Posted: by

Montgomery County Design Excellence Awards 2021
In our most recent blog post “2021 Design Excellence – It’s Time to Celebrate!” we wrote about how excellent architectural design not only supports a great public realm, but that it also has the power to attract and inspire people in a way that can sustain our environmental, social and economic vitality well into the future. Architecture, urban, or landscape design at all scales of development has the power to make our world resilient, equitable and better. In Montgomery County, we celebrate architecture and landscape that make the mundane more interesting and creates and improves streetscapes and spaces that enhance human interaction.

Beginning June 21, the Montgomery County Planning Department opened our webpage to accept submissions for the 2021 Design Excellence Awards. These submissions are due by July 19, 2021 and we encourage the architectural, landscape, and private and public development communities to submit their best works from the past ten years to be judged by a world class independent jury of regional architects, planners, and developers.

As in previous years, this year’s five-member jury is highly acclaimed and extremely well respected within regional and national public, academic, and development circles.  It will be an independent jury that will judge submissions without input from the Planning Department or county agencies. This year’s jury includes:

Matt BellMatt Bell, FAIA – Specializing for more than 30 years in large-scale architecture and sustainable urban and campus design, Matt brings unique insights on challenges facing our cities, towns, and campuses that have resulted in a diverse portfolio of award-winning work spanning national and international contexts. Ranging from waterfronts, new towns, and neighborhoods to residential, civic, campus, and mixed-use projects, Matt also lends his nationally recognized expertise as a professor at the University of Maryland, where he leads the urban design curriculum and lectures on architecture and urban design.  Matt is actively committed to the Washington, D.C. region, serving as a member of the Congress for the New Urbanism, the Urban Land Institute, and DCBIA; he has also served as President of the Neighborhood Design Center and Director of the Mayor’s Institute on City Design Northeast.


Tom CanfieldTom Canfield, AIA – Tom has been the City Architect of Alexandria, VA within the Department of Planning & Zoning for the past 15 years. He has been responsible for input into long-range master plan and urban design efforts, development feasibility studies, and critical review and approval of large-scale development projects. In this capacity, he also serves as a Board member on the Carlyle/Eisenhower East Design Review Board. He is a licensed architect in Virginia, the District of Columbia and Maryland, and has participated for the last five years in the NAIOP DC/MD Awards of Excellence judging.


Luanne GreeneLuanne Greene, FAIA, LEED-AP – is President of Ayers Saint Gross, a 170-person multidisciplinary design firm with offices in Baltimore, Phoenix, and Washington D.C.  With more than 30 years of design and planning experience, she is a strong advocate for smart and sustainable planning strategies that address the needs of both institutions and communities. Her approach to planning and design has helped many institutions develop successful solutions that balance a bold vision with practical implementation.  Luanne has worked with numerous colleges, universities, and cultural institutions across the nation, including University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Ohio State University, Washington University in St. Louis, Smithsonian Institution, and Missouri Botanical Garden.


Jair LynchJair Lynch – As President and CEO of Jair Lynch Real Estate Partners,  Jair assumes primary responsibility for firm management and project coordination, with a commitment to developing a quality product and superior service. That commitment has produced distinctive urban mixed-use projects for investors and a distinguished list of public, private, and nonprofit clients.  He has over 20 years of experience in public and private real estate as an investor and advisor, including projects in Silicon Valley, CA and Washington, D.C. He founded Jair Lynch in 1998 and has completed more than 65 projects totaling almost 4.3 million square feet of development in D.C. He is a driving force for urban regeneration, working to create walkable urban places to empower people, develop place, and create prosperity.  He is also president of Locos, a network of real estate developers and investors who advocate for sustainable, walkable development.


Trini RodriguezTrini Rodriguez, AICP, AIA, ASLA, LEED-AP – is a founding partner, principal, and president of Parker Rodriguez, a landscape architecture, urban design, and planning firm located in the Washington Metropolitan area. She previously served as the head of design for the nationally renowned planning firm HOH Associates, Inc.  Trini is an active member of the Urban Land Institute and has participated in several ULI Advisory Panels. She has also been a member of many jury selection committees including the ULI Global Awards of Excellence, Open Space Awards Jury, ULI Philadelphia Awards Jury, and the Frederick Alley Arts Jury among others. Trini’s project experiences are vast, ranging from building design to small- and large-scale urban design, landscape architecture, and master planning projects.  She has interdisciplinary expertise that has served a broad spectrum of public agencies, institutions, private developers, and corporations in Montgomery County, in the Mid-Atlantic region and throughout the United States and abroad.

We thank this amazing group for this participation in this year’s Awards program.

Paul Mortensen
About the author
Paul Mortensen is the Senior Urban Designer in the Director’s Office at the Montgomery County Planning Department and leads the Design Excellence program. He is a registered architect in California, Washington and Maryland, is a LEED-Accredited Professional, and is a member of the Congress for New Urbanism.