As the AIA membership gathers in Philadelphia this week, it is inspiring to contemplate the roster of architects who reached a sufficient level of fame and respectability to have their portraits printed on their nation’s currency. Switzerland’s Le Corbusier, Scotland’s Charles Rennie Mackintosh, and France’s Gustave Eiffel (of the iconic tower) are three of a group of fifteen that ended up on their nation’s banknotes.
The honor has not yet fallen on American designers such as Frank Lloyd Wright or I.M. Pei. The profession is instead represented on the country’s currency in the person of founding father Thomas Jefferson, whose designs of Monticello and the University of Virginia have stood the test of time and taste. Jefferson’s portrait was first printed on the U.S. two-dollar bill in 1869.