College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities; Graduate School

Architecture + Health program director David Allison receives lifetime achievement and Changemaker awards


CLEMSON – David Allison, FAIA, FACHA, has received two national honors as a leader in health care design and architecture. Allison is an Alumni Distinguished Professor and the director of the graduate program in Architecture + Health at Clemson University.

The American College of Healthcare Architects has conferred its highest honor upon Allison, the ACHA Lifetime Achievement Award. Allison was a founding member of the organization and currently serves on the ACHA National Board of Regents.

David Allison
David Allison, a Fellow of both the American Institute of Architects and the American College of Healthcare Architects, has led the Architecture + Health graduate program at Clemson University since 1990. Image credit: Paul Cheney

The award, bestowed by fellow ACHA board members and past presidents, recognizes Allison’s full body of work in the field and his lasting influence on the theory and practice of health care architecture.

Allison will be presented the ACHA Lifetime Achievement Award Nov. 3 in New Orleans at a luncheon being held in conjunction with the Healthcare Design19 Conference.

Changemaker honor

On the following day, the Center for Health Design will formally recognize Allison with its Changemaker Award, which is given to professionals who have demonstrated “an exceptional ability to make change happen in how healthcare facilities are designed and built, and whose work has had broad impact throughout the industry.”

The Center for Health Design is a nonprofit with the mission of transforming health care environments for a healthier, safer world through design research, education and advocacy. Its Changemaker Award is sponsored by Mecho, a motorized window shade company active in the health sector.

Allison’s Changemaker Award is one of two major awards the Center for Health Design will present at this year’s Healthcare Design Expo and Conference, also being held in New Orleans. A Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to Clare Cooper Marcus, a professor emerita at the University of California at Berkeley and design consultant.

The Center for Health Design described Allison as a champion for professional education focused on studying the intersection between health and the built environment, and based on best practices and evidence-based design.

“I am deeply honored to receive these two recognitions in the same year and at this point in my career from two organizations that represent the best practices, aspirations and ideals within the field of health care design and architecture,” Allison said.

“These honors are in large part a measure of the incredible collective work and effort of our program overall, including both my colleagues and students. Our students not only excel while studying here, they then go on to make a significant impact in the profession after graduation,” he said. “I consider myself incredibly fortunate to be a part of the Architecture + Health Program and School of Architecture at Clemson over the past three decades.”

 Allison’s impact

“David Allison is a remarkably accomplished and dedicated architect and faculty member,” said Kate Schwennsen, director of the School of Architecture. “He has built an exceptional graduate program in Architecture + Health here at Clemson, setting an example for all to follow. We are proud of his many accomplishments, including these two most recent deserved awards.”

At Clemson University, Allison earned a bachelor’s degree in pre-architecture with honors in 1978 before receiving his Master of Architecture with a concentration in health facilities planning and design in 1982.

Allison has devoted his career to architectural education, in addition to his longtime professional practice as a licensed architect and the critical research he has contributed to the field of health care design.

Since 1990, Allison has served as the director of graduate studies in Architecture + Health at Clemson University. The program is nationally recognized for the quality of its focused curriculum and consistent emphasis on design excellence within the discipline of health care architecture. Allison was named Alumni Distinguished Professor of Architecture: Architecture + Health in 2012. He also holds an appointment as a Faculty Scholar in the Clemson University School of Health Research and has won the Clemson University Board of Trustees Faculty Award for Excellence.

Allison was elevated to a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (FAIA) in 2010 and became a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Architects (FACHA) in 2013.

In his 30-year career at Clemson, Allison has combined academic scholarship, innovative design and research on health care environments and healthy communities, winning numerous national awards. He has advised and mentored numerous individuals who won major awards as students and have gone on to become leaders in the profession, playing significant roles in designing health care facilities around the world.

Allison was named one of the “25 Most Influential People in Healthcare Design” by Healthcare Design Magazine in 2009, 2010 and 2012 and has been selected as one of the Nation’s 30 Most Admired Design Educators by Design Intelligence Magazine in 2013-14.

Read more about David Allison here.

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