Senior Lecturer in Architecture Oscar Lopez Wins Prestigious 2021 AIA Associates Award

March 19, 2021
Oscar Lopez, Senior Lecturer in Architecture
2021 AIA Associates Award Winner
Oscar Lopez


Oscar Lopez, University of Arizona senior lecturer in architecture and founder of Tucson architecture firm s p a c e BUREAU, was one of only three architects nationwide to receive the 2021 Associates Award from the American Institute of Architects.

The AIA Associates Award is given to individual Associate AIA members to recognize outstanding leaders and creative thinkers for significant contributions to their communities and the architecture profession.

Lopez is “a multifaceted leader who approaches architecture through the lens of social good,” says the AIA award showcase on the teacher and architect. “[He] embodies the best qualities of the next generation of architects. A talented educator, principal of his own practice and an involved member of AIA chapters in Arizona, Lopez leverages his penchant for deep thought to advance inspired, democratic design that heralds a bright future.”

2020 AIA President and architecture Jack DeBartalo 3 agrees: “Writing from a number of perspectives, I can personally say that Oscar has accomplished more in his early career than many architects accomplish throughout their lifetime.”

“Oscar believes that our profession can and will change the world through design, a belief that he instills in the next generation for architects, designers and builders,” says Robert Miller, professor and director of the School of Architecture in the College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture. “He is an exemplar of service to his community, to AIA, to the School of Architecture and, through his professional work, to students and architects alike.”

“I can’t imagine another Associate AIA member more deserving of this award than Oscar,” says CAPLA Dean Nancy Pollock-Ellwand. “His positive impact on architecture students is immediate, impressive and essential. On behalf of the college and the University of Arizona, I congratulate Oscar on this well-deserved honor.”

“This award couldn't help but have me think of all of my mentors throughout the years, some ‘official’ though most simply people who affected and inspired me,” says Lopez. “That then brought me back to my very important role as educator and how I hope that I am leading by example for my students and other young professionals—giving them a positive example that the more we give of ourselves to our profession, the more we get in return, and that the most rewarding thing of all is to inspire others along the way. I am very grateful for this award and the life I live through architecture.”

Since founding s p a c e BUREAU in 2016, Lopez, Assoc. AIA, and his practice have received eight AIA Awards for built projects on the local, state and regional AIA level. He has been a lecturer at CAPLA since 2016, teaching second-year architecture studios and serving as American Institute of Architecture Students faculty advisor and leader of summer study abroad programs. He is a recipient of the 2018 AIA Arizona Associates Award, 2019 AIA Mountain Region Jason Pettigrew Leadership Scholarship and 2020 AIA Arizona Presidential Citation.


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