Byron M. Edwards III, AIA, ACHA, EDAC, LEED AP
Professor of Practice
Architecture + Health Graduate Studies
How has ACHA certification enhanced your career in healthcare architecture and/or design?
ACHA certification has enhanced my career in terms of more in depth and consistent collegial interface with other certified healthcare architects, including iconic LEADERS in the field of Healthcare programming, planning and design. I worked with some of these iconic leaders as peers on the ACHA Examination Committee for many years to ensure quality of the ACHA exam ensuring the exam was focused on healthcare programming, planning and design from front-end to back-end as we want certified architects overseeing and mentoring all phases of the work. The ACHA Summer Leadership Summit has greatly enhanced my knowledge base as well as increased my engagement in both the Academy of Health and the American College of Healthcare Architects.
What would you say to anyone interested in the field?
Besides the obvious credibility that healthcare architect certification provides to healthcare clients who understand and appreciate certification of levels of expertise; ACHA certification also provides you with peer-reviewed acceptance of your professional skillsets. Which, in turn, provides additional confidence to you in marketing yourself with clients, colleagues and peers within the Healthcare Industry.
What led you to becoming ACHA certified?
I believe Healthcare Architecture is a very specialized and complicated endeavor and I support ACHA certification as a meaningful and necessary recognition of someone who is experienced and knowledgeable enough to actually be leading Healthcare Architectural programming, planning and design work. It is my hope that eventually ACHA certification will be accepted as a prerequisite to work on healthcare projects. I believe that healthcare architect certification is not unlike a medical certification in that you would not want a non-certified surgeon cutting on you, nor should a hospital want a non-certified healthcare architect working on their hospital. I also believe that more and more hospital administrators and their Boards will overtime recognize they do not want non-certified architects leading the programming, planning and design work on their healthcare facilities.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected you personally or your practice?
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected both me and my wife to the degree that we are both over 70 years old and my wife has a complicating health issue, so we have been very careful socially distancing and wearing masks since the beginning. As a Professor of Practice in Architecture + Health at Clemson University, the COVID-19 epidemic required us to spend the last couple of months of the Spring Semester teaching classes and studios online. It was difficult, but we managed. We were hoping to have face-to-face instruction this fall – beginning mid-August, but the University just announced that we will start the first month online and then begin face-to-face instruction on September 21st.
1978 B.S. Pre-Architecture, School of Architecture – Clemson University
1980 MARCH – Healthcare Facilities Planning & Design Studio – Clemson University
My most recent significant contribution to AIA Academy of Architecture for Health and the American College of Healthcare Architects has been as Chair of the AIA/AAH Research Initiatives Committee where I have championed both the Knowledge Repository efforts with the Center for Health Design, but more significantly the development and expansion of the AIA Academy of Architecture for Health’s Case Study Library. We now have over three dozen “bench-marking” Case Studies focused on AIA/AHA Healthcare Design Award winning projects from 2013 to 2019. We will continue to add more each year, and we are in the process of providing more detailed Interdepartmental ‘bench-marking” of two major hospital projects – Palomar Medical Center and Rush Memorial Hospital that we hope to present at HCD2020.