Leon Bridges, FAIA
Seattle and Baltimore
Community development, professional outreach
Leon Bridges, FAIA, won the Whitney Young Award for his “unselfish service to the betterment of the profession, to the health of the community and to the encouragement for future architects.”
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Bridges’ love of architecture began in high school, when he met the man who became his mentor—legendary architect Paul R. Williams, FAIA. Earning a B.Arch from the University of Washington in 1960, he soon made his name as an architect throughout Seattle. He delivered the opening convocation at the 1968 AIA convention in Portland, Oregon, witnessing Whitney Young’s challenge for architects to tackle social issues. The speech proved a catalyst for Bridges to focus on socially-minded architecture.
Heavily involved in the civil rights movement, Bridge would draw his activism into his architectural work. Through AIA, he secured funding from the Ford Foundation to create what would become the AIA Diversity Advancement Scholarship. He would become an early and active member of the National Organization of Minority Architects, in which he held every elected office, including president in 1980.