Atlanta Architect Receives Young Architect Award

  • Jan 5, 2016

Shelby Morris, Associate Principal on Beck’s Integrated Design and Construction Team in Atlanta, was recently honored with the American Institute of Architects (AIA) 2016 Young Architect Award. The award is given to individuals who have shown exceptional leadership and made significant contributions to the profession in an early stage of their architectural career.

Morris has been part of over $500 million of design and design/build work in his 13-year career.

Some of his key projects in his 12 years at Beck include the Lenox Square Mall Renovation, Duke University’s Krzyzewski Center for Athletic Excellence, Duke University’s Wallace Wade Stadium Renovation, Princess Margaret Hospital Expansion (Nassau, Bahamas), and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Water Center.  His projects have won some of the highest awards presented by the Design Build Institute of America (DBIA), including DBIA SE Project of the Year 2013.  Morris is also an award-winning designer having received awards in four international design competitions.

He has wanted to be an architect ever since his eighth-grade grade drafting class. “We had to hand draft a 3D tool and I went home and told my Dad that I was going to be an architect,” says Morris.  His dad asked, “Are you sure you don’t want to be an engineer?”

It looks like his choice is paying off. We had a chance to ask Morris a few other questions about his career. Here’s what he said:

Did anyone inspire you to choose this profession? 

I don’t know if there was any one person who inspired me as much as I’ve had many mentors along the way.  In high school we had a mentorship program and John Notestein, a local Amarillo Architect, would take us to lunch and walk us through projects.  He was definitely an influence and it’s amazing where a little influence may lead.

What has been your favorite project to work on at Beck and why? 

I have been fortunate to work on many great projects with many great clients and teams.  Ultimately, it’s not the individual project, it’s the people.  The relationships I’ve built on each project are very special.  It never fails to amaze me the number of team members it takes to complete a successful project.  At our project at Duke University, we’ve had over 800 people work on all aspects of construction.

Who is your favorite architect or project? 

There are many.  I find that many of the projects that influence me have a great use of daylight.  Renzo Piano is a master of bringing daylight into a space and has very eloquent details.  SOM’s Cathedral of Christ the Light is a modern masterpiece with its use of light.  And the country of Bali is an inspiration.  There they do not have a word for art, but art is their culture.  Their attention to detail is amazing and everything is well designed.

Is there a quote by another architect that inspires your design?

This quote from Zaha Hadid captures many ideas on connection in architecture, “I started out trying to create buildings that would sparkle like isolated jewels, now I want them to connect, to form a new kind of landscape, to flow together with contemporary cities and the lives of their peoples.”

Read more about Shelby in Architect Magazine.