August 9, 2018

Finalists Announced for inaugural Commerce Design: Detroit Awards

Eighteen Finalists named in inaugural Commerce Design Detroit Awards; International Jury to visit businesses this weekend

AIA Detroit and Design Core Detroit are thrilled to officially announce the (18) businesses selected as finalists for the first Commerce Design Detroit Awards program. The finalists were selected from a highly competitive group of (37) submissions, representing a broad range of businesses, scales, neighborhoods, and business types. The Jury, featuring both local and international design practitioners, will gather in Detroit this weekend to conduct on-site visits to each of the finalist businesses to learn more about their design process and the impact the project has had in its neighborhood context. The (18) finalists will also be recognized in a special exhibit at this year’s AIA Detroit Celebration of Architecture, the premier event of the year for the AEC and Design communities in southeast Michigan. 

Ten winning projects will be selected following the jury’s visits, and will be announced at a special event in late October at the Garden Theatre. Winning businesses will then be featured in a promotional campaign, including a “People’s Choice” vote on social media, leading up to a special edition Drinks x Design Crawl to the winning businesses on December 1st.

Congratulations to the finalist projects!:


July 12, 2018

Quinn Evans Architects Promotes Four to Principal

Senior Architects Based in Detroit, D.C., and Baltimore

Quinn Evans Architects, one of the nation’s leading architectural firms specializing in planning, design, and historic preservation, has announced the promotion of four senior architects to principal. The new principals reflect the firm’s diverse expertise in the design of museums, theaters, and cultural buildings; libraries; schools and higher education facilities; and urban revitalization initiatives.

“Our four new principals reflect the high caliber of seasoned, diverse leadership that has become the standard at Quinn Evans Architects,” said Larry Barr, FAIA, president of the firm. “These architects have consistently championed resourceful design strategies that help to transform buildings and reinvigorate communities.”

In the Detroit office, Richard Hess has been promoted from senior associate to principal. With more than 20 years of experience, Hess has played a key role in several major revitalization projects in Detroit, including preservation initiatives at Michigan Central Station, the redevelopment of the historic Brewster Wheeler Recreation Center, the adaptive use of the former B. Siegel department store into the mixed-use 7.Liv, the new Woodward Willis mixed-use development in Midtown, and the restoration of the McGregor Memorial Pool and Sculpture Garden at Wayne State University. Elsewhere in Michigan, Hess is working with the City of Dexter on its downtown redevelopment initiatives.

Hess is a member of the Urban Land Institute. He holds a Master of Architecture from the University of Michigan (2003) and a Bachelor of Design in Architecture from the University of Florida (1996). (more…)

Categories: AIA Detroit News  
July 9, 2018

Recognizing the Efforts of AIA Detroit’s Volunteers

When our members are involved in the community, great things begin to happen.

Many of the most inspiring stories to come out of Metro Detroit involve volunteers and their tireless efforts.  Volunteering can be both an extremely rewarding experience as well as a chance to get out of the office and try something new.  We here at AIA Detroit are fortunate to have within our membership many firms and architects who believe in wielding the powerful tool of design to give back to the local community.

Perhaps you have planted trees, built tiny homes, or lent your skills in constructing a habitat for those in need.

Maybe you have volunteered your time directly through AIA Detroit and our network: whether you have contributed to the revival of a street corner, lent your afternoons introducing architecture into the world of Detroit students, partaken in NOMA Detroit’s Project Pipeline, labored with us during the annual neighborhood-wide undertaking by Life Remodeled, or spent countless hours chairing or working for one of AIA Detroit’s numerous committees or programs, we salute you. 

No effort is too small, and your donated time will never go unnoticed.  As architects, you have the vision to change the future, and your involvement in such community efforts is guaranteed to leave a positive, lasting impact on the way we approach equity and diversity in design.

