Faculty-Led Projects Win Three American Institute of Architects Honorary Awards 2021


Timothy hursley

CO-OP Ramen in Bentonville received an Honorary Award for Interior Design as part of the American Institute of Architects’ 2021 Honorary Awards program.

Three projects led by faculty members from the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design have won accolades in three different categories from the American Institute of Architects’ 2021 Honorary Awards program.

The AIA Honor Awards program is the nation’s best design awards program for architecture, urban design and interior architecture. This year’s award-winning projects will be celebrated this summer at AIA’s annual virtual exhibition and conference and featured in an upcoming issue of Architect magazine, the official magazine of the AIA.

The Lamplighter School’s Innovation Lab, by Marlon Blackwell Architects, won an honorary award for architecture, and the company’s CO-OP Ramen project won an honorary award for architectural d inside. Rebuilding a Local Food Economy: Oahu, Hawaii, a project of the U of A Community Design Center in partnership with the U of A Resiliency Center, won an honorary award for regional and urban design.

Marlon Blackwell, FAIA, is the founder of his Fayetteville-based design firm, where he and Ati Johari Blackwell are both directors. He is Professor Emeritus and E. Fay Jones Chair in Architecture at the U of A. He received the 2020 Gold Medal from the American Institute of Architects, was named Conference Professor of the Year Southeast 2020 and was elected to become a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Letters earlier this year.

“In these two projects, what we are trying to do is enrich the building typologies that are often exaggerated or insufficient,” said Blackwell. “In the case of CO-OP, it’s a very simple ceiling articulation using standard sheets of plywood with painted edges. And at the Lamplighter School, we really try to give dignity to the place of learning with a relatively simple method. palette and variation in the different learning spaces. Each of them is sensitive to its place and to the material culture of its place – both immediate to the site, but also to the region. “

Stephen Luoni is the director of the U of A Community Design Center, an outreach center at Fay Jones School. Luoni is also Professor Emeritus and the Steven L. Anderson Chair in Architecture and Urban Studies at the University.

“Hawaii is the most isolated population center in the world, but it imports over 90 percent of its food from the Americas, resulting in various forms of food insecurity,” Luoni said. “Our work with the state involves the development of a middle market infrastructure comprised of farmers, processors, distributors, food companies and local wholesale markets lost as a result of global agri-food supply chains. . The island-wide food supply chain is structured around 34 acres of land. urban food hub complex, a food innovation center based in a university, and food micro-processing centers located on remote farms. The project uses design thinking to build state-wide policy, economic development and resource supply chains in a next-generation infrastructure that More importantly, we know that solving complex problems brings us to life. gives the opportunity to also create beautiful places. “

Lamplighter School’s innovation lab is one of 10 projects recognized in the 2021 Architecture Awards program, which “celebrates the best contemporary architecture and highlights the many ways buildings and spaces can improve lives,” according to the press release from AIA. In selecting this year’s winners, the nine-member jury examined the realization of the design, including “a sense of place, purpose, history and environmental sustainability,” says the press release.

The Lamplighter School Innovation Lab in Dallas, Texas is a state-of-the-art 10,600-square-foot structure that includes a series of collaborative spaces specifically designed for woodworking, chemistry, and physics that inspire students to explore. rather than relying on instruction.

The Innovation Lab is at the center of a master plan launched in 2014 for this private school that serves 450 students from kindergarten to grade four in the North Dallas area. The school’s campus was designed in the 1960s by O’Neil Ford, the leading Texan advocate of the mid-century modern approach.

Wrapped in copper and accented with cypress planks outside and inside, the innovation lab’s palette of materials, both warm and refined, is at home among the original buildings. Inside, the typical cell-class layout is replaced with an open landscape that encourages exploration. Its porous nature allows students to flow between indoor classrooms and outdoor learning opportunities that are rooted in local ecology, providing students with ample opportunities to consider new ideas and experiment.

CO-OP Ramen is one of seven projects recognized in the 2021 Interior Architecture Awards program, which celebrates “the most innovative interior spaces,” according to the AIA statement. The five-member jury assessed the entries based on the achievement of the design, including “sense of place and purpose, ecology and environmental sustainability, and history”.

CO-OP Ramen, located in 8th Street Market in Bentonville, is a casual eatery that embraces the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi, which celebrates asymmetries and imperfections in raw, natural objects. The building materials are ordinary but made extraordinary in texture, pattern and light, supporting a union of roughness and refinement.

Two main elements, plywood and concrete block, were used in the design. Double-sided finish plywood was chosen for its variation and inconsistency in grain. Each piece of plywood has edges painted in black or white, adding a touch of graphic sophistication to the material’s organic roughness. Carefully laid concrete block walls surround the space, softened by a 12-foot-high living green wall.

Rebuilding a Local Food Economy: Oahu, Hawaii is one of five projects recognized in the 2021 Regional and Urban Design Awards program, which recognizes the best in urban design, regional and urban planning and community development. The five-member jury examined how well each design responded to environmental, social and economic concerns through sustainable strategies. This includes the “ability to collect and distribute residents’ renewable energy and resources, while improving quality of life and promoting social equity,” the AIA statement read.

The Rebuilding a Local Food Economy: Oahu, Hawaii project represents four years of work with the Hawaii State Department of Agriculture Agri-Food Development Corporation and its aquaculture and livestock support services, and Senator Donovan Dela Cruz in the Hawaii State Legislature. The three projects covered by the award include the Whitmore Food Hub; the Wahiawa Value-Added Product Development Center for the University of Hawaii System and designed in partnership with Urban Works, an architecture and urban design firm in Honolulu; and the prototype of the farmyard.

This is the 13th AIA Honorary Award that the U of A Community Design Center has received; all were in the Regional and Urban Design category. Marlon Blackwell Architects has received a total of 16 AIA National Awards. These latest two awards bring the total of AIA Honorary Awards the company has received to eight – in the categories of architecture, interior design, and regional and urban design.


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