April 28, 2018

How Paint Technology Can Contribute to Healthy Living Environments

This article was originally published on aia.org, authored by Benjamin Moore. You can view the original article here.

With indoor air quality a crucial component of design, AIA partner Benjamin Moore examines how paint is evolving to reduce pollutants while preserving aesthetics.

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), people spend the majority of their time indoors, including homes, offices, schools, and other environments, where they may face significant health risks due to repeated exposure to air pollutants. A major contributor to indoor air pollution is volatile organic compounds (VOCs), chemicals emitted from certain building materials and household products such as paint, carpeting, interior furnishings, and cleaning and personal care products. (more…)

April 27, 2018

National Architecture Week 2018 Day 6: Architecture Education | Integrated Path to Licensure Pilots | Hip Hop Architecture | K-12 Outreach Programs

For the sixth day of National Architecture Week, our focus shifts to the future with a look at Architecture Education. Various organizations in Detroit are developing innovative new programs with goals ranging from youth architecture education, to shortening the path to licensure, to teaching kids the power of music, lyrics, and dance to describe—and advance improvements to—the built environments in which they live, play, and learn.  (more…)

April 24, 2018

National Architecture Week Day 4: Affordable Housing | TONIGHT: Exhibition & Conversation on Housing Discrimination in Detroit | Tiny Homes for the Homeless

Today marks the midpoint of National Architecture Week 2018, and a day of focus on Affordable Housing—a subject of much discussion around the country, but with a particular importance here in Detroit. As the city experiences the growing pains of a rebound from bankruptcy to ambitious redevelopment, spread unevenly across almost 140 square miles, the inevitable struggle between supporting the city’s existing population while also appealing to new residents has become the subject of much debate. But developers and nonprofit organizations alike are making room for Detroit’s low-income residents, and some of them in very innovative ways. (more…)

National Architecture Week Day 3: Cities + Public Spaces | Reimagining Detroit’s Public Spaces

The third day of National Architecture Week 2018 is focused on Cities and Public Spaces, and Detroit’s recent history stands as a powerful case-study on the many approaches being employed in partnerships between private entities, the City of Detroit, and nonprofit organizations to ensure that both residents and visitors alike have unhindered access to public space that is inviting, safe, and contributes to the localized sense of community that makes Detroit such a rich and vibrant tapestry of unique cultures.

Below is just a sample of some of the recent projects being undertaken to create or revitalize Detroit’s public spaces:

April 23, 2018

National Architecture Week 2018 Day 2: Architects + Communities | Join the AIAD Service Network Today to Volunteer


Today marks the second day of National Architecture Week 2018, focusing on Architects & Communities. AIA Detroit is proud to use this opportunity to announce the new AIAD Service Network, a database of Detroit-area AEC professionals and allies across the region looking for ways to give back to the diverse and vibrant collection of distinct communities that make up the Detroit region. Joining the AIAD Service Network is easy—-simply go to AIADetroit.com/SignUp and complete your profile to let us know what kind of service opportunities you’re interested in hearing about. Already on the AIAD Mailing List? Simply click “Update My Preferences” at the bottom of any AIA Detroit email, and you’ll be directed to a page where you can update your communications preferences, including those for the new AIAD Service Network.

AIA Detroit will be spending the entire month of May focusing on Community, and our first volunteer opportunity for the new AIA Detroit Service Network will support both Commerce Design: Detroit, a new neighborhood-focused design-impact competition in partnership with Design Core Detroit, and our May AIAD:COMMONS, presented by AIAD’s PechaKucha Night Detroit at the May Drinks by Design! (more…)

April 22, 2018

National Architecture Week 2018 kicks off on Earth Day; AIAD COTE announces new Sustainable Design Award format

The AIA is celebrating the kickoff of National Architecture Week today, April 22nd, in alignment with Earth Day 2018! As such, the first of seven daily themes for National Architecture Week will focus on Sustainability, including the announcement of the AIA National Committee on the Environment 2018 COTE Top Ten Awards!


April 16, 2018

Centric Design Studio Wins 1st Place in the 14th Annual Detroit Home Design Award Show

Centric Design Studio’s approach to design helps to fuel Detroit’s economy and increase diversity and equity in the field of architecture.

On March 29th, at 6:30 pm, Detroit Home Magazine announced the winners of the 14th Annual Design Award show at the [Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Music Center, Detroit, MI.] This year Saundra Little and Damon Thomas of Centric Design Studio (CDS) were honored as first place winners for their work on the David Klein Art Gallery in the category of Retail Interior Design (Boutiques, Stores, Salons). Over the past few years Centric Design Studio has experienced phenomenal growth, performing unique designs in Detroit’s midtown and downtown areas on spaces such as TechTown, SpaceLab Detroit, and St. Andrews Hall.  (more…)

Categories: AIA Detroit News  
April 6, 2018


SOUTHFIELD, MI – April4, 2018- Neumann/Smith Architecture, one of Michigan’s most distinguished design firms, has hired Leo Valentino Mendez, Jr., AIA, as Director of Design, to strengthen our collaborative design philosophy and leadership at Neumann/Smith.

