Alumna's designs, activism earn her AIA Young Architect Award

Lorena Toffer

Significant architectural accomplishments, community activism and a commitment to advancing diversity within her profession led to an American Institute of Architects Young Architect Award for Lorena Toffer, a 2004 Master of Architecture graduate from Texas A&M University.

The AIA cited Toffer, an associate and project architect at Corgan and one of 18 recipients of the honor nationwide, as a passionate voice for diversity and inclusion, a role model, mentor and inspiration to emerging professionals, Latinos, women and community youth.

She helped found a Dallas AIA chapter committee, Latinos in Architecture, which partnered with Dallas City Design studio to preserve La Bajada, a West Dallas neighborhood whose unique character was threatened by development.

The committee also hosts an annual exhibit and reception, “ENLACES,” that celebrates the work of more than 50 Latino architects and designers.

She is a longtime volunteer at the Skyline Architecture Center, a school serving mainly low-income students who are usually the first in their family to attend college.

Toffer is also a partner of the “From an Architect’s Bookshelf” program, which has partnerships with more than 20 architecture and engineering firms to distribute books to seven middle and high school libraries.

She said she enjoys sharing her personal story with students when the books are delivered. “This personal connection is one of the most valuable marks one individual can leave on a young mind — to show them that anything is possible,” she said.

Among her many honors are the 2012 AIA National Diversity Award and the 2011 AIA Dallas Young Architect of the Year.

posted February 17, 2014