2020 Honor Award Profile: Gold Medal

AIA Florida’s Gold Medal Award recognizes an individual architect in Florida who profoundly impacts the profession over an extended period. Their long-term, noteworthy accomplishments in the AIA and community organizations demonstrate distinct results characterizing one’s career as going above and beyond. The Gold Medal is the highest award that AIA Florida bestows.

The incredible dedication to big ideas about architecture set Jaime Canavés, FAIA apart and distinguish his impact on the profession. In the four decades as a professor and administrator at Florida International University (FIU), Canavés transformed the architecture curriculum into a nationally recognized, accredited program. Beyond that, he has helped and mentored countless architecture students, mostly minorities, to land their first architecture jobs. Canavés steadfastly put his shoulder behind and pushed for an enormous breadth of innovative initiatives and programs. He did so, not just for his students but also for his local community, nationally and internationally. Canavés illustrates how architectural education is a service to society and can be channeled to accomplish significant community objectives, often through and on behalf of the AIA.

He was elevated to the College of Fellows in 2001. That same year, he was honored with the AIA Miami Silver Medal. A year later, he received the AIA Florida Silver Medal and was appointed to the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. Canavés was appointed US Ambassador to the XIII Bienal de Arquitectura de Quito, Ecuador, in 2006 and was the inaugural recipient of the AIA Florida William G. McMinn Award for Outstanding Architectural Education Contributions in 2007. He received the prestigious 2011 FIU Medal of Service and the 2019 Hispanic Leadership Award in Art + Architecture.

Canaves has spent a lifetime going above and beyond, exemplifying the multi-faceted and decisive role that architecture can have on culture, inclusivity and community – raising the profile of architecture at home and abroad.

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