orleans to reinvent itself as a sustainable city that embraces its life-blood: water. Having led urban design projects elsewhere, notably for Beidaihe, the Chinese central government’s summer retreat, he championed a process that examines history, soils, biodiversity, infrastructure networks, and urban space, along with the forces of water. This holistic foundation for design was developed through the Greater New Orleans Urban Water Plan. In 2015, the American Planning Association recognized the Urban Water Plan with a National Planning Excellence Award for Environmental Planning.
Waggonner is a fellow of the American Institute of Architects and has practiced as a principal and partner of his firm since 1982. He has received numerous national honors and awards, including the National Design for Aging Merit Award in 2015, the Innovation Award in 2013, the National Preservation Award in 2012, and the Urban Hero Award in 2013. He is a member of numerous architectural and environmental planning organizations.