ACADIA Awards of Excellence

Inaugurated in 1998, the ACADIA Awards of Excellence represent recognition, by colleagues worldwide, of consistent contributions and impact on the field of architectural computing. Through 2005, awards were given in three categories: Teaching, Service, and Research. In 2006 an award was added in Emerging Digital Practice, and the prior three were renamed Teaching Excellence, Innovative Research, and Society. In 2007, an additional award for an innovative academic program was added to recognize individual or collective efforts in the establishment of an innovative academic program that contributes to the education of students in the field of digital design. At most, one award is presented each year in each category to an individual or academic program that, in the eyes of the review committee, exhibits “evidence of exceptional and innovative achievement.”

ACADIA Design Excellence Award

The ACADIA Design Excellence Award is given by ACADIA’s Board of Directors to exceptional architects, designers, and researchers who have made significant, innovative, and impactful contributions to the fields of architecture and computational design.

Odile Decq

Odile Decq has seen her notoriety and the success of her firm founded in 1978 grow ever more. Her work encompasses a comprehensive universe where architecture, design, art, and urbanism converge, challenging and complementing one another. With a direct style and assertive personality, she combines bold geometries and innovative creations across various domains.

International recognition came very early, in 1990, when she undertook her first major commission, the Banque Populaire de l'Ouest in Britanny. This project, accompanied by numerous publications and 10 national and international awards, symbolized a new hope arising from the punk-inspired revolt against conventional norms.

Notable architectural achievements include the MACRO in Rome, GL Events headquarters, the FRAC Museum, Tangshan Geopark Museum, and lately, the“Antares” tower in Barcelona.

In 2014, Odile Decq established the "Confluence Institute for Innovation and Creative Strategies in Architecture" in Paris where implements an innovative pedagogy emphasizing student autonomy and self-directed learning.

ACADIA Society Award for Leadership

This award recognizes extraordinary contributions and service to the ACADIA community.

Kathy Velikov

Kathy Velikov is Professor and Associate Dean for Research and Creative Practice at the University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. She is a licensed Architect, founding partner of the research-based practice rvtr (, which serves as a platform for exploration and experimentation in the intertwinements between architecture, the environment, technology, and sociopolitics. Her work ranges from material prototypes that explore new possibilities for architectural envelopes that mediate matter, energy, information, space, and atmosphere between bodies and environments, to the investigation of urban infrastructures and territorial practices. She is a recipient of the Architectural League’s Young Architects Award and the Canadian Professional Prix de Rome in Architecture. Kathy is co-editor of Ambiguous Territory: Architecture, Landscape, and the Postnatural (Actar, 2022) and co-author of Infra Eco Logi Urbanism (Park Books, 2015). Kathy served as ACADIA President from 2018-2020 and Vice President from 2021-2022.

ACADIA Teaching Award of Excellence

This award recognizes innovative teaching in the field of digital design in architecture. Teaching approaches that can be adopted by other educators are recognized in particular.

Terry Knight

Terry Knight is the William and Emma Rogers Professor of Design and Computation in the Department of Architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She conducts research and teaches in the area of computational design, with an emphasis on the theory and application of shape grammars and making grammars. Her book, Transformations in Design, is a well-known introduction to the field of shape grammars. She has published on grammar-related topics in design research journals, and co-edited grammar and computation themed journal issues. Her current research explores what abstract, formal, and discrete computation can tell us about the active, sensory, and continuous temporal nature of making.

Knight serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Mathematics and the Arts, Design Science, and Design Studies. She is a co-editor of the Routledge book series, Design, Technology and Society.

ACADIA Innovative Research Award of Excellence

This award recognizes innovative research that contributes to the field of digital design in architecture. The award distinguishes research with the potential to transform contemporary architecture.

Joseph Choma

Joseph Choma is the Director of the School of Architecture and a Professor of Architecture at Florida Atlantic University. Previously, he taught at The Cooper Union, MIT, and Clemson University. He was also the 2019-20 NCCR Digital Fabrication Researcher in Residence at the ETH Zurich. He has received awards from the American Institute of Architects and the American Composites Manufacturers Association. His material explorations have been noted by CompositesWorld Magazine as “spearheading research into the use of foldable composites." He is the inventor of Foldable Composite Structures — U.S. Patent Number 10,994,468. Additionally, he is the author of three books, Morphing: A Guide to Mathematical Transformations for Architects and Designers (2015), Études for Architects (2018) and The Philosophy of Dumbness (2020). Joseph completed graduate studies in design and computation at MIT and completed his PhD in Architecture at the University of Cambridge, where he was a Cambridge International Scholar.

ACADIA Digital Practice Award of Excellence

This award recognizes creative design work that advances the discipline of architecture through the development and use of digital media.

Nader Tehrani

NADAAA is an architecture and urban design firm led by principal designer Nader Tehrani, winner of the American Academy of Arts and Letter’s 2020 Arnold W. Brunner Prize, member of the Cooper Hewitt, and newly elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Tehrani is also professor and former Dean of The Cooper Union’s Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture.

NADAAA has evolved over three decades with a focus on the transformation of the building industry, innovative material applications, and the development of new means and methods of construction, especially through digital fabrication. Rather than focus on typology, NADAAA’s portfolio is built on process, with examples of institutional, academic, housing, commercial, and civic projects.

NADAAA boasts an unprecedented nineteen Progressive Architecture Awards, numerous national and international awards, and consistently places among the top design firms in Architect’s annual ranking, where it has been selected as the top national firm three years in a row.