June 11, 2018

The Value of Your AIA Detroit Membership

What makes an AIA membership truly worthwhile? One could easily offer up some basic examples—discounts on contract documents, the tracking of your continuing education credits, access to resources like health coverage through the AIA Trust—but there is something much more intrinsic at the core of AIA membership, something many of us often overlook or don’t even think to acknowledge. It is the reason the AIA still exists today: At the core of your AIA membership, there are individuals—some paid staff, many more simply passionate volunteers—who pour their hearts and souls into working countless hours to ensure that your time spent in the architecture and design profession is the best and most opportunistic that it can possibly be.

These people are part of an international organization 90,000-strong, with a legacy stretching over 160 years. They advocate on your behalf; fight for the future of the profession and its emerging designers; maintain an institutional framework that brings together architects to explore advances in the way we design; and create safe spaces that allow for those difficult, but necessary, conversations surrounding such topics as equity, diversity, and sustainability to occur.

Here at AIA Detroit, we are fortunate to have so many individuals who are willing to share their passion with the greater Metro-Detroit region, to volunteer their expertise and leverage their connections, so that our AIA member experience is enriching and advantageous. When you are a member of AIA Detroit, you are welcomed into a community that believes quality architecture and design make the world a better place. It is a bustling network waiting for you to engage, and the constant efforts of its volunteers to support and improve the architecture profession are what make your AIA membership so valuable.

We encourage you to join us next Monday, June 18th, for a Midyear Membership Meeting, where you will be able to meet the folks who drive our Chapter’s activity, and receive an update on all the exciting upcoming programs and initiatives they have planned for the AIA Detroit community.

We look forward to seeing you there!

May 29, 2018

Commerce Design: Detroit 2018 | Meet the Jury

Meet our distinguished panel of Jurors for the first

Commerce Design: DETROIT

Celebrating the Role of Design in Strengthening Neighborhood Business

Commerce Design: Detroit is a competition aimed at raising awareness of, and access to, professional design services for neighborhood small businesses, and to celebrate the impact of commercial design projects on the communities in which these businesses reside. The competition will recognize projects, submitted jointly by the business owner and design team, that have been completed within the City of Detroit, including Highland Park and Hamtramck, in the last 5 years.

May 24, 2018

Five Ways Architects Can Protect Their Data

This article was originally published on, authored by Michael Heinsdorf. You can view the original article here.

As data privacy concerns make headlines, architects should consider how much they share when specifying products
Building products have always made up a significant portion of construction project budgets, and the specification of those materials takes up a large amount of architects’ time. But while product selection was once generic and took place in a closed environment, today it happens in increasingly transparent ways, such as via the internet or BIM. Information gleaned from this process is very valuable to the construction ecosystem. As an architect, do you know who is collecting and using your data? (more…)

May 8, 2018

May 2018 President’s Letter: Making an Impact Through Neighborhood Outreach

“The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.”
~Coretta Scott King

Compassion is no stranger to Detroit. In fact, it is the actions of compassionate individuals that have not only sustained its people through tough times, but fortified Detroit in the international community as a UNESCO City of Design in 2015.

This month, AIA Detroit celebrates those efforts, and recognizes the people whose creative works are having a positive impact throughout Detroit’s neighborhoods. From policy makers and city officials, community stakeholders and residents, to local architects and designers, May is filled with opportunities to dive deep into the endeavors that look to shape our communities for the better. (more…)

May 1, 2018

Ghafari Associates Acquires Leading Grand Rapids Commercial Design Firm, Concept Design Group

Ghafari Associates Acquires Leading Grand Rapids Commercial Design Firm,
Concept Design Group

The Combined Resources Strengthens the Firm’s Corporate and Commercial Design Strategic Direction

Dearborn, Mich. – April 30, 2018 – Ghafari Associates, Engineering News-Record Midwest’s “2017 Design Firm of the Year,” is proud to announce that it has acquired Concept Design Group, an award-winning architectural and interior design firm based in Grand Rapids, Michigan.


Categories: AIA Detroit News   Membership  
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