2021 Honor Award Celebration
The National Building Museum will host its annual Honor Award celebration in a fresh, reimagined, virtual format.

Established by an act of Congress in 1980, the National Building Museum is charged with inspiring curiosity about the world we design and build. To further this mission, the Museum established its annual Honor Award in 1986 to recognize those individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to our built environment.

The legacy of the Honor Award is its power to recognize excellence and connect some of the most compelling industry leaders for an evening of celebration that promotes the Museum as a leading voice and vital resource for the built community and raises funds to support the Museum.

On June 17, the National Building Museum will recognize Skidmore, Owings & Merrill as its 34th recipient of the Honor Award. This award acknowledges SOM’s extraordinary contributions to the architectural canon and its historic leadership on the critical issues of our industry. At the onset of a decade that may very well determine the future of our planet, SOM is leading the building industry’s response to the climate crisis through action and advocacy. Even as we celebrate the firm, SOM is challenging all of us by calling for immediate action that recognizes the urgency of the crisis and a transformational shift in how we design, build, and do business.

Virtual Honor Award Celebration

This year’s Honor Award presents a dynamic new framework for thought leadership, engagement, and celebration.  In partnership with SOM, the Museum is transforming the June 17 event into an inspiring Call to Climate Action.

  • Hosted by Tony Kornheiser of ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption
  • Keynotes from Senator Cory Booker and LA Mayor Eric Garcetti
  • Guest Speakers - Senator Ed Markey & The Carlyle Group’s David Rubenstein
  • David Rubenstein will interview Senator Booker and Mayor Garcetti about the urgency for climate action in the building industry and beyond, and explore how each is championing accelerated positive change. Attendees can look forward to a robust discussion on how public- and private-sector collaboration and innovation are needed to address the critical issue of global warming, this generation’s most compelling challenge. Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts will also contribute his perspective during the event as co-sponsor of the Green New Deal.

    All attendees will be able to enjoy a variety of online experiences, as well as a live Q&A after-party. 

    Corporate sponsorship opportunities are available that provide access to exclusive VIP experiences, including meeting new Museum President & Executive Director Aileen Fuchs, hearing SOM architects talk about their most innovative projects, and engaging with thought leaders from the pre-event programming.

    The Honor Award celebration and NBM Climate Action programming is offered free of charge to students to foster engagement regarding the critical issue of climate change.

    Pre-Event Programming

    Starting on May 19, the Museum and SOM will co-host associated NBM Climate Action online programming, a weekly series of expert panel discussions exploring the building industry’s role in addressing the climate crisis:

    May 19, 6:30 – 8pm: Getting to Net Zero – Immediate Climate Action in our Industry. The bold steps the industry needs to take, the potential for an all-electric future, and the opportunities that lie ahead on the path to net zero.

    May 27, 6:30 – 8pm: Climate Justice and Social Equity. How climate change and economic and social inequity are intertwined, and what actions the industry should take to address this.

    June 3, 6:30 – 8pm: “Green Innovation” as Savior? Rethinking Technology. The complex role of technology in achieving net zero and the importance of looking forward and backward for solutions to the climate crisis.

    June 10, 6:30 – 8pm: Investing in Our Future. The opportunities and challenges of green investing and the necessity of government action to spur the creation of green infrastructure.

    Your Honor Award Ticket gives you access to all programming. Register Today. Individual Museum Members can attend the virtual celebration and associated programming for free. Explore Museum Membership here

    Past Recipients
    2014: Mrs. Laura Bush
    “The National Building Museum is a true treasure for Washington, D.C., and our nation. Exhibitions at the museum tell the stories of the world we build for ourselves. I am grateful to them for inspiring Americans to preserve our country’s historic buildings.”
    — Mrs. Laura Bush, Former First Lady
    JBG SMITH and Washington Housing Initiative
    Madison Marquette and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington
    Brookfield Properties and the National Endowment for the Arts
    CoStar Group, DAVIS Construction, and Casey Trees
    Judith Rodin and The Rockefeller Foundation, STUDIOS Architecture, and Capital Bikeshare
    Mrs. Laura Bush and The National Trust for Historic Preservation
    Turner Construction Company
    Urban Land Institute
    Celebrating Our Past, Building Our Future
    A Salute to Civic Innovators: Perkins+Will; Founders of the New Orleans Habitat Musicians’ Village—Harry Connick, Jr., Branford Marsalis, Ann Marie Wilkins, and Jim Pate; U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon
    A Salute to Visionaries in Sustainability: S. Richard Fedrizzi and the U.S. Green Building Council; Mayor Richard M. Daley and the City of Chicago; Majora Carter; Louis Chênevert and United Technologies
    The Associated General Contractors of America
    Clark Construction Group, LLC
    Forest City Enterprises
    General Services Administration
    Major League Baseball and The National Football League
    Michael D. Eisner and The Walt Disney Company
    Gerald D. Hines
    Harold W. McGraw, Jr., Harold McGraw III, and The McGraw-Hill Companies
    Stephen and Riley Bechtel and The Bechtel Group
    Community Builders of Washington, D.C.: Morris Cafritz; Charles E. Smith; Charles A. Horsky; Oliver T. Carr, Jr.
    Cindy and Jay Pritzker
    Lady Bird Johnson
    James A. Johnson and Fannie Mae
    J. Carter Brown
    The Civic Leadership of Greater Pittsburgh
    The Rockefeller Family
    IBM Corporation
    Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan
    James W. Rouse
    J. Irwin Miller
    2001: Michael D. Eisner
    2018: Master of Ceremonies Johnetta Cole
    2010: Branford Marsalis, Anne Marie Wilkins, and Harry Connick, Jr.