Frank Lloyd Wright notably said that “Architecture is life, or at least it is life itself taking form.” The 13 architects who banded together in 1857 to form the American Institute of Architects presumably shared Wright’s belief about the importance of what he called “the mother art.” Today, with more than 95,000 members and 200 chapters worldwide, the AIA is still working “to advance our nation’s quality of life and protect the public’s health, safety and welfare, as it has done for 160 years.” One of the ways it meets that goal is by recognizing excellence in design each year.
At the local level, the American Institute of Architects Treasure Coast Chapter issues awards for design excellence every two years. Scott Hughes, president of the chapter, describes it as the second smallest in the state with about 60 active members. He notes that the area it serves, which includes Indian River, Martin, St. Lucie and Okeechobee counties, is “remarkably endowed with a very strong architectural community, especially given our size.” When it comes to receiving national recognition, he adds, “We punch above our weight.”
In 2020, while forgoing the usual celebratory gathering, the Treasure Coast Chapter Awards continued. A team of independent judges, chosen by the leaders of the chapter, was led by Beth Dunlop, an award-winning architecture critic, editor and author. Other judges included AIA fellows Alexander Gorlin of New York and Jim Bodnar, who chairs the Miami Beach Design Review Board. The judges presented three Honor Awards and four Merit Awards in the areas of new work and renovation. The chapter issued seven additional awards, judged by the chapter leadership, to projects or people deemed to be of particular importance to the community.
One of the Treasure Coast Chapter’s goals is to “expand the awareness and appreciation of architecture among the general public.” As grateful beneficiaries of the excellent design that enhances our community, we are happy to assist by highlighting the award winners and their work.