Written by Ann Thompson
Photos by Oscar Einzig
How appropriate that as the Committee on Design celebrates their 50th anniversary this year, they hosted the AIA’s 2013 top award winners in a building rich in history itself: the McNichols Civic Center Building, a recently-restored Carnegie Library in Denver’s Civic Center Park. The Denver Public Library, designed by Burnham Hoyt in 1955 with a Michael Graves addition in 1990, and the Denver Art Museum, designed by Gio Ponti (1971) and Daniel Libeskind (2006), are close neighbors.
The Committee on Design (COD) was founded to promote design excellence among members of the AIA, the broader design community, and the public at large, both nationally and internationally. One of the most important roles it plays in their mission is nominating candidates for the AIA’s most prestigious Awards: the Gold Medal; Architecture Firm Award; Twenty-five Year Award; Honorary Fellowship, and Institute Honor Awards for Collaborative and Professional Achievement.
Hosting a reception and dinner for the winners seemed a natural thing to do. The idea was hatched and implemented three years ago by past COD Chair Anne Schopf, FAIA, design director at Mahlum in Seattle. She pointed out, “In the past there was never a single event where all of the award winners could gather at one time and place, and spend time together with each other and AIA members. We thought it was far past time that we ought to have created one, and we did.”
The June 20th, 2013 event drew a lively crowd from those attending the AIA’s national convention. Sparkling jazz provided by Peneplain Quartet set the mood for scintillating conversation. Current COD Chair, Marlene Imirzian, FAIA took the opportunity between Catering By Design’s cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and dinner to introduce many of the honorees to hearty applause. In attendance were Gold Medal winner Thom Mayne, FAIA who was joined by his colleagues Ung-Joo Scott Lee, Eui-Sung Yi, Brandon Welling, Nicole Meyer and Arne Emerson. The Architecture Firm Award winners, Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, were celebrated along with their new partner Paul Schulhof.
Sheryl Kolasinski-Menil and Josef Helfenstein representing the Menil Collection, winner of the Twenty-five Year Award (Renzo Piano Building Workshop) and Ladislav Labus, Hon. FAIA, from the Czech Republic, who was invested into the College of Fellows this year, enjoyed COD’s warm hospitality.
Barbara Cain from the Board of the Palm Springs Modern Committee- a local volunteer nonprofit movement dedicated to maintaining the heritage of modern architecture and historic neighborhoods in Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley area; Lynn Osmond, President & CEO of the Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF) and Jennifer Masengarb, Education Specialist (CAF) representing DiscoverDesign.org, a free website connecting teens, teachers, and architects across the country for real-world 21st-century project-based learning; and Rebecca Miller, Executive Director of the DC Preservation League which has developed and presented programs focusing on architecture, adaptive use of historic buildings, urban planning, and the nexus between historic preservation and economic development -–all winners of the Institute Honor Award for Collaborative and Professional Achievement, were especially delighted by the COD celebration event.
2014 COD Chair Steve Alspaugh, AIA presented his upcoming year’s intriguing theme—Big Cities, Big Ideas– and destinations for the Spring and Fall Conferences –New York City (May 15-18) and London (September 7-13). A highlight of the evening’s entertainment was the homemade COD History video put together by Ronnette Riley, FAIA (COD Chair, 2005) and Windom Kimsey, FAIA (COD Chair, 2004). Guests were mesmerized by the breadth and variety of destinations while the movie’s soundtrack of pop chart hits kept them smiling and tapping their toes. More than one guest was overheard to say that it was inspiring and asked how they could register for future COD conferences.
The COD Awards celebration could not take place without the generous sponsorship provided by EFCO, a Pella Company, and a number of past national Firm Award winners including: Davis Brody Bond; Jahn; Beyer Blinder Belle, Architects & Planners; BNIM; Centerbrook Architects and Planners; Lake-Flato; the Miller Hull Partnership; Olson Kundig Architects; and ZGF. A special thanks to Ron Pollard Photography.
Next year’s awards reception venue in Chicago won’t be revealed til the spring but make a note to attend; it’s certain to be memorable.
By Charles Linn, FAIA
Photos by Jeff Wolfram
So perfect was the AIA Committee On Design’s second annual reception and dinner for the recipients of the Institute’s top award winners that it would be easy to believe that Benjamin Henry Latrobe himself was smiling down upon on the event. The honorees were feted under crystal clear, starry skies on May 18th, 2012 in the courtyard behind the Decatur House in Washington, D.C., which Latrobe designed in 1817.
