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Prestigious UK body recognizes Filipino architect

Anna Lira Luis, a Filipino-American architect who moved to the US after graduating from the University of Sto. Tomas, was honored as a fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects in recognition of her significant contribution to architecture and the built environment.

She became an RIBA fellow member in a special ceremony held at Florence Hall in London on Feb. 26. A pioneering global professional membership body founded in 1834, RIBA is a driver of excellence in architecture, making Lira Luis’ elevation as a RIBA Fellow especially notable.

Royal Institute of British Architects fellow member Anna Lira Luis
Royal Institute of British Architects fellow member Anna Lira Luis
The fellowship panel recommended Lira to RIBA Council, who through its appointed committee, has elected her as a fellow of the body. 

“The panel was impressed by the range of [her] activities aimed at helping others, in particular, the work that [she] did in educating disaster survivors, and [her] creation of new technologies to assist people. The panel commended [her] proactive and exciting work, and praised [her] sustained and energetic contribution, which is affecting real change,” said Neil Smith, RIBA director of membership. The community of RIBA fellows highlights the incredible diversity of individuals and their contributions to architecture — a testament of what can be achieved with hard work, commitment and vision. Fellows of the RIBA have demonstrated and continue to demonstrate the great importance of affecting and influencing change in the profession that inspires new strides in architecture.”

“RIBA is a recognized voice of our profession worldwide. Becoming a RIBA fellow is an honor for me that empowers and enables equity through participation in its platform that advocates and celebrates many architectural voices in one profession. Also, RIBA is a large professional organization that has the nimbleness of the small grassroots… an old institute founded in 1834 that is nimble to new ideas and voices that reflect our changing world,” said Lira Luis.

The RIBA fellowship, in conjunction with a recent recognition of Lira as 2019 Most Innovative Businesswomen in Diverse Architecture by the UK’s Voice of Modern Business A.I., is a testament to her proactive and exciting work.

Lira, who also received the 2010 AIA Athena Young Professional Leadership Award for “contributing time and energy to improving her community’s quality of life” and “actively assisting others, particularly women, in realizing their full leadership potential” continues with these advocacies long after receiving the recognition, through collaborations with UN Women USA and other NGOs.

She formed an architecture career for the benefit of others through research and innovation. As Taliesin fellow for Taliesin Architects Ltd., she revived the underutilized System-Built Homes — Frank Lloyd Wright’s foundational project that birthed his “Usonian” Jacobs House (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) — resulting in reduction of blight in a disadvantaged city block of New Jersey. 

Her research and development of Leapfrog Project’s “Living Ball” enabled self-sufficient empowerment of extreme weather survivors through geodesic constructions. 

In her Magnetic Levitation Experiment, she developed new architectural solutions to help island nations overcome rapidly rising sea levels. These architectural solutions to their rapidly changing environments intersect Science and Technology.

She mentored young women and minorities about 3D printing, architecture technology and licensure at Northwestern University, University of Chicago, Westwood College and Scottsdale Community College, including UN 2030 Youthforce.

With her elevation as a fellow of RIBA, Lira Luis earned her status as a worthy ambassador of the architecture profession.

Topics: Anna Lira Luis , Filipino-American architect , Royal Institute of British Architects
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