Wendy Dunnam Tita Elevated to AIA College of Fellows

Page is very proud that Principal Wendy Dunnam Tita will be elevated to the American Institute of Architects (AIA) College of Fellows, an unparalleled level of professional prestige that only three percent of AIA members achieve. This year, 152 AIA members and two international architects join the College of Fellows. Wendy’s investiture will take place in June at the AIA Conference of Architecture (A’18) in New York City. Congratulations, Wendy Dunnam Tita, FAIA, IIDA, LEED AP!

Recognized by the College of Fellows in the design category, Wendy joins colleagues across the profession who have been honored for their distinguished bodies of work. Fellowship in the design category is granted to architects who promote the aesthetic, scientific and practical efficiency of the profession. To learn more about Wendy’s work, read a summary of her design philosophy and accomplishments below and be sure to review the gallery of representative images of her work.

This recognition is a tribute to Wendy’s dedication to design. As an architect of interior spaces, Wendy champions the conversation between design, craft and people to advance and nurture this essential collaboration, and to enrich the human experience of architecture and its making.

In a letter of support for Wendy’s elevation to the College of Fellows, one colleague notes that Wendy’s design work is admirable for its “beauty and sophistication” while also praising her agility and process: “The range of the work in terms of its responsiveness to place and functional context is extraordinary. The care and craft invested at every level of design is exquisite.”

A Champion of Collaborative and Crafted Design

Wendy‘s work explores a variety of scales, materials and expressions. She approaches a project with an earnest inquiry into the why of the client’s project and program. She then seeks answers by following the best part of the project’s intent and core needs.

A furniture maker herself, Wendy brings a keen understanding of material to her designs, which notably reveal the hand of the maker even in unexpected contexts such as the concealed edge of a boardroom table, the wood ceiling in a state office building and seating in a downtown law office. She works closely with craftsmen and artisans, elevating the role of architect from specifier to one of collaborator and problem solver. It is her intent to connect human experiences with thoughtfully designed spatial scales, surfaces, acoustics, lighting and details.

In form and detail, Wendy’s finely crafted work conveys a holistic experience of space that works hand-in-glove with the building design. She knows when to accentuate elements of a space—through views, volume, structure, art elements—and when to be still.

Her interior designs succeed at a myriad of scales and function. For the 320,000-square-foot Robert E. Johnson Legislative Office Building in Austin, Wendy developed new sustainable lighting protocols that changed State of Texas lighting design standards. In the U.S. headquarters of German prosthetics maker Ottobock, sculptural curving walls and glass planes express accessibility and fluidity, combining sleek, integrated technology with an organic quality. The project earned a 2017 Good Design is Good Business Award from Architectural Record Magazine.

Wendy’s exquisite attention to material and detail within the context of mountains, climate and expansive views at the Torcasso Residence in Northern New Mexico was featured in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times among other publications. Overall, her work has garnered more than 40 design awards from the AIA, International Interior Design Association (IIDA), Society of American Registered Architects (SARA), Texas Society of Architects (TxA) and industry leaders.

Texas Architect Magazine recognized the collaborative aspects of Wendy’s work in a feature article, “Collaboration and Craftsmen,” in 2014. She has also spoken on integrating interior design with the work of artisans at the 2014 TxA convention and the 2017 AIA Austin Summer conference. At South by Southwest Eco in 2016, she was a mentor and coach to emerging industrial design professionals from around the country.

Design Educator, Advocate and Leader

As an adjunct lecturer, Wendy has also contributed to the education of architects and interior designers. She assisted in the development of the curriculum for The University of Texas School of Architecture Interior Design Program and taught at the school until 2005, returning in 2016 to teach an advanced design studio.

As an advocate for the profession, in 2015 she revived the long-dormant AIA Austin Women in Architecture committee and chaired an exhibition and associated lecture series that received coverage on a statewide NPR program. She has secured more than $23,000 for the emerging leadership program she co-founded, including grants from AIA National, the Austin Foundation for Architecture and the AIA College of Fellows.

Wendy mentors young architects in their pursuit of great design and personal life success, including speaking at the 2007 TxA convention on “Balancing Work and Family” and leading a panel at the 2017 convention entitled “What I Learned from Women in Architecture.”

In addition to her service on the City of Austin Downtown Commission, she supported a local school to develop its bond request. Wendy is the 2018 AIA Austin President. To see the full list of the 2018 Fellows announced by AIA National, click here.