The American Institute of Architects North Carolina Chapter (AIANC) announced that Chris Brasier, FAIA, is the 2020 recipient of the William H. Deitrick Service Medal. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the service award named in honor of the late William Henley Deitrick, FAIA, a former president of AIA North Carolina. Chris’ contributions span across the three categories of service – community, profession, and AIANC – that the award recognizes.
Throughout his career, Chris has been committed to advancing the profession of architecture. His leadership includes more than 30 years of service through the American Institute of Architects, the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, the National Association of Accreditation Boards, and the North Carolina Board of Architecture. He has shaped the next generation of designers through educational leadership in the classroom and studio for more than two decades.
“I have witnessed firsthand Chris’ substantial impact on the profession in the realms of practice, learning, and governance. He balances teaching, directing the Architectural Engineering Certificate Program at Duke University, and volunteering, while innovating practice and culture as a leader at Clark Nexsen,” comments Cheryl Walker, FAIA.
In 2011, Chris was appointed to the North Carolina Board of Architecture by Governor Purdue and completed his five-year term serving as board chair and president. During his tenure on the Board, he led several initiatives aimed at aligning governance with evolving forms of professional practice, including integrated project delivery, Building Information Modeling, and the use of electronic seals.
Chris’ engagement with the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards included serving on the NCARB Award Jury, evaluating proposals, and awarding grants to colleges and universities seeking to bridge the realms of architectural education with professional practice through innovative strategies.
While serving on the NCARB Architectural Registration Exam (ARE) Committee, he was involved in an extensive evaluation of exam content that led to remapping valued content from version 4.0 to version 5.0. Most recently, Chris was appointed to an NCARB Resiliency Work Group to examine how NCARB’s mission and programs can encourage and promote awareness regarding sustainable design, energy conservation, and disaster mitigation.
Chris has focused his career on serving higher education clients by leading the planning and design for a wide variety of building typologies. His portfolio in North Carolina includes projects with Duke University, several community colleges, and eight of the 17 schools in the statewide UNC System. His work is informed by more than two decades of active engagement in teaching at the university level, as an adjunct associate professor in Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering, where he serves as Director of the Architectural Engineering Certificate Program.
Colleague Ben Cahoon, AIA, explains that, “Chris teaches and talks about architecture to his students in such a way that they are drawn to our profession. Numerous students who were not only not in an architecture program, but who were not even in the Duke University engineering department where he lectures, have become successful architects.” He adds, “This makes our profession richer and more diverse in ways that are valuable, but can hardly be measured.”
Chris earned both a Bachelor of Architecture and a Bachelor of Environmental Design from NC State University and a Master of Business Administration from Duke University. He leads the Higher Education practice at Clark Nexsen, where he also shapes the direction of the firm as Chief Practice and Culture Officer and as a member of the firm’s Board of Directors.