Winston Churchill once said, “We shape our buildings and thereafter they shape us.” If that is true, the buildings entered into the eighth biennial Design Awards competition will shape us into very interesting people. On April 18, the AIA Delaware, a chapter of the American Institute of Architects, will hold its Design Awards Ball to honor significant achievements of its members in planning, design and execution of architectural projects. It welcomes everyone to attend.
Architects from around the state submit images of drawings, sketches, models and buildings to an independent, out-of-state jury comprised of architects and business people closely related to the design industry. The jury evaluates projects ranging from small residential renovations to large-scale corporate and government buildings. Their struggle is to identify projects that have that elusive X factor—something unique that demands our attention and broadens our view of our world. The competition is fierce and the evaluation process long and arduous. This year the jury will meet to review more than 30 projects submitted by large and small firms, as well as solo practitioners. As they review the materials submitted, the jury discusses and debates the merits of each project. Does it achieve its objective? How does it go beyond what the client asked for? What is unique and insightful about the architectural solution? Why should this building be recognized with an award?
After long hours of debate, sometimes quite animated, the jury bestows awards in three categories: Citations, identifying projects of exceptional merit; Merit Awards, recognizing projects demonstrating a level of design that exemplifies superior accomplishment; and Honor Awards, the highest award, acknowledges projects with a distinctive character for an outstanding achievement. Raising the bar is what this design awards competition is all about. One goal of AIA is to identify excellence in the work of its members to serve as examples of what can be achieved when a dedicated team of people—owners, architects, engineers and contractors—set their minds to accomplishing something great.
What Churchill revealed in his statement about architecture was that the quality and character of buildings is crucial to our self-image and to our national identity. Buildings affect our mood, productivity and outlook. They can be a source of pride for one’s community, company or campus. What we achieve through our built environment tells others the intimate details of our ambition to advance our culture. The greatness of the work submitted to the design awards competition, whether awarded or not, is that it gives architects an opportunity to remind us of the power of architecture to make great places that help shape us into a nation of extraordinary people.
Founded in 1857, the American Institute of Architects consistently works to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings, neighborhoods, and communities. Through nearly 300 state and local chapters, the AIA advocates for public policies that promote economic vitality and public wellbeing. Members adhere to a code of ethics and conduct to ensure the highest professional standards. The AIA provides members with tools and resources to assist them in their careers and business as well as engaging civic and government leaders and the public to find solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world. Established in 1932, AIA Delaware is the voice of the architectural profession and a resource for its members in service to society in Delaware. The American Institute of Architects and AIA Delaware: Driving positive change through the power of design.
To attend the Design Ball or view the Awards Gallery, visit www.aiadelaware.org.
HOUSE OF LORETO AT CHESTNUT HILL COLLEGE IN PHILADELPHIA,
DOVER PUBLIC LIBRARY IN DOVER, DEL.; 2014 AIA DELAWARE