Three influential groups have been chosen by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) to receive the 2013 Institute Honors for Collaborative Achievement. The award recognizes and encourages distinguished achievements of allied professionals, clients, organizations, architect teams, knowledge communities, and others who have had a beneficial influence on or advanced the architectural profession.
This year’s award goes to: the Chicago Architecture Foundation for DiscoverDesign.org, the Palm Springs Modern Committee (PS ModCom), and the DC Preservation League. Continue reading to learn how these three programs have had a positive impact on the profession.
Created by the Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF), DiscoverDesign.org connects teens, teachers, and architects across the country for real-world 21st-century project-based learning. Developed over the past three years, this free web site has been used by 1,700 teens in 200+ high schools and 300 educators and architects since its official national launch in January 2012.
The site creates opportunities for high school students to learn architectural skills and green design principles, apply math and science principles to investigate their own school building, and engage in real-world problem solving in an online community of their peers, teachers, and architects volunteering as online mentors across the country. One of the most exciting aspects of the program is the students’ ability to receive direct feedback from and communicate with practicing designers. The expertise of these AIA professionals has been critical to encouraging students to follow their interests and explore the world of architecture beyond their classroom.
From its founding 13 years ago by a group of passionate people who joined together to save a 1955 Albert Frey building from demolition, the Palm Springs Modern Committee (PS ModCom) has launched a local volunteer nonprofit movement dedicated to maintaining the heritage of modern architecture and historic neighborhoods in Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley area. This group was initially operated by a small board of volunteers who rallied the general membership into action for political advocacy and public awareness of the value and importance of architectural preservation. Its founding members foresaw the cultural and economic benefits of saving mid-century modern buildings and turning Palm Springs into a mecca for architectural tourism.
In 2009, an effort was made to increase the size of the board and improve outreach and effectiveness through the work of active board committees. The leaders and volunteers of this group give their time to build education exhibits, conduct tours, open their homes to architecture enthusiasts, and assist property owners who want to restore or upgrade their historic buildings. PS ModCom has had a tremendous impact on architectural preservation in Palm Springs.
Throughout its history the DC Preservation League (DCPL), often in partnership with government, industry, and community groups, has presented education programs, lectures, conferences, and tours. These programs have focused on architecture, adaptive use of historic buildings, urban planning, and the nexus between historic preservation and economic development. In addition, in cooperation with the city’s historic preservation office, DCPL has produced a series of brochures that describe the social, cultural, and architectural history of Washington’s historic districts.
DCPL has worked tirelessly to preserve Washington’s sense of place and the unique features that define the capital city. Washington’s historic character is one of its greatest assets and a vital component of local economic development efforts. The league has advanced the study, the law, and the public acceptance of historic buildings, helping to inform the cause of historic architecture and architects throughout the country. Most recently, DCPL has addressed the issue of mid-20th-century resources through educational programs such as DC Modern: Inventory, Issues, Impact and DC Modern: Washington Inside, which for the first time brought together architects, designers, property owners, and an interested audience to highlight the role of modernism in the shaping of post–World War II Washington.
The 2013 Jury:
Steven Spurlock, FAIA, Chair, Wnuk Spurlock Architecture, Washington, D.C.
James Binkley, FAIA, Reston, Virginia
Brian F. Cavanaugh, AIA, Architecture Building Culture LLC, Portland, Oregon
Aisha Densmore-Bey, Assoc. AIA, Aisha Densmore-Bey, Designer, Boston
Lonnie Hoogeboom, AIA, Houston Downtown Management District, Houston
All three recipients will be honored at the 2013 AIA National Convention and Design Exposition in Denver.