With keynote lectures from acclaimed industry experts and an awards ceremony honoring the state’s most impressive designs, the AIA New Jersey State Convention – the largest architectural gathering in the state – focused on the industry’s top issues and professionals at the two-day event in Whippany, N.J.
Held at the Hanover Marriott, the event celebrated architecture in the Garden State, and featured the public display of more than 100 design entries submitted by 68 firms. The event was capped by the Design Awards reception, where a panel of prestigious judges announced the winning entries.
“Once again, we were very impressed with the ingenuity reflected in the design submissions we received,” Kimberly Bunn, AIA-NJ president. “The convention serves as a major celebration of New Jersey architecture, and it’s extremely gratifying to review more than 100 creative submissions and marvel at the quality of our membership’s work.”
The two-day convention was highlighted by several illuminating keynote lectures: Shirley Blumberg of KPMB Architects in Canada addressed the advantages of practicing architecture in the United States’ regulatory climate; Michael Michalowicz, a noted Wall Street Journal and MSNBC commentator and author of “The Pumpkin Plan,” used the analogy of farming and cultivating a pumpkin seed to discuss how to nurture and grow an architectural firm; Obiekwe M. Okolo led a healthy discussion on the evolving perception of architecture.
For the first time, the event also featured a student design competition, reflecting the organization’s efforts to engage prospective architects at the collegiate level. Grace Dong, an NJIT student, won the student competition, receiving a $500 prize for her entry, titled “Light Pavilion.”
“This year’s event showcased so many great things about architecture in New Jersey, and honored the state’s most impressive architectural achievements,” said Bunn. “Also, with our young professionals’ involvement in the student competition as well as their assistance planning the convention, and so many young professionals in attendance, we are reaping the fruits of our efforts to increase the involvement of the next generation of architects.”
Other highlights of the convention included tours of Gottesman RTW Academy and Craftsman Farms, local architectural gems that showcase the creative design that results from inspired architectural work.
Saturday featured a retrospective by Karen Nichols, FAIA, who gave a unique perspective on the life and background of her longtime colleague, Michael Graves, FAIA. Nichols discussed Graves, the sole architect to have been inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame, and shared her insight into how the events of various decades influenced his point of view and his architectural work.
The winners of the Design Awards announced at the conference included:
- MABU, based in Rockleigh,received a merit award in the Unbuilt category for the Community Center Long Branch design
- Slade Architecture, based in New York City,received a merit award in the Interior category for their Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse of Newark project
- RDK Architect, LLC, based in Englewood, received a merit award in the Interior category for the design of Architecture for Fragrance
- The Musial Group Architecture, based in Mountainside,received a merit award in the Built-Open category for their work onGarwood Athletic Complex
- Jacobs, based in Morristown,received a Merit award in the Built-Open category for their work on Steinberg Hall-Dietrich Hall, University of Pennsylvania Wharton School
- D.W. Arthur Associates Architecture, Inc., based in Boston,received a merit award in the Built-Open category for their work on Ironbound Children’s Center
- Michael Ryan Architects, based in Philadelphia,received a merit award in the Built-Residential category for their design ofRiver Run Residence
- EI Associates, based in Cedar Knolls, received an honor award in the Built Historic category for its work on Summit Middle School Auditorium Preservation
- Jeff Jordan Architects, based in Jersey City,received two accolades: an honor award in the Unbuilt category for their work onLiberty Pedestrian Bridge and an honor award in the Built-Residential category for their work on The Hillcrest House
- Davis Brody Bond, based in New York Cityreceived an honors award in the Built-Open category for its design of the National September 11 Memorial Museum
- HDR, based in Lawrenceville,received an honors award in the Built-Open category for their work on the Interdisciplinary Research Building at Howard University
About AIA and AIA New Jersey
Founded in 1857, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) is the professional organization that helps architects serve the public’s needs and builds awareness of the role of architects and architecture in American society. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., its 300 plus local chapters represent 86,000 licensed architects and allied professionals. The organization’s local chapter, AIA New Jersey, has served as the voice of the architecture profession in the Garden State since 1900. Based in Trenton, AIA New Jersey has 2,000 members in six local sections.
For more information, please visit www.aia-nj.org.