Honoring Tradition

With decades devoted to mastering classical architecture and upholding historical precedent in Atlanta, renowned architect NORMAN D. ASKINS receives the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art’s Lifetime Achievement Award

Known for his mastery of traditional architecture and classical designs that bridge the gap between old and new, architect Norman D. Askins, the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art’s (ICAA) 2022 Lifetime Achievement honoree, has spent more than 40 years paving the way for gracious Southern living. 

“Norman Askins has truly set the bar for Atlanta architecture,” says Suzanne Kasler, who is a member of the ICAA Southeast Board of Directors and is the 2022 Shutze Awards chairperson. “His unique positivity, classical point of view and support of young talent has made an incredible difference in Atlanta architecture and the Atlanta design community.”

Growing up near Birmingham, Alabama, Askins’ admiration for architecture developed at an early age, spending days riding his bicycle through the streets of Mountain Brook teaching himself his architectural likes and dislikes. Throughout the years, that admiration grew into a profound passion for historical preservation, restoration and residential design, eventually leading him to open his eponymous Atlanta firm in 1977. “Atlanta was good to me when I started my practice,” says Askins. “We got so lucky to have the incredible talents of architects like Philip Shutze, Neil Reid, Bo Dean and James Means. They set the standard for true classicism in the South.”

Askins has since become a staple of his own in the city. His unwavering devotion to his craft drew in eager young architects looking to learn—including Yong Pak, D. Stanley Dixon and William B. Litchfield—before establishing firms of their own. “I now have 24 firms that I compete with and they all do great work,” says Askins. “We’re all still buddies and I’m very proud of them.”

And with his expertise in historical precedent, devotion to elegant, yet innovative design and a passion for people and how they live, it’s clear why Askins remains a leader in the industry, continuously breathing life into new homes and restoring the old to their original grandeur. As for what’s on the horizon for the renowned architect: “Just keep on keeping on.” Askins will be honored by the ICCA Southeast at the 16th annual Philip Trammell Shutze awards on Sept. 17. normanaskins.com

 NORMAN ASKINS shares his favorite inspirations…

Design Inspiration from the Past: Without a doubt Attingham Park summer school in England. I first went there for summer school in 1966 and again in 1994. Attingham was an exhaustive three-week study of historic architecture and decorative arts, traveling from one great house to the next. 

Most inspiring non-structure item: I get a lot of inspiration from historic furniture and the decorative arts.

Favorite place in Atlanta: It’s not public necessarily, but my favorite place in Atlanta is my back porch and courtyard, which transports you from busy Atlanta to a peaceful world. 

On a classic Sunday afternoon: After working in the yard, you would most likely find me asleep or watching Downton Abbey on my porch in Highlands, enjoying the views of the mountains and my backyard.