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Design Awards Juror Profile

Jan 20, 2022

William Ruhl FAIA

William Ruhl FAIA William Ruhl

Founding Principal, Ruhl | Jahnes

As the BSA gets ready to celebrate the 2021 BSA Design Award winners, we are featuring profiles on individuals who served on the 2021 Design Award juries. The awards recognize remarkable achievements in architecture that serve as inspiration for practitioners, and elevate the potential for the positive impact that architecture has on our quality of life.

Tell us about your path to architecture and how it has impacted your career.

I wanted to be an architect since I was a child, but am a frustrated artist at heart. I'm now finding a good balance between art and architecture, three decades in!

What are you working on now?

Finding artistic solutions to architectural problems, while addressing climate change and sustainability. Several net-zero coastal houses are on the boards.

What expertise are you excited to bring to this role?

A lifelong architectural obsession with accessible architecture, reinvigorated more recently thanks to a grandson who was confined to a wheelchair due to a genetic condition.

Gap Cove House 01 Graydon Herriott William Ruhl

Why do Design Awards matter?

As a profession we need to inspire, and awards are one small way to acknowledge special achievements.

If you could create any Design Awards category—realistic or fantastic—what would it be?

This is a mundane answer, but the majority of BSA firms are small and focused on residential work. Our awards programs need to be less focused on massive institutional and commercial buildings, and more on the kind of work most of us spend our lives focused on.

01 Tony Luong Rudolph House William Ruhl

What policy from another city sets an example you think Boston could successfully follow?

Perhaps one idea is how Minneapolis got rid of single family housing zoning, which allows for ADUs.

What is the most effective step you’ve taken in your work toward a more sustainable built environment?

It has been surprisingly easy to get our clients to commit to rooftop solar, thanks to the short payback period these days.

01 Nat Rea Black Rock House William Ruhl

What do you see as the largest barrier to equity in the profession?

The unaffordability of an architectural education, and the relatively low salaries that follow graduation.

What is your favorite Boston-area building or structure?

Corbu's Carpenter Center at Harvard.