The FAIA Gold Medal is one of eight Honor Awards and the highest Honor Award AIA Florida confers upon recipients. The Gold Medal Award recognizes an individual architect in Florida who has profoundly impacted the profession over an extended period. Their long-term, noteworthy accomplishments in the AIA and community organizations demonstrate distinct results characterizing one’s career as going above and beyond.
According to AIA Florida it is Canavés’s “incredible dedication to big ideas about architecture that sets him apart and distinguishes his impact on the profession.”
“As a practitioner and professor at FIU’s School of Architecture, it is an honor to be the recipient of the American Institute of Architects Florida Chapter 2020 Gold Medal Award,” says Canaves. “It is an individual recognition reflecting the efforts and support of family, friends, students and colleagues. On behalf of all of us, thank you”.
Canavés first joined FIU in 1978 and in his four decades as a professor and administrator, he has mentored more than 5,000 students in the School of Architecture and helped to transform the architecture curriculum into a nationally recognized, accredited program. He is a fellow of the American Institute of Architects and the founder and director of Bienal Miami + Beach and the School of Architecture Practice (SOAP).
Canavés is most notably known around FIU as the founder and orchestrator of Walk on Water (WOW) – an annual architecture competition, where architecture students build floatable shoes that will allow them to walk the length of the Great Lake at MMC. WOW has been a time-honored tradition at FIU for 30 years and is attended by dozens of students, faculty, staff, alumni and media.
In 2001, Canavés was elevated to the College of Fellows and awarded with the AIA Miami Silver Medal Award. A year later, he received the AIA Florida Silver Medal and was appointed to the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. Canavés was appointed US Ambassador to the XIII Bienal de Arquitectura de Quito, Ecuador, in 2006 and was the inaugural recipient of the AIA Florida William G. McMinn Award for Outstanding Architectural Education Contributions in 2007. He received the prestigious 2011 FIU Medal of Service and the 2019 Hispanic Leadership Award in Art + Architecture.