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April 17, 2012
Chapter News

Charles Dagit, Jr., FAIA, Receives Pennsylvania Gold Medal of Distinction

By Dominic Mercier

Charles E. Dagit, Jr. FAIA was presented with the prestigious Pennsylvania Gold Medal of Distinction by the American Institute of Architects for a lifetime distinguished career in architecture in a ceremony in the Rotunda of the State Capitol Building on April 3, 2012. This is the highest honor that can be conferred on a Pennsylvania Architect, and it has only been awarded 10 times in the last 25 years. Mr. Dagit joins only three other Philadelphia Design Architects to have ever received it: Vincent Kling, Robert Venturi and Peter Bohlin.
Mr. Dagit graduated with Honors from the University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelors Degree in Architecture in 1967 and studied in the Louis I. Kahn Masters Studio, earning a Masters in Architecture in 1968. While at Penn he won both the John Stewardson and the Schenk Woodman Traveling Fellowship Competitions.
He founded Dagit•Saylor Architects in 1970 and as lead designer he received over 60 national, regional, and local Design Awards including the Gold and Silver Medals for design by AIA Philadelphia and the Gold and Silver Medals from AIA Pennsylvania. He was named one of the “40 Under 40 American Architects” by Robert A.M. Stern FAIA in A+U Magazine in 1976, and was elevated to the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects in 1983 as the youngest architect ever to be so named at the time. In 1984 he won the National Design Competition for the Cultural Arts Pavilion in Newport News, Virginia.
Mr. Dagit’s work has been published in Progressive Architecture, Architectural Record, L’Architecture d’Aujourd’Hui, A+U Magazine, The Japan Architect, Interiors Magazine, L’Industria delle Construzioni, Yale Perspecta, House and Garden, among others. Philadelphia Magazine published a lengthy feature article about his firm and his design role, and he himself has authored architectural articles for the Philadelphia Inquirer, A+U Magazine and SCUP Quarterly Magazine.
In addition his architectural practice, Mr. Dagit has for 40 years taught design and lectured at Temple and Drexel Universities, and been a visiting critic at Penn and a lecturer at Penn, Cornell, Carnegie Mellon, and Syracuse Universities, and at International Planning Conferences. For the past two decades he has taught Thesis at Drexel, where he has additionally conducted a seminar on the History of American Architecture.
Mr. Dagit has advanced the profession of architecture as a member and vigorous leader of the AIA National Committee on Design for over 3 decades. In 1994 he was elected its Chairman, a position of great honor in the profession. Prior to that he conceived and chaired the largest ever AIA COD National Design Conference in 1991 which focused on The Philadelphia School. He has also served as Chairman of the AIA National Gold Medal Task Group and Chairman of the AIA National Awards Committee. He additionally joined the AIA National Committee for Architecture for the Arts and Recreation in 1973 and chaired its National Conference on Theater Design in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1976.
Mr. Dagit has also served on the Boards of both the AIA Pennsylvania and Philadelphia, the latter on two separate occasions, once in the 1980s and ‘90s and then again more recently. He became President of AIA Philadelphia in 1991 and convinced the National AIA Convention Selection Committee to bring the AIA National Convention to Philadelphia in 2000. In 2003 he was named Chairman of the AIA PA Architects Forum and Chairman of the AIA PA PAC in 2005.
Mr. Dagit has served on many national, regional, and local AIA Awards Juries, as well as juries for Progressive Architecture, House and Home Magazine, the City of Washington D.C. Design Awards Program, the Department of Defense Awards Program, and Bricks in Architecture Honor Awards. He further enhanced architectural education Pennsylvania-wide by Managing the Stewardson Foundation Traveling Competition from 1976 to 1985.
Mr. Dagit was also recently honored for his distinguished architectural career with the Thomas U. Walter Award at the Philadelphia Athenaeum on January 19, 2012. He is only the fifth recipient of that tribute. 

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