Lira Luis Named A RIBA Fellow


Lira Luis is honored to have been named a Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), a marker of her significant contribution to architecture and the built environment. She is one of ten elevated as 2020 RIBA Fellow Members.

The Fellowship Panel recommended her to RIBA Council, who through its appointed committee, has elected her as a Fellow of the RIBA. “The Panel was impressed by the range of (her) activities aimed at helping others, in particular, the work that (she) did in educating disaster survivors, and (her) creation of new technologies to assist people. The Panel commended (her) proactive and exciting work, and praised (her) sustained and energetic contribution, which is affecting real change,” shared Neil Smith, RIBA’s Director of Membership. In addition, “the community of RIBA Fellows highlights the incredible diversity of individuals and their contributions to architecture — a testament of what can be achieved with hard work, commitment, and vision. Fellows of the RIBA have demonstrated and continue to demonstrate the great importance of affecting and influencing change in the profession that inspires new strides in architecture.”

The RIBA is a global professional membership body founded in 1834 and afterwards constituted under Royal Charters granted by King William the Fourth, Queen Victoria, King Edward the Seventh, King George the Fifth and Queen Elizabeth the Second. As a pioneer of professional membership for architecture, the RIBA is a driver of excellence in architecture, making Lira Luis’s elevation as a RIBA Fellow especially notable.

“RIBA is a recognized voice of our profession worldwide. Becoming a RIBA Fellow is an honor for me that empowers and enables equity through participation in its platform that advocates and celebrates many architectural voices in one profession. Also, RIBA is a large professional organization that has the nimbleness of the small grassroots… an old institute founded in 1834 that is nimble to new ideas and voices that reflect our changing world,” says Lira Luis, FRIBA, AIA, NCARB, CEM, LEED AP.

This RIBA Fellowship, in conjunction with a recent recognition of Lira as 2019 Most Innovative Businesswoman in Diverse Architecture by the UK’s Voice of Modern Business A.I., is a testament to her proactive and exciting work.

Lira, who also received the 2010 AIA Athena Young Professional Leadership Award for “contributing time and energy to improving her community’s quality of life” and “actively assisting others, particularly women, in realizing their full leadership potential” continues with these advocacies long after receiving the recognition, through collaborations with UN Women USA and other NGOs.

She formed an architecture career for the benefit of others through research and innovation. As Taliesin Fellow for Taliesin Architects Ltd, she revived the underutilised System-Built HomesFrank Lloyd Wright’s foundational project that birthed his “Usonian” Jacobs House (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) — resulting in reduction of blight in a disadvantaged city block of New Jersey. Her research and development of Leapfrog Project’s “Living Ball” enabled self-sufficient empowerment of extreme weather survivors through geodesic constructions. In her Magnetic Levitation Experiment, she developed new architectural solutions to help island nations overcome rapidly rising sea levels. These architectural solutions to their rapidly changing environments intersect Science and Technology.

She mentored young women and minorities about 3D Printing, Architecture Technology, and licensure at Northwestern University, University of Chicago, Westwood College, and Scottsdale Community College, including UN 2030 Youthforce.

With her elevation as a Fellow of RIBA, Lira Luis earned her status as a worthy ambassador of the architecture profession.




Lira Luis has been a RIBA Chartered Architect since 2008. She has been in the profession for more than 25 years and is emeritus Chair of RIBA USA Chicago Chapter. After graduating from the Frank Lloyd Wright School of architecture, working in firms in the USA and abroad, earning NCARB certification, she now runs a hybrid traditional and virtual practice on blockchain technology.


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