The month of August always brings forward many enjoyable summer celebrations, such as Back to the Bricks, the HAP Crim Festival of Races and the many community weekend jamborees. But there is another celebration that happens in Flint, and while it does not have all the fanfare, it is certain cause for festivity from a dedicated professional and purposeful organization. That is the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Flint Chapter Design Awards for 2018.
Through this Design Awards program, the AIA Flint will recognize the design excellence of its esteemed members. The program runs every other year and serves to promote the value of good design along with the commitment of local architects to the community in which they live and work. It is also a chance for the architects to honor and acknowledge the contributions of the clients for whom the work has been done. Longtime AIA Flint board member and current vice president Shannon Easter White says the AIA is the strongest professional organization designers and architects can belong to.
“While AIA holds all architects to the highest ethical standards,” she says, “it advocates for the value of architecture and gives architects the resources they need to do their best work. AIA’s work drives positive change through the power of design.”
While the AIA dates to 1857, the Flint Chapter was formed in 1960. But there is more to this organization than architectural design. AIA Flint members have volunteered their time and offered their expertise to serve on planning commissions, zoning and code boards, as well as school and church boards. They have hosted conferences and architectural tours, held community design charrettes (like brainstorming sessions) and raised funds for scholarships, housing and social programs while mentoring, teaching and sharing their highly specialized knowledge on the built environment. Easter White, who is owner of FUNchitecture, LLC, strongly publicizes how AIA Flint members have played an integral and important role in the revitalization of the Flint area over the past few years. There are far too many exemplary projects to list here, but just look around downtown Flint and all over Genesee County. And to think, all these projects are designed by Flint architects and fundamentally contribute to the economic development and growth of Flint.
SMALL COMMERCIAL DESIGN
“We have historically had great opportunities in unique cultural center institutions and fabulous buildings in a town of great innovation and entrepreneurship,” Easter White points out. “These resulted in many interesting and fulfilling places to work, play, study and pray as architecture and design plays an important role in everyone’s lives daily.”
INTERIOR ARCHITECTURE AWARD
She continues by underscoring for example, “Architects perform highly complex kinds of thinking to elicit ideas, vision, purpose, business goals and personal aspirations from within their clients’ heads. They analyze organizational structure and influence organizational development. They recognize and work with political agendas within organizations, help clients obtain financing, funding and tax credits. They assess how to get buy-in, and then guide processes to gain approvals. The intangible skills and services that architects provide contribute just as much as the tangible outcomes to an owner’s successes.” Basically, she emphasizes, “Design matters – period!”
There are nine separate categories eligible for an AIA Flint award. The submitted entries were judged by architects from the AIA Saginaw Chapter and local business professionals. While judging was completed in August, there were a reception and formal award announcements in September at the Capitol Theatre lobby in downtown Flint.
ADAPTIVE REUSE AWARD
For more information, visit www.funarchitecture.com or contact Shannon Easter White at [email protected] Visit FUNchitecture, LLC, at 130 E. Second St., Suite 300, in the Capitol Theatre lobby.