The late Allen Eskew awarded AIA LA Medal of Honor
The late R. Allen Eskew, FAIA, was awarded the highest honor given by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Louisiana chapter – the Medal of Honor – posthumously during the AIA LA Design Conference Banquet in New Orleans on September 5. His son, John Eskew, accepted the award on his behalf. Eskew died in 2013.
In a career spanning nearly 40 years, Eskew built an architectural practice of national distinction that is recognized for its commitment to design excellence and a unique brand of architecture that enhances the public realm and celebrates the spirit of place. The firm received the gold standard in architectural recognition, the 2014 Architecture Firm Award from the American Institute of Architects which recognizes a practicing firm and celebrates a body of work which spans more than 20 years of professional practice.
In addition, the firm has received a host of state and national honors, and had its projects profiled in national architecture publications. Eskew was named a Fellow by AIA in 2003.
His architectural influence was critical on such important New Orleans projects as the 1984 Louisiana World’s Fair Master Plan, the Aquarium of the Americas, Crescent Park, Audubon Center for the Research of Endangered Species, and the award-winning ReInventing the Crescent Master Plan, along with the Louisiana State Museum in Baton Rouge.
A native of Alexandria, Allen received his bachelor of architecture degree from Louisiana State University and a master’s in architecture from the University of California, Berkley before returning to New Orleans. He was recognized as a citizen architect who contributed his time to reshaping New Orleans especially after Hurricane Katrina. He also supported numerous civic, cultural and arts related organizations, including the Council for a Better Louisiana, the Contemporary Arts Center, Artspot Productions, SPCA, and Unity for the Homeless.
His ability to coordinate multiple consultants, designers and stakeholders was a talent that would be integral to his long- term professional success and vital to the Gulf-South’s civic and cultural renaissance following Hurricane Katrina.
Beyond the built work, Eskew was respected for his mentorship and professional development; for encouraging women to be leaders in the architecture profession; and encouraging a studio culture that celebrated diversity, individuality, and participation rather than observation. He thrived on relationship building, community outreach, and shared the New Orleans virtue of lagnaippe—a little something extra—with contagious gusto.