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ASU design professor takes top architecture award

Desert Courtyard House by architect Wendell Burnette
December 06, 2013

Faculty and alumni from The Design School in the Arizona State University Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts won several awards at the American Institute of Architects Arizona (AIA AZ) Design Awards Gala, including the Arizona Architects Medal, the organization’s highest honor.

The 2013 AIA AZ gala, which took place at the A.E. England building in Phoenix on Nov. 2, honored architects from across the state for their exemplary projects or service to the community.

Craig Barton, director of The Design School, said that the recognition of the school's faculty and alumni by the AIA AZ ”highlights both their work as designers and the connections between The Design School and the professional community. Their projects are exemplary and help to describe new models of design practice. We value their efforts, recognition and continued engagement with the school.” 

Jack DeBartolo lll, a longstanding member of the school’s architecture program and currently a faculty associate in the school, received the 2013 Arizona Architects Medal, the highest award given at the state level. Past awards have gone to Arizona-based architects ranging from Michael Goodwin to Will Bruder.

The medal is presented to members who have “advanced the profession of architecture” and recognizes “their outstanding professional achievements and their sense of social responsibility.”

Wendell Burnette, a professor of practice in the school and also a longstanding member of the architecture faculty there, received an AIA AZ honor award – the top prize in that category – for the Desert Courtyard House.

Steven Fucello, a graduate of the architecture program, is the principal for Fucello Architects, the firm that won both the Sustainable Living Award and an AIA AZ design honor award for its Tom’s Thumb Trailhead project.

Tom’s Thumb Trailhead provides access into the Scottsdale McDowell Sonoran Preserve’s multi-use trail network. The project site is located at the northern base of the McDowell Mountains. The facility provides parking for 224 vehicles, interpretive displays, a formal gathering area for educational venues, equestrian access and waterless restrooms.

Fucello said that it was “very humbling” to receive recognition from AIA AZ for the Tom’s Thumb Trailhead project.

“Personally, this project will hold a special place in my career because I feel it truly highlights knowledge and sensibilities that were developed from cross-disciplinary studies between the Master of Architecture and Master of Environmental Planning programs while attending ASU,” Fucello said.

Fucello noted that although there was no formalized joint-degree program between architecture and environmental planning when he attended the school, the directors of both programs worked with him to craft a specific program to meet the requirements of both concurrently.

“With (the directors’) encouragement and support, I graduated with both degrees, which laid the foundation for a heightened sensibility to the natural desert environment.”

For more information about The Design School at ASU, visit