The American Institute of Architects (AIA) announces two New Orleans architects elevated to AIA College of Fellows

NEW ORLEANS – The 2018 Jury of Fellows from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) has elevated a prestigious class of members to its College of Fellows. The honor is awarded to members who have made significant contributions to the profession. Out of a total AIA membership of over 90,000, there are just over 3,400 distinguished with the honor of fellowship and honorary fellowship. The elevation to fellowship is conferred on architects with at least 10 years of membership in the AIA in one or more of several nomination categories, including promoting the aesthetic, scientific, and practical efficiency of the profession; advancing the science and art of planning and building by advancing the standards of architectural education, training and practice; and coordinating the building industry and the profession of architecture through leadership in the AIA or other related professional organizations.


A Louisiana native, Lee Ledbetter established his practice, Lee Ledbetter & Associates, in New Orleans in 1996 following an education and start to his career on the east coast and in Chicago. He has developed a body of work conceived and executed holistically from site to interior—an informed modernism that is of its time and which marries architecture, interiors, fine art and historic preservation in a way that expands the influence of the profession beyond those individual fields.

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The firm has received numerous local, state and regional AIA design awards and have been extensively featured in local and national publications. These accolades represent a portfolio of retail projects and art galleries, site specific residences and civic projects, and restorations of mid-century modern masterpieces.

Lee received his M. Arch from Princeton University where he was awarded the AIA school medal. He received his B.S. Arch from the University of Virginia and spent one year at the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies in New York. He has served as a visiting instructor at Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation and at Tulane University School of Architecture.

Lee has volunteered on boards and committees of institutions vital to the future of art and architecture in Louisiana: New Orleans Museum of Art, Contemporary Arts Center, Louisiana Museum Foundation, Longue Vue House and Gardens and Cooley House Foundation in Monroe, Louisiana. Serving on the Architectural Review Committee of the Historic District Landmarks Commission, Lee has a hand in shaping the evolving built environment of New Orleans’ Central Business and Arts Districts.

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Z. Smith is Principal and Director of Sustainability and Building Performance at Eskew+Dumez+Ripple, winner of the 2014 AIA Firm Award. His built work includes academic, laboratory and residential buildings, including winners of the RAIC Green Building Award and the AIA COTE Top Ten. He brings training and experience in physics (MIT) and engineering (Princeton) to the field of architecture (UC Berkeley), and is named as inventor on 10 patents and author on over 50 peer-reviewed scientific publications.

He teaches at the Tulane School of Architecture, and serves as North American Representative to the International Union of Architects (UIA) Sustainable Development Commission. He has served on the national Advisory Group of the AIA Committee on the Environment (COTE), the USGBC Energy & Atmosphere Technical Advisory Group, served as Chair of the 2017 SCUP Southern Regional Conference, and is former Chair of the US Green Building Council (USGBC) Louisiana Chapter.

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Z. Smith is also a member of the International Institute for Sustainable Laboratories (I2SL), the Society of Building Science Educators (SBSE), and the Society for College and University Planning (SCUP).

“We are honored to have these two talented architects representing the AIA New Orleans Chapter! Congratulations to this year’s recipients, and thank you for your dedication to the profession.”


AIA New Orleans 1000 Saint Charles Ave., New Orleans, LA 70130, (504)525-8320,


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