The COD was founded for the purpose of promoting design excellence within the Institute’s own membership; the broader design community, and the public at large. One of the most important roles it plays toward that end is recommending to the juries which of a plethora of worthy candidates should receive the Institute’s five most prestigious awards: the AIA Gold Medal; National Firm Award; recipients of Honorary Fellowship; the Collaborative Achievement Award winners, and the Twenty-five Year Award.
On this glorious evening Anne Schopf, FAIA, COD’s immediate past chair, briefly interrupted the roots-inspired music of the Sligo Creek Stompers to introduce many of the 2012 honorees. On hand were AIA Gold Medal winter Steven Holl, FAIA, who was joined by his senior partner, Chris McVoy. Members of the 2012 National Firm Award winner VJAA of Minneapolis, Minn., who enjoyed the event included Vincent James, FAIA; Nathan Knutson, AIA; Jennifer Yoos, AIA, and Paul Yaggie, AIA.
Paul Lubowicki, formerly of Frank O. Gehry & Associates represented the firm in the celebration of the Twenty-Five Year Award, which was given this year to Mr. Gehry’s own quirky Santa Monica residence.
Several Honorary Fellows, who were invested into the College of Fellows the day before, enjoyed the AIA’s own brand of American hospitality including Solano Benìtez, of Gabinete de Arquitectura from Asuncion, Paraguay; Richard Francis-Jones of Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp, from Syndey, Australia; Pierre-Antoine Gatier, Hon. FAIA who heads up his own firm in Paris, and Anya van der Merwe, Hon. FAIA, of Van Der Merwe Miszewski Architects, Cape Town, South Africa.
The Institute Honor Awards for Collaborative Achievement went to two different non-profit organizations. Abby Suckle, FAIA, Anne Lewison, AIA and Susan Chin, FAIA, took bows for cultureNOW, a nonprofit organization mapping history, art, and architecture in the public realm to create a “museum without walls.” A second Collaborative Achievement Award was given to the Rice Design Alliance, a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of architecture, urban design, and the built environment in the Houston region. It was represented by its president-elect, Lonnie Hoogeboom, AIA.
Of course, the reception and dinner was made possible through the largess of a number of generous donors including EFCO, a Pella Company, and Delta Light. A number of past National Firm Award winners also helped sponsor the event, including Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects; Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners; BNIM; Ennead Architects; Leers Weinzapfel Associates, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson; Centerbrook Architects and Planners; Olson Kundig Architects, and the Miller Hull Partnership.
Jeff Wolfram of Wolfram’s Architectural Photography, graciously served as the evening’s photographer. Schopf took a moment to thank the White House Historical Association, which made Decatur House available. She concluded the evening saying, “We hope to see you next year in Denver, where we can only hope to find a venue as wonderful as this one. And, we’d better start looking now!”
April 25, 2013
The AIA’s Committee on Design has selected two Knowledge Scholars to attend our Spring Conference—“Regional Modernism” in Palm Springs, California, May 9-12. The scholarship provides all travel expenses and registration to the conference and add-on activities. In exchange, the Scholars will provide COD with a written and illustrated 10-page report on one favorite Palm Springs project that will be used on the COD website and social media. In addition, The Scholars will follow through on the idea for communicating the value of their COD experience to a wider audience which they supplied in their application.
The goal of this scholarship is to introduce an architect to the Committee on Design and ask them to communicate the value of COD to other architects. We looked for individuals who are passionate about practicing architecture and who will have an ability to communicate what they learn at the conference to a wider audience. To that end, we sought applicants who have experience in practicing architecture as well communication skills with social media and blogging about architecture. Applicants needed to be AIA members who have been licensed architects for less than 10 years. In addition, our selections were limited to applicants who have not received travel funds from any other AIA group (AIA National, local chapter or Knowledge Community.)
Alvin Huang, AIA
Alvin Huang is the Founder and Design Principal of Synthesis Design + Architecture. He is an award-winning architect, designer, and educator. Alvin received a Master of Architecture and Urbanism from the Architectural Association Design Research Laboratory (2004) in London and a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Southern California (1998) in Los Angeles. His work has been widely published and exhibited and has gained international recognition, including being selected to represent the UK at the Beijing Biennale in 2008. In 2009 he was awarded a D&AD Award for Environmental Design.
Alvin is currently a Tenure-track Professor at the USC School of Architecture in Los Angeles. He has also taught design studios and master classes at the Architectural Association (London),
Tongji University (Shanghai), Tsinghua University (Beijing), University of Lund (Sweden) and Chelsea
College of Art (London). He has been an invited critic and guest lecturer at various institutions in
the UK, US, Germany, Spain, Sweden Israel, Switzerland and China.
