Architects change name by design


AIA Grand Rapids’ Building Honor Award went to the John Ball Zoo Treehouse, which was designed by Progressive AE. Courtesy AIA Grand Rapids

The local chapter of the American Institute of Architects revived a few bylaws and changed its name this year. Instead of being known as AIA Grand Valley, the organization is now known as AIA Grand Rapids.

The name change occurred in August when 76 percent of the membership approved it. The decision to drop the “Grand Valley” from the chapter’s name was done primarily to distinguish the organization from Grand Valley State University. There was a growing concern that outsiders were seeing the group as being affiliated with the university. Slightly more than 100 members participated in the voting.

AIA GR held its awards ceremony in late September and gave its David D. Smith Award to Steve Faber, executive director of Friends of Grand Rapids Parks and former associate director at the Delta Strategy Project Management at City Vision Inc.

The Smith Award was established in 2008 to honor the former director of facilities for Grand Rapids Public Schools and is given annually to someone “who represents community service and leadership, while also elevating the community’s awareness of architecture and the built environment through the creation of enduring places.”

The organization’s coveted Honor Award for achievements in design was limited this year as awards were not handed out in the unbuilt, sustainable design, small commercial design, and regional and urban design categories.

But the Honor Award in the adaptive reuse category went to CityFlatsHotel on Monroe Center, which was designed by GMB Architecture + Engineering, and to Reagan Marketing + Design, work that was done by Lott3 Metz Architecture.

The Interior Architecture Honor Award was won by GMB Architecture + Engineering for its collaborative lab. The John Ball Zoo Treehouse, which Progressive AE designed, captured the Building Honor Award.

Although AIA GR didn’t name a Young Architect of the Year this year, last year’s winner was back in the design spotlight this year. Lorissa MacAllister, last year’s winner, received the Young Architect Award from AIA Michigan this year. She founded Enviah at 5050 33rd St. in Grand Rapids and serves as the firm’s president.

MacAllister has practiced architecture for a dozen years and specializes in health care design. She has worked on projects for Spectrum Health, Saint Mary’s Health Care and Zeeland Community Hospital. She is pursuing a Ph.D. in architecture and medical design at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

AIA GR also continued its tradition of awarding student scholarships by giving one each to Ethan Sims and Evan Weaver. It’s the second scholarship for Sims, who is working on his master’s degree at University of Detroit Mercy. Sims’ work at the Detroit Collaborative Design Center was one of only two student projects selected for the Design Excellence Awards Exhibit.

Weaver is in his senior year in the new architecture and sustainability program at Ferris State University. He also works in the program’s digital media center as a technician who assists fellow students with printing, plotting and using the laser-cutting table. Weaver minors in facilities management, too.

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