The architecture community has lost one of its brightest young stars, Carmen Stan, AIA. Carmen passed away on the morning of April 29, 2022. Her leadership at her firm, within AIA, in the broader design community, and her neighborhood is the kind of exemplary commitment to a full life that defines the term Citizen Architect.

Carmen’s career started in earnest in October of 2005 with Robert M. Cain, Architect (RMCA), shortly after her arrival from Romania with a degree in Architecture and Urban Planning. She worked diligently to have her Romanian degree accredited in the U.S. and, in 2012, became a licensed architect and AIA member. Carmen was broadly skilled in design and all the aspects involved in the practice of architecture. She instinctively understood the essence of architecture and developed the tools and practical abilities required to realize that essence in built form. Carmen’s passion and considerable strengths were appreciated by clients, consultants, and industry professionals of many disciplines. Her nature was to rise to any challenge, and her solutions were always creative. Her abilities deeply influenced the young architects and interns with whom she worked and will impact their future careers in an exponentially positive manner.

Photo Credit: Fredrik Brauer

Photo Credit: Robert J. Karosis

Photo Credit: Fredrik Brauer

Carmen’s passion for sustainability in architecture and urban communities was a common thread throughout her professional career, and her skills touched virtually every project passing through the firm. She was a superb collaborator working hand in hand with Robert Cain, contributing to the broad concepts and the most minute of details.

Carmen’s drive and talent contributed to numerous publications, accolades, and awards. Over her 17 years with RMCA, she never let an award opportunity pass by. The firm averaged two peer review design awards per year with awards ranging from World Architecture and IDA awards to Residential Architect, Residential Design, Custom Home and Curbed Atlanta awards, South Atlantic, Georgia and Atlanta AIA awards, U.S. Wood Design Awards, American Wood Council awards, National Trust for Historic Preservation awards, and USGBC awards. Numerous books, international and national magazine publications, and online articles have featured projects in which Carmen had a significant role.

Carmen served as NPUE’s Land Use Chairperson beginning in 2019, as well as a Midtown Neighborhood Association Board Member and MNA’s representative on the Midtown Development Review Committee. She exuded a bright light that welcomed neighbors and applicants to design, impact, and sustainability discussions. She guided Midtown through complex zoning topics with patience and thorough evaluation, never compromising on her philosophies of great urban design. Carmen did not miss a detail, and her knowledge of building codes and zoning ordinances could not be matched. She insisted on the importance of how what we build shapes our community. Countless projects submitted through her committees bear Carmen’s imprint, and all for the better. Her powerful message to the most condescending developer, delivered with “a drop of honey”, was often “You can do better than this” and then help them understand how they can improve.

Carmen was an incredible leader on the AIA Georgia Board from 2018-to 2021, and her insights and honesty were gifts to her colleagues on the board and among the membership. She led AIA Georgia’s Design and Honor Awards for many years. She was instrumental in growing the event to more than 250 attendees and recognized the very best work of architects across the state of Georgia. She was strongly interested in the state chapter’s focus on political advocacy and was involved in numerous issues – including ones on prohibitions on local architectural standards, women’s pay equity, and historic preservation. Moreover, her commitment to sustainability in the built environment, the importance of great design, and addressing issues of equity and diversity provided a strong moral compass for AIA – ensuring these issues were part of AIA Georgia’s advocacy and design agendas.

She was also an instrumental member, leader, and co-chair of Equity in Architecture, a subgroup of AIA Georgia. She was a tireless advocate for women in the field and served with passion, energy, and perspective. An award-winning designer, she always found time to set up events and create programs such as Equity Extend, interviewed female architects, and attended the Women’s Leadership Summit. Her vibrant personality was a bright spot in any meeting or event she attended. Her wonderful spirit and all she contributed to elevating design & increasing equity in the profession will be greatly missed.

Her wisdom and passion for the profession will be greatly missed, but the legacy of her work will continue to serve the design community for a long while.

Learn more about Carmen’s life here.