PULLMAN, Wash.—Architect and Washington State University alumnus Philip Jacobson will receive the WSU Alumni Association (WSUAA) Alumni Achievement Award at the offices of Miller Hull in Seattle at 6:30 p.m. today, Jan. 21.

The award is the highest honor bestowed by the WSUAA, and recognizes Jacobson for his distinguished architectural leadership, vision, international achievements and public good. Since 1970, more than 460 alumni have received the award. Alumni Association Director Jim Zuba will present the award on behalf of the WSUAA.

Jacobson graduated from WSU with honors in 1952 after serving in a number of leadership roles on campus, including president and vice president of Sigma Alpha Epsilon. Upon graduation, he accepted a Fulbright Scholarship to study at University of Liverpool. In 1962, Jacobson joined the faculty at the University of Washington where he continues today as professor emeritus.

His rich, productive relationship with Scandinavia began in 1968 when he received a second Fulbright Scholarship to study at the Finnish Institute of Technology, earning a Masters of Architecture. His work as an architect was recognized by the Finnish Government in 1985 when he was awarded the honor of “Knight first class order of the White Rose”. In 1992 he received the Finnish Association of Architects award for contributions to Finnish architecture and Finnish-American relationships.

Jacobson’s contributions to architectural education are global. He has taught as a visiting professor at Tokyo Institute of Technology, The Royal Danish Academy of the Arts, The University of Lund in Sweden, and Kobe University, and has held positions in Australia and New Zealand.

Jacobson also built a distinguished career in professional practice. He served as Director of Design for international firm The Richardson Associates (TRA) from 1967 to 1991. Under his direction, the firm won more than 130 design awards. He influenced notable buildings including the SeaTac International Airport, Albuquerque International Airport, and the Bagdad International Airport. Additionally, he was responsible for the design of the Washington State Convention Center and One Union Square in Seattle.

In 1973, Jacobson joined the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects (FAIA), an honor reserved for a maximum of five percent of the licensed architects in the US. In 1994, he accepted the highest honor of the American Institute of Architects, the Chapter Medal.

Jacobson’s design work extends beyond buildings to include furniture, lighting fixtures, and jewelry, reflecting his Scandinavian-inspired approach to design. “Elegant Explorations: The Designs of Philip Jacobson” by Grant Hildebrand (University of Washington Press 2007), details the diversity of his contributions to architecture and design.

Nominator Gregory Kessler, professor and director of the WSU School of Architecture and Construction Management, said: “The principal ethical responsibility of an architect is to create buildings that stimulate the quality of life and the environment for humans that use and experience them. This value underscores the educational foundation for the architecture school at WSU. Phil held this belief as a dominant force throughout his life. His recognition will serve as a model for our students as to the value and significance of architecture in our environment.” 

The Miller Hull Partnership LLP is an architecture firm established in 1977 by WSU graduates David Miller and Robert Hull, and is located at 71 Columbia Street, Suite 600, Seattle.