Out of the hundred or thousands of individuals that may populate a given industry or science, there are always that stand out, a bright light shining through a darkness of mediocrity. These individuals that not only make their name stand out in their chosen field, but they go beyond and truly make their marks on the world. How can one truly honor someone who has so completely epitomized a successful career? Well, a Lifetime Achievement Award is a start.
On April 11, 2018, Robert Ivy became the first architect ever to receive the Polk Lifetime Achievement Award. The award is given to both artists and patrons of the arts who are in some way connected to Mississippi, whether they were born there or have lived there for an extended time. Other Mississippians have received the award over the years, such as actor Morgan Freeman and writer Eudora Welty, but never before has an architect won the esteemed award.
Over his long career, Ivy has amassed quite the resume. He first made a major mark in his field while he was Editor-in-Chief of McGraw Hill’s Architectural Record. Ivy led the Architectural Record extremely well, with the magazine pulling in numerous awards, eventually becoming the most popular architectural journal in the world. Under his leadership, the magazine began a brand new issue printed entirely in Mandarin, with popularity exploding in countries in the Middle East as well as China.
With the success of his time at the Architectural Record, Ivy received a job as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at the American Institute of Architects, or AIA. As the CEO of the AIA, Ivy transformed architecture as a whole, highlighting its artistic and professional qualities. Ivy in fact received the award from AIA for his effort in “making architecture more accessible to the general public.” This action truly solidified his position in the architecture industry and popularized the art.
Along with his skills in architecture and his leadership qualities in running bot the Architectural Record as well as the AIA, Ivy has been recognized as an accomplished author. His book, Fay Jones: Architect is a biography of E.Fay Jones, an apprentice to famous architect Frank Lloyd and one of the few recipients of the AIA Gold Medal. The book has been described by the Art Library Society of North America as “the highest standards of scholarship, design, and production.” Overall, the reception of this award surely marks Robert Ivy as one of the more influential architects of his generation, and will cement him in history for his numerous contributions to both architecture and the world.