MetroHealth's Walter Jones Receives Architecture’s Highest Distinction
Daniel Burnham, Frank Gehry, I.M. Pei, … and now Walter Jones.
On February 21, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) bestowed its highest honor on MetroHealth’s Walter Jones when it elevated him to its College of Fellows, a distinction that only 3% of member-architects ever achieve.
Jones, who, as MetroHealth’s Senior Vice President of Campus Transformation, helped lead the system through the design, construction and opening of The Glick Center, was one of 73 AIA member-architects and three honorary international members – and the only one in Ohio – to be elevated to FAIA status in 2023.
The honor goes to experienced architects “who have achieved a standard of excellence in the profession and made a significant contribution to architecture and society on a national level.”
Jonesjoins a rare group of just a few thousand architects, a group that includes Burnham, who helped lay out downtown Cleveland and its mall with the Group Plan of 1903; Gehry, who designed the stunning Peter B. Lewis at Case Western Reserve University; and Pei, who designed the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.
The process of achieving fellow status is arduous and competitive. Candidates must be sponsored and must submit comprehensive applications, letters of reference and detailed exhibitions of their work. A jury then judges the nominations in a half-dozen different categories, or “objects.”
Jones was honored in Object 4, which recognizes exceptional work and contributions in public service by ensuring “the advancement of the living standards of people through their improved environment … through leadership in the development of civic improvements and needed governmental projects, including such elements as conservation, beautiﬁcation, land-use regulation, transportation, or the removal of blighted areas.”
“Nice is too small of a word to describe this,” says Jones, who retired at the end of 2022 but returned to MetroHealth in February as interim Senior Vice President/Facilities, Construction and Campus Transformation. “It is satisfying and humbling to know that my career has had lasting and significant impact on patients and the public.”
Most of Jones' three-plus decades as an architect and project manager have been spent serving health care organizations and their patients. Prior to arriving at MetroHealth in 2013, Jones led the design and construction of the new Parkland Hospital in Dallas, then the largest hospital construction project in North America. He’s also guided projects for Children’s Hospital of Atlanta (CHOA), Grady Memorial Hospital, Northside Hospital in Atlanta and more.
“I am grateful to so many people: my family, my colleagues, the workers who helped design and construct all these projects,” he says. “I look forward to continuing to ‘pay it forward’ by working with and mentoring young architects and designers.”
Founded in 1837, MetroHealth is leading the way to a healthier you and a healthier community through service, teaching, discovery, and teamwork. Cuyahoga County’s public, safety-net hospital system, MetroHealth meets people where they are, providing care through four hospitals, four emergency departments, and more than 20 health centers and 40 additional sites. Each day, our 8,000 employees focus on providing our community with equitable health care–through patient-focused research, access to care, and support services–that seeks to eradicate health disparities rooted in systematic barriers. For more information, visit metrohealth.org.