Barbara A. Nadel

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  • Rhode Island School of Design
  • SUNY Binghamton
  • Cornell University
  • Hofstra University
  • University of Rhode Island

Years of practice

1978– (estimated)


  • Barbara Nadel Architect

Professional organizations

  • Joined AIA in 1980
  • Became AIA fellow in 2000

Related websites


AIA, AIA Academy on Architecture for Justice, AIA National Vice President, AIA New York Regional Director, Building Security, Civic Architecture, Civic Leadership, Congress, Critical Infrastructure, Design for Diplomacy, Embassies, IAWA, Journalism, Kemper Award, Media, NAAB, New York, RISD, Rhode Island, Security, U.S General Services Administration, U.S. State Department, U.S. and global, Woman Owned Business, building systems, commercial, industrial, institutional


Barbara A. Nadel, FAIA, is principal of Barbara Nadel Architect (BNA), a New York City architectural and consulting firm. She is an award-winning architect and author, specializing in building security, master planning, programming, and design of civic, institutional, justice, correctional, courthouse, healthcare, and psychiatric facilities.

Professional Overview

Ms. Nadel has worked with the world’s leading institutions, owners, architects, security consultants, engineers, construction managers, and over 40 federal, state, and local government agencies in the U.S. and internationally. Her experience includes critical infrastructure, embassies, diplomatic facilities, universities, transportation, education, and commerical development projects.

Prior to establishing BNA, Ms. Nadel worked for several large, international architectural and engineering firms in New York City, Boston, Massachusetts, and Providence, Rhode Island. She is a licensed archtiect in New York State. BNA is a New York State certified Woman Owned Business Enterprise (WBE).

Security and Civic Leadership

Ms. Nadel is an advocate for security and design excellence in civic architecture and the built environment. She is author and editor-in-chief of Building Security: Handbook for Architectural Planning and Design (McGraw-Hill, 2004), for which she received the 2005 American Institute of Architects (AIA) Institute Honors for Collaborative Achievement and the 2003 Milka Bliznakov Prize from the International Archive of Women in Architecture (IAWA), for creating this security resource. Building Security was translated to Chinese and is in academic, government, and private libraries worldwide.

She’s keynoted and spoken to groups in the U.S. and internationally on security and disaster planning, including for government, security, building industry, cultural, justice, healthcare, and legal organizations.

The U.S. General Services Administration appointed Ms. Nadel to the Green Building Advisory Committee, as the private security security expert, and to the National Register of Peer Professionals in the Design Excellence Program, where she contributes to the quality of American civic architecture.

Ms. Nadel represented AIA at the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) Industry Advisory Panel. She chaired the AIA 21st Century Embassy Task Force and authored Design for Diplomacy: New Embassies for the 21st Century (AIA. 2009), which provided the framework for OBO’s Design Excellence program, adapted in 2011, as a result of her leadership and the Task Force recommendations.

Ms. Nadel testified before the U.S. Congress, House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Subcommittee on Public Buildings about federal security standards, and briefed the House High-Performance Congressional Caucus Coalition on secure and sustainable U.S. Embassies.

The White House and First Lady appointed Ms. Nadel as an expert security panelist for the Preserve America Summit. She collaborated with the U.S. Dept. of Defense, Federal agencies,  public officials, and preservation leaders to identify security strategies for historic properties.

In recognition of her significant achievements for advancing the architectural profession in security design, national leadership, public service, professional practice, and publishing, Ms. Nadel received the Institute’s highest national service honor, the AIA Edward C. Kemper Award, the first living woman to receive this award.

AIA Leadership

Professional leadership and service have been a vital part of Ms. Nadel’s career. She was 2001 AIA National Vice President, a two-term member of the AIA National Board of Directors as AIA New York Regional Director, 2002 AIA Academy on Architecture for Justice Chair, and has held many national, state, and local positions. She chaired the AIA Advertising Committee that created a successful three-year multi-million dollar print and commercial radio advertising campaign. She was elected to the AIA College of Fellows, and served two terms on the IAWA Board of Advisors. Her various honors and awards include the AIA New York State President’s Award, AIA NYS Del Gaudio Service Award, and others.

Journalism and Writing

Ms. Nadel has written more than 450 articles on security, design, sustainability, public policy, and technology, appearing in over 100 magazines, newspapers, and web publications. She has contributed to several books, including Government By Example (Kyoto Publishing/Deloitte, 2010), Architectural Graphic Standards (Wiley, 2007), Architecture: Celebrating the Past (Kaplan, 2007), Livability 101 (AIA, 2005), and Time Saver Standards (McGraw-Hill, 2001).


Ms. Nadel has been interviewed and featured in over 250 global media outlets, including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fox News, CNN, and others. She serves on the Editorial Advisory Board of Homeland Security Television, and was an on-camera expert in “Standing Strong: The 25-year Quest to Design Blast Resistant Buildings,” a documentary. Ms. Nadel was editor-in-chief of AIA’s knowledge website, and consulting managing editor of Architectural Record’s Continuing Education section. Her work was nominated by McGraw-Hill for the business media’s Neal Award.

Education and Academia

Ms. Nadel is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD, Bachelor of Architecture, Bachelor of Fine Arts) and the State University of New York at Binghamton (SUNY, Bachelor of Arts, Pre-Architecture). She studied architecture at Cornell University, physics at Hofstra University, and management at the University of Rhode Island.

She has taught design studios, and served as an academic design critic and juror for many national and international design awards programs. Ms. Nadel was a team member for the National Architectural Accreditation Board (NAAB) visit to North Dakota State University (NDSU) to assess academic programs.