Do you want to learn more about that interesting building in your community? Ever wonder how a building’s architect approached its design? Are you curious which buildings have been sustainably designed, have historic roots, or even which ones are considered good design by other architects?
The Huron Valley chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA Huron Valley) wants you to know more about Michigan’s architecture, via its annual AWARDS booklet. AWARDS features projects designed by AIA Huron Valley chapter members, and is available free to the public (download the digital booklet here) The 2021 edition of the booklet was funded with the help of a Michigan Architectural Foundation Architecture Awareness Grant.
MAF provides Architecture Awareness Grants to organizations and individuals for projects, programs, and activities that align with MAF’s mission to advance awareness of Michigan architecture, and how it enriches life.
Each edition of AWARDS includes the chapter’s current year project submissions and winning projects, honored individuals, and articles on architecture-related topics.
According to Anne Cox, AIA, a principal at A3C Collaborative Architects, increasing awareness of architecture is one of the chief missions of the publication. “AWARDS creatively connects people with architecture, in a dynamic format that’s informative and engaging. Of course, the book also recognizes the great design work of our chapter members, and those who have positively impacted the profession.”
While 2021 marked the fourth year AWARDS was published, it was the first year the chapter applied for an MAF Architecture Awareness Award to support production (in past years, the chapter solicited sponsorships to cover costs). “Due to COVID, sponsorships were difficult to come by,” said Anne. “The MAF grant allowed us to continue our mission to produce the 2021 issue.”
Printed copies of the booklet are typically distributed at the chapter’s annual awards celebration, to lawmakers on Michigan architect’s Legislation Day, to clients, and as part of its travelling awards board displays at libraries and other local public locations – all of which were disrupted by COVID over the past year. The plan is to share the printed 2021 edition as restrictions are lifted.
The chapter also reallocated some of its budget funds into donations for the NOMA Detroit Project Pipeline Architecture Camp and Hip Hop Architecture Camp programs (both expose under-represented students to careers in architecture). Said Anne, “Given social justice and other critical issues that were front and center over the past year, it was important to help support these impactful programs. We also hired a student intern for the booklet’s graphic design, to provide a job and career experience for an emerging professional.”
AWARDS also provides architects with the opportunity to earn AIA-required CEUs (Continuing Education Credits). This has been particularly important, as the pandemic impacted the availability of professional learning opportunities. According to Anne, the response for the AWARDS author talks that the chapter sponsored as alternative CEU credits this year were incredibly well attended.
Anne continues, “Michigan has a wealth of architecture that helps educate, shelter, and inspire its residents, and the hope is that AWARDS can be a tool for creating awareness of how architecture enhances our communities,” said Anne. “Architecture is truly about the people who use it, and well-designed buildings and effective planning can be part of the solution for those in need, and in improving the quality of life for everyone.”