AIA Elevates Cuningham Principal John Pfluger to College of Fellows

AIA Elevates Cuningham Principal John Pfluger to College of Fellows

The 2023 AIA Jury of Fellows is elevating Cuningham Principal John Pfluger to Fellowship. 

The AIA Fellowship is the organization’s highest membership honor and recognizes architects who have made significant contributions to the profession and society. Pfluger’s elevation is a result of his career designing extraordinary spaces that inspire educators to reimagine how they serve communities. Pfluger also played a pivotal role in pioneering and refining co-creation—a process that invites community stakeholders to join clients in the design of learning environments through workshops and collaborative design charrettes.

With over three decades of leadership in educational projects across North America, Pfluger has developed an inclusive design process that emphasizes adaptability and flexibility in learning environments. As Principal and Design Director of Cuningham’s Educational Practice, his projects have garnered recognition at the highest levels of the American Institute of Architects, receiving honors in multiple chapters. 

A trailblazer in sustainable design, Pfluger fosters a comprehensive and integrated design culture and has long advanced Cuningham’s commitment to regenerative design practices. Utilizing frameworks like LEED and CHPS, he continues to push the industry's aspirations.

“[John’s] passion for his work and his commitment to improving the lot of others through his collaborative design leadership are a blueprint for how architects can affect positive change.” 

Dan Noble, FAIA, FACHA

Chairman & CEO - HKS

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Four of John’s projects have been selected as finalists for The Association for Learning Environments (A4LE) James D. MacConnell Award, and two have been awarded the distinction. Pictured: Alexandria Area High School – Finalist, 2015
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The MacConnell Award is widely considered to be the most prestigious annual award by the educational design community. Pictured: Pathways Innovation Center + Roosevelt High School – Finalist, 2018

Pfluger has influenced educational design across the nation with schools built in twenty-one states serving hundreds of thousands of students during his career.

He has been instrumental in the development and growth of Cuningham’s K-12 sector work and in creating a culture of design innovation. In 1984, John joined a team of five co-located in Minneapolis. Today, Cuningham has 320 people in six domestic locations. Learn more about some of Cuningham’s innovative educational environments below.

“A unique strength of John’s is his graceful way of questioning the status quo throughout the design process. I’ve seen how John’s skill of seeking new solutions to age-old challenges can shake the core of educational institutions that are often driven by tradition and outdated practices.”

Amy Yurko

Principal/Founder - BrainSpaces, Inc.