Learn more about Alvin Huang on the Synthesis DNA website here: http://synthesis-dna.com/
Deepika Padam, AIA
Deepika Padam is the founder and Principal of BLEND Architecture in San Francisco. Licensed since 2008, Deepika earned her Bachelor of Architecture degree from Guru Nanak Dev University in 1999 and went on to earn her Master of Architecture degree in 2003 from the University of Michigan. Since graduating, Deepika has worked for a number of architecture firms and has been engaged with the AIA through volunteer service and leadership roles in local, regional and national venues, recently winning the national 2013 AIA Young Architects Award.
As the Editor-in-Chief for YAF, she converted a single page newsletter to over 80 pages of eMagazine that has now become a go-to resource for over 23,000 young architect members of AIA. Last year, Deepika successfully got YAF Summit20 articles published with ARCHITECT magazine and Metropolis Blog in addition to voice/video recordings by Monocle Radio and AIA media. She is an active presence on a variety of social media including: Tumblr, WordPress, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Google+ and Foursquare.
Learn more about Deepika Padam on the BLEND Architecture website here: http://www.blendarch.com/Home.html
In addition to the other projects we will visit in Palm Springs during our Regional Modernism Conference, May 9-12, we will also be visiting the Marmol Radziner Prefab Desert house.
Take a look at this 2 1/2 minute YouTube video of the designers talking about their work:
Other projects we will visit in Palm Springs include:
Menrad Residence by William Krisel
Edris House by E. Stewart Williams
Desert One by Jim Jennings
Steel Houses by Don Wexler
Grace Miller House by Richard Neutra
Abernathy House by William F. Cody
Hotel Lautner by John Lautner
L’Horizon Hotel by William F. Cody
Southridge Residence William F. Cody
There is still time to register! Click here for more information. And don’t forget to submit your images for the 2013 Member Slide Show.
The annual Member Slideshow is always an enjoyable event held at our spring conference. This year it will be held after the closing dinner on Saturday, May 11, in Palm Springs, California. It is intended to foster a dialogue among committee members about their recent projects.
All COD members are welcome to submit. Those in attendance at the conference will present their recent work in six images-sixty seconds, as described below.
With your permission, we will also post your work on the COD blog throughout the year. See here for an example. If you would like your work included you will need to return the copyright permission form that’s linked to at the bottom of this post. If you are unable to attend the conference, you are still welcome to submit your work in the same format, along with the permission form, and we will post it on the blog as well.
Friday, April 19: Deadline for Slideshow Submission
Saturday, May 11: Member Slideshow, at 6:00 pm, Palm Springs, CA
There is still time to register for the Spring Conference. See registration information on the COD website here.
The format is an informal PowerPoint slide presentation, moderated by Andy King, our Slideshow Coordinator. Each participant will be given one minute to briefly describe their work as their six images are projected.
To participate please submit the following by Friday, April 19:
1. One Title slide labeled with your firm name and including a photograph of you or your firm.
2. Six (6) slides, labeled with firm name, project name, project location, and photo credit if required.
Specifications for Submitting Digital Slides:
Resolution: 96 ppi (pixels per inch)
File Format: Jpg, Optimized (please do not send power point slides)
Document size (this the recommended sizes):
Maximum: 960 x 720 pixels
File size: Maximum: 2 mb
Please send the 7 total images (including the Title Slide) by e-mail to:
Andy King AIA, NCARB, LEED AP BD+C
Or, mail on a CD to:
c/o BBH Design
8708 Brownleigh Dr.
Raleigh, NC 27677-7411
Also, if you would like your work posted on the COD blog site please include with your slides the following permission form – completed in a digital or printed format.
Defining Architectural Design Excellence: an AIA Committee on Design Conference, Columbus, Indiana, April, 2012 By John Morris Dixon, FAIA
March 2, 2013
The Committee on Design visited Columbus, Indiana in April, 2012. Click here to read the conference report written by John Morris Dixon, FAIA. Photos courtesy of Jim Childress, FAIA, Ann Thompson and Aaron Trahan.
January 16, 2013
Planning for this year’s Committee on Design events is in full swing. The following conferences and events are now scheduled with details to come. Please visit the COD website in the coming months to see details of these events.
