Pettersen, who passed away in 2003, received the award posthumously, in recognition of her significant contributions to the field of architecture.
"Ms. Pettersen's achievements are impressive to all who learn of them and are still alive in the memories of those who knew her," said Jason Kliwinski, AIA, LEED AP, president of AIA-NJ. "She helped pave the way for women in architecture."
Pettersen had a private practice in architecture in Saddle River, N.J., from 1952 to 2002, which included single and multifamily residential and commercial facilities, with her projects winning local design awards and international recognition.
One of her best-known projects was a 15-room house, swimming pool and tennis court on a four-acre plot in Saddle River, N.J., which she designed in 1971 for John Alford, a New Jersey businessman, who sold it to Richard M. Nixon, who moved there from the White House in 1981.
Prior to establishing her private practice, Pettersen analyzed enemy building structures for the National Defense Research Committee, worked for the Tennessee Valley Authority designing power service buildings and visitors' facilities and had a Taliesin Fellowship with Frank Lloyd Wright in Arizona and Wisconsin.
Her work is archived and electronically accessible at the International Archive of Women in Architecture at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Va.
Pettersen was born in Passaic, N.J., and was one of the first women to be licensed as an architect in New Jersey. She was the president of the New Jersey Society of Architects in 1984.
The award is given in recognition of a significant body of work of lasting influence on the theory and practice of architecture. Last year, J. Robert Hillier, FAIA, was awarded the first-ever "Michael Graves Lifetime Achievement Award." The award is named after famous architect, influential theorist, diversified and prolific designer and esteemed educator, Michael Graves, who has been in the forefront of architectural design since he founded his practice in Princeton, N.J., in 1964.
AIA helps architects serve the public's needs and builds awareness of the role of architects and architecture in American society. The organization was created in 1857. Today, with headquarters in Washington, D.C., and nearly 300 local chapters, the organization represents 86,000 licensed architects and associated professionals.
AIA New Jersey is statewide chapter of the national AIA. The chapter was formed in 1900, uniting the architects of the state by merging the AIA Chapter with the New Jersey Society of Architects. The AIA-NJ chapter has six local sections, which include Architects League of Northern New Jersey, Central Jersey, Newark and Suburban, Jersey Shore, South Jersey and West Jersey. Each section is independent and runs local events and programs for its members.
About AIA and AIA New Jersey
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) is the professional organization that helps architects serve the public's needs and builds awareness of the role of architects and architecture in American society. The organization, which was founded in 1857, recently celebrated its 150th anniversary. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., its 300 plus local chapters represent 86,000 licensed architects and associated professionals. AIA New Jersey, based in Trenton, is the local chapter of AIA. In 2000, it celebrated its 100th anniversary. AIA New Jersey has about 2,000 members in six regional sections. For more information, please visit www.aia-nj.org.