AIA Fellowship honors architects for exceptional work and contributions to architecture and society

Feb. 13, 2017 – Five AIA Colorado members have been elevated to the American Institute of Architects (AIA) College of Fellows. Brian Chaffee, FAIA, Charles Cunniffe, FAIA, Don Dethlefs, FAIA, Larry Friedberg, FAIA, and Mark Outman, FAIA have received this prestigious honor in recognition of an exemplary career having broad impact on the profession.

Election to the AIA’s College of Fellows is one of the highest individual honors the Institute bestows on members. This year, 178 architects from across the country were elevated to Fellows.

“The Fellowship program acknowledges those architects who have made an extraordinary contribution to the profession and to society. Brian, Charles, Don, Larry and Mark have all left their mark on Colorado through their commitment to designing a better built environment,” said AIA Colorado Executive Vice President/CEO Cathy Rosset. “Each of these individuals has helped to transform the practice of architecture through community collaboration, solid management and creative problem solving.”

Headshot_Brian-Chaffee Brian Chaffee, FAIA is a principal with Fentress Architects. Over his 36-year career in architecture, Brian has led and designed projects ranging from the monument enclosure of the Iwo Jima Memorial to extremely large and programmatically complex museums, headquarter office buildings, courthouses, convention centers and airports. Brian joined Fentress Architects in 1980, and has been an AIA member since 1985. He has been a part of 24 AIA Design Award-winning projects, and has won 14 design competitions.


Headshot_Charles-Cunniffe Charles Cunniffe, FAIA is the founding principal of Charles Cunniffe Architects in Aspen. For 36 years, Charles has tirelessly volunteered in the community. He helped to found Jazz Aspen Snowmass and Telluride’s Sheridan Arts Foundation. In addition, he has provided leadership for the Aspen Area Community Plan, Aspen’s Civic Area Plan and Aspen’s Municipal Facilities Master Plan. Currently, Charles is currently working pro-bono on a number community non-profit projects such as River Bridge Regional Center and Theatre Aspen in the Roaring Fork Valley. In addition, he and his firm are designing the new City of Aspen Police Department and City Hall, and renovating the historic Ouray County Courthouse. He was also the 2014 and 2016 AIA Colorado West President.


Headshot_Don-Dethlefs Don Dethlefs, FAIA is the Chief Executive Officer of Sink Combs Dethlefs. Don is known for his work on sports, event, entertainment and arena facilities. He has been responsible for innovative concepts such as including ADA considerations in these facilities before the current codes were in place, specialty seating concepts such as loge suites, and developing collegiate arenas as community-centric buildings. In April of 2016, Don was one of 50 individual recognized as the most influential national leaders in sports facility design and construction by the Sports Business Journal. He has been a part of more than three-dozen AIA Design Award-winning projects.


Headshot_Larry-Friedberg Lawrence Friedberg, FAIA is the State Architect for Colorado. Larry is a champion for the profession. He has successfully championed the need for funding of public buildings by working with numerous governors and state legislatures to refocus the state’s deferred maintenance program to improve facilities throughout the State of Colorado. He implemented and co-authored legislation codifying into law energy performance contracting and high performance certification of public buildings. Friedberg successfully led preservation projects at the Colorado State Capitol building including life-safety, exterior restoration of the dome and historic restorations of Colorado’s House and Senate chambers to their pre-1930’s celebrated grandeur.  As an outcome of Friedberg’s 20 years of state service, integrity and innovation, the governor and legislature implemented legislation to permanently create the position of state architect in statute by creating the Office of the State Architect.


Headshot_Mark-Outman Mark Outman, FAIA is a principal with Fentress Architects. Mark has dedicated his 35-year career to elevating the human spirit through the experience of public architecture. Through his work, he has elevated airport terminals to experiential civic buildings. As the requirements of federal security agencies have led to more secure airport terminals, Outman has pushed the limits to also make them more humane.



In April, Chaffee, Cunniffe, Dethlefs, Friedberg and Outman will be honored at an investiture ceremony at the AIA Conference on Architecture 2017 in Orlando.

Out of a total AIA membership of over 90,000, fewer than 3 percent of members hold this distinction. The elevation to fellowship is conferred on architects with at least 10 years of membership in the AIA in one or more of the following nomination categories:

  • Promoted the aesthetic, scientific, and practical efficiency of the profession
  • Advanced the science and art of planning and building by advancing the standards of architectural education, training or practice
  • Coordinated the building industry and the profession of architecture through leadership in the AIA and other related professional organizations
  • Advanced the living standards of people through an improved environment
  • Made the profession of ever-increasing service to society

In Colorado, more than 90 AIA architects have been elevated to Fellowship.

View a list of the entire College of Fellows class of 2017.


About AIA Colorado

For 125 years, AIA Colorado has been the voice of the architectural profession in Colorado. As a membership organization for architects, those working towards licensure and allied industry professionals, AIA Colorado provides education and resources for its members and tools for the public to find and work with architects. With more than 2,400 members statewide, AIA Architects are dedicated to the highest standards of professionalism, integrity, and competence. AIA Colorado is a state chapter of the national American Institute of Architects.


About the American Institute of Architects
The members of the American Institute of Architects work to create buildings and communities that are valuable, healthy, secure and sustainable. Founded in 1857, the AIA works through its state, local and international chapters to advance public policies that promote economic vitality and human wellbeing. AIA members adhere to a code of ethics and the highest professional standards and engage public officials, policymakers, business leaders and the public in designing solutions for pressing issues in society. Visit