The work of Lawrence Scarpa has redefined the role of the architect to produce some of the most remarkable and exploratory work today. He does this, not by escaping the restrictions of practice, but by looking, questioning and reworking the very process of design and building. Each project appears as an opportunity to rethink the way things normally get done – with material, form, construction, even financing – and to subsequently redefine it to cull out to latent potentials – as Lawrence aptly describes: making the “ordinary extraordinary.” This produces entirely inventive work; work that is quite difficult to categorize. It is environmentally sustainable, but not ‘sustainable design;’ it employs new materials, digital practices and technologies, but is not ‘tech or digital;’ it is socially and community conscious, but not politically correct. Rather, it is deeply rooted in conditions of the everyday, and works with our perception and preconceptions to allow us to see things in new ways.
Mr. Scarpa is the recipient of the 2022 American Institute of Architects Gold Medal, the institute’s highest honor. has received more than 200 major design awards including twenty-one National AIA Awards, Architect Magazine’s HIVE 50 Innovator Award, 2017 National AIA Collaborative Achievement Award, 2017 AIA Los Angeles Chapter Gold Medal, 2018, 2016 & 2014 Architect Magazine’s Top 50 Architecture Firms (ranked 2nd, 4th and 9th respectively), 2015 AIA California Council Lifetime Achievement Award, 2014 Smithsonian Cooper Hewitt National Design Award, 2005 Record Houses, 2003 Record Interiors, 2003 Rudy Bruner Prize, five AIA COTE “Top Ten Green Building” Awards and was a finalist for the World Habitat Award, one of ten firms selected worldwide. In 2004 The Architectural League of New York selected him as an “Emerging Voice” in architecture. His work has been exhibited internationally including the National Building Museum in Washington, DC. He has been Featured in NEWSWEEK and appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show. In 2009 Interior Design Magazine honored him with their Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2010, his firm Brooks + Scarpa was awarded the National and State of California Architecture Firm Award from the American Institute of Architects.
He has taught and lectured at the university level at numerous schools. Since 2013 he has been on the faculty at the University of Southern California. He was also the 2012 Visiting Professor at Harvard Graduate School of Design, the 2011 and 2012 John Jerde Visiting Professor at the University of Southern California, the 2010 Ivan Smith Eminent Visiting Professor at the University of Florida, 2009 E. Fay Jones Visiting Professor at the University of Arkansas, the 2008 Ruth and James Moore Visiting Professor at Washington University, the 2007 Eliel Saarinen Visiting Professor at the University of Michigan, 2005 Max Fisher Visiting Professor at Taubman College of Architecture at the University of Michigan, 2004 Freidman Fellow at the University of California at Berkeley. He is a co-founder of Livable Places, Inc.; a nonprofit development and public policy organization dedicated to building mixed-use housing on under-utilized and problematic parcels of land. Most recently he co-founded the Affordable Housing Design Leadership Institute (AHDLI) to help develop more sustainable and livable communities.