Architect Peter Norris received the J. Robert Chambers, Jr. Award on Monday, August 5, 2019, during the annual Athens Academy back-to-school event at the State Botanical Garden. The award, named in honor of longtime Athens Academy headmaster Bob Chambers, honors “extraordinary individuals whose actions reflect unwavering support and selfless devotion to the ideals and philosophy of Athens Academy.”
Next year marks the 30th anniversary of Norris’ work at Athens Academy. In 1990, then Headmaster Bob Chambers hired Norris to design the Bertelsmann Foundation Building, a sprawling media center located in the center of the Athens Academy campus. Over the past 29 years, Norris has worked on the campus master plan, using his trademark clean lines, white walls, and an abundance of windows and natural light. He is responsible for the design and/or renovation of the Harrison Center, the Science and Art Building, the Lampkin Building, the Middle School Building, the Chambers Center, Erwin Hall North and South, the Harold Harrison and Drew Swan Middle School, and the Middle School sports pavilion. His influence can be seen in every building across the beautiful Athens Academy campus.
Norris and his son Chris were on hand August 5 for Athens Academy’s Back to School party, hosted annually by the trustees on behalf of the faculty and staff. Head of School John Thorsen welcomed guests and gave remarks on future growth and the 2019-20 school year. Board Chairman Beth Sanders introduced and presented the Chambers Award, and former Headmaster Bob Chambers and former Board Chairman Gene Howard congratulated Norris.
Head of School John Thorsen remarked, “I am thrilled that the Board of Trustees has elected to honor Peter in this way. He is deserving and I am happy for him. He has created a gem of a campus on Spartan Lane, and I know all of you join me in our appreciation for our beautiful home.”
The Chambers Award was created by the Board of Trustees to honor Bob Chambers, who served as headmaster of the school for 30 years, from 1983 until his retirement in 2013. Mr. Chambers’ leadership was critical in shaping Athens Academy into the school it is today. The granite plaque explaining the award hangs in the Chambers Center on the school’s campus. Norris is only the second person to receive the Chambers Award; former trustee Kelley Tison was the inaugural recipient in 2016.