R. Steven Lewis (LF ’07) has been named the recipient of the 2016 Whitney M. Young Jr. Award by the American Institute of Architects (AIA). One of the AIA’s Honor Awards, the Whitney M. Young Jr. Award was established in 1972 and is presented to architects or firms that actively contribute to social change through their realized work.
The award is named after the late Whitney Moore Young, Jr., an American civil rights leader who served as head of the National Urban League during the Civil Rights Movement, expanding the organization from 38 employees to 1,600. Throughout his life, Moore challenged the architectural profession to assume its responsibility toward social issues.
A practicing architect, Lewis is currently president of his own architecture consulting practice, Thinking Leadership, in Altadena, California. During his three decades of practice, he has worked to increase the number of minorities in the practice of architecture.
Lewis cofounded RAW Architecture (now RAW International) in Los Angeles in 1984, and from 2009 to 2010, he served as president of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA), an organization that addresses issues of race and society within the realm of architecture. Since 2006, Lewis has served as editor of NOMA’s magazine, NOMA. In 2008, he spoke with Architect magazine about RAW, NOMA, and boosting the number of minorities practicing architecture.
Lewis is a graduate of Syracuse University’s School of Architecture and was a Loeb Fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Design in the 2006–2007 academic year. While at the GSD, Lewis’s research focused on the structural inequality affecting the number of practicing architects of color.