The American Institute of Architects (AIA) is honoring Rona Rothenberg, FAIA, with its 2020 Thomas Jefferson Award for Public Architecture. The Thomas Jefferson Award for Public Architecture recognizes architects, public officials, or other individuals who design distinguished public facilities and advocate for design excellence.
By applying her unique background and affinity for justice, Rothenberg, has distinguished herself as a tireless servant who advances public architecture. By leading with an unwavering drive to instill design excellence and best practices, Rothenberg has been a guiding force in shaping California’s public realm through her work as the senior program manager for the state’s daunting courthouse building program. Her leadership has influenced countless institutional campuses and buildings across the country, demonstrating that public architecture can vastly improve the lives of citizens who rely on it.
Rothenberg’s early career was focused on legal research and teaching, after which she earned her Master of Architecture Degree from the University of California at Berkeley. She spent time in private practice focused on educational, office, and military projects before the chief justice of California called on her to spearhead the development of a 57-courthouse capital outlay plan. Since stepping into the role of lead senior capital program manager for the Judicial Council of California, Rothenberg has overseen two major capital campaigns that total more than $10 billion and has worked with prominent architectural firms to deliver compelling work for the nation’s largest judiciary. As the program’s lead staff architect in its flagship office in San Francisco, California, Rothenberg chartered the program’s funding, structure, and staffing to create the resulting court architecture program.