Spring Conference: Regional Modernism, Palm Springs, May 9-12
We will spend three days exploring early modern buildings in Palm Springs, California. As with all of our conferences, we will be pulling all possible strings to give our members the opportunity to visit projects seldom seen.
The Spring Conference also includes the Annual Member Slideshow where all COD members have six slides and sixty seconds to show their work from the last year.
National Convention Awards Reception and Dinner – Denver, June 20th
We will hold our annual Awards Reception and Dinner at the National Convention on Thursday, June 20th at 6:30 P.M. This event will be held at the McNichols Civic Center Building, a recently-restored Carnegie Library in Denver’s Civic Center Park. The reception and dinner will be an opportunity to celebrate this year’s winners of the Gold Medal, Firm Award, 25 Year Award, Honorary Fellows, and Collaborative Achievement Award. This event provides the opportunity to meet some of the best architects in the world in an informal setting.
During the convention, the Committee on Design will also lead conversations with the Firm Award recipient, the Twenty-five Year Award recipient, the Honorary Fellows from around the world, and the Institute Honors for Collaborative Achievement Award recipients.
Fall Conference: Origins of Modernism – Berlin, September 22-28
We will spend five days exploring the roots of modernism in Berlin, Germany. This conference has been in planning for about four years and will provide an opportunity to visit early modern buildings as well new ones accompanied by their architects.
December 28, 2012
Member Slideshows are created each year for the Spring Conference to illustrate the recent work of the attendee’s firms. All COD members are welcome to participate. Attendees have 6 slides and 60 seconds to present their projects, or whatever is on their mind. Many of the 2012 Member Slideshow slides are posted on the COD Pinterest page.
Philip Laird, AIA, LEEP AP of Architectural Resources Cambridge (ARC) in Cambridge, Massachusetts presented his slides.
October 18, 2012
We are delighted to announce that Sarah Corbitt, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP, from Charleston, South Carolina is the recipient of the COD Travel Scholarship to attend our fall conference in Seville, Spain.
Sarah Corbitt received a Master of Architecture from North Carolina State University in 2009 and a Bachelor of Arts in American Studies, UNC-Chapel Hill. She is an Architectural Intern with LS3P Associates Inc. in their Charleston, South Carolina office. She has experience blogging – sarahcorbitt.com/blog, as well as a background in video production including work for the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, and writing and producing short feature stories for a PBS affiliate in North Carolina. We are excited to have her join us and look forward to her sharing her observations.
This is our first year of providing scholarships to our spring and fall conferences. We are appreciative to the 69 people who applied for this scholarship. The talent and quality of applicants made a single selection very difficult. The scholarships are funded through private donations and we hope to grow this program so we are able to extend this opportunity to more recipients.
Join your colleagues from the Committee on Design and the Historic Resources Committee this November at our Fall Conference in and around Seville, Spain. Go to the AIA COD website for more information or click here to register.
We will spend 6 days, from Sunday November 11 through Saturday November 16 in Seville. For those who would like to stay longer we will continue to Granada, Cordoba, and Morocco from the 17th to the 21st.
We will stay in the old city of Seville. Our hosts, specialists in Spanish architecture, will introduce us to local architects, planners, and historians as we learn about the history and development of the city. We will visit the Roman ruins at Italica, the Cathedral of St. Mary of The See, the Medina, and have dinner on a boat as it travels down the Guadalquivir River.
Other highlights we’ll see will include tours of the Metropol Parasol by Jürgen Mayer-Hermann, the 1992 World’s Fair with structures by Santiago Calatrava, SITE, Grimshaw Architects, Tadao Ando, among others. We will visit the Casa de Retiro Espiritual by Emilio Ambasz and the Abengoa Solar Research Facility with buildings by Richard Rogers.
We will then travel to the historic cities of Granada and Cordoba to visit the Alhambra, The Grand Mosque and the Aga Kahn Award-winning Museum of Madinat-al-Zahra. The Madinat al Zahra is considered one of the most significant early Islamic archaeological sites in the world. We will visit the Madinat al Zahra Museum, by Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos S.L.P. Completed in 2008, the Museum won a 2010 Aga Khan Award for Architecture and provides a research and interpretive center for the historic site and a display of the archaeological findings.
An additional side trip will have us cross the Mediterranean to spend two days in Chefchaouen, Tétouan, and Fez, Morocco before returning to Seville to end our trip. Chefchaouen was founded in 1471 by Moorish exiles from Spain and is distinct for its blue-rinsed houses and buildings.
Early Registration is open until August 10, 2012
Like all of the COD Conferences, the adventure will recharge your batteries!