An award-winning designer with more than 20 years of experience, Leo will lead Neumann/Smith’s creative team with focus on elevating design, innovation and the client experience. He brings diverse and wide-ranging expertise that heightens the firm’s commitment to high-quality design. In addition to expanding initiatives for design excellence, his leadership will advance the firm’s ability to help clients achieve more.

Joel Smith, AIA, President, says “As our firm continues to grow, we seek talented individuals who will help strengthen our teams and explore new levels of creativity and innovation. Leo is undoubtedly that type of design leader. His talent will play a key role in elevating design vision throughout our firm.”

Leo possesses a unique blend of planning, management, and design experience. His background entails Master Planning and Conceptual Design for Retail, Urban Planning, Mixed-Use, and Adaptive Re-Use and Renovation projects. He earned a Bachelor of Architecture and a Bachelor of Business Administration from University of Detroit Mercy and is a member of the American Institute of Architects, National Council of Architectural Boards (NCARB), and International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC). Leo is a Registered Architect in Michigan and Arizona.

About Neumann/Smith
Celebrating its 50th year, Neumann/Smith Architecture is one of Michigan’s largest and most distinguished design firms, honored by over 200 awards from the architectural community and numerous features in the international architectural press. Headquartered in Southfield, Michigan, with a Detroit Design Studio, the firm specializes in architecture, historic preservation, planning and interior design for corporate and municipal offices, mixed-use developments, multi-unit housing, parking structures, commercial and retail centers, and higher education facilities. For additional information visit www.neumannsmith.com, follow the firm on Twitter www.twitter.com/neumannsmith, LinkedIn www.linkedin.com/company/neumannsmith, or Facebook www.facebook.com/neumannsmitharchitecture

Categories: AIA Detroit News   Membership  
April 2, 2018

April 2018 President’s Letter: April is Education Month

Education has always been a core component of what the AIA provides for its members, and, in fact, the State of Michigan requires that each of us maintain our professional license by continuing that education through attendance and participation in educational events. Each year, our chapter strives to provide you with high quality learning units; both through our direct networks like our monthly interactive series, AIAD:COMMONS, and our committees and knowledge communities such as the Building Codes + Regulation Committee, the Building Enclosure Council, and the Technology in Architectural Practice group.  In addition to our internally-organized programs, AIA Detroit partners with affiliated organizations, such as NAWIC (National Organization for Women in Construction), SEMBOIA, and CE Academy, to ensure that our members have a variety of programming to choose from as well as multiple opportunities to earn the necessary amount of learning units.   

In short, AIA Detroit has long been considered a “super star” in terms of supporting educational opportunities for our members. This is important for each of us on several fronts:

  • > As architects we MUST attend conferences and educational events to maintain our professional licenses.
  • > These sessions are an excellent way to keep up-to-date on current trends, codes, technology,and other topics that influence your practice.
  • > Our programs offer yet another way to network with your peers.
  • > For emerging professionals, these events are a great way to leverage the collective knowledge of more experienced individuals in our community.

This month alone, we are offering over 20 continuing education units for you, as members of AIA Detroit, many of which are offered at a reasonably low cost to you. In order to keep providing these, however, we need you to attend, participate, and provide us with feedback in order for our organization to work toward continuous improvement. We also strive to make certain that over 75% of our educational programming is qualified for Health, Safety & Welfare (HSW) designationl. For example, last month’s screening of  “ABSTRACT: The Art of Design”, held at the Emagine Theater Royal Oak, qualified for 2.0 HSW CEU credits!

Our staff, Charlie Klecha and Lauren Myrand, work tirelessly to make certain that these events not only meet the criteria established by AIA National, but to provide food, beverage, entertainment, quick credit reporting and certificate distribution for your records. Their efforts should be applauded; there is an unbelievable amount of work that goes on behind the scenes to help support us in our professional endeavors toward learning. Thank you, Lauren and Charlie!

If you haven’t had the chance to attend one of our Monthly  AIAD: COMMONS Interactive Knowledge events, a BEC-GD or TAP program; one of the BCRC code seminars, or any other number of our educational opportunities, I highly encourage you to seek out the calendar on our website for more information. Please reach out to Lauren Myrand at Lauren@AIADetroit.com if you need help finding appropriate sessions for your continuing education experience.

We are calling April the month of education; as Nelson Mandela once said: “Education is the most powerful weapon to change the world.”

Let’s do that, together.

March 23, 2018

Emerging Professionals see renewed activity, set plans for more growth in 2018

2017 was an exciting year for Emerging Professionals in Detroit. With a fresh energy brought to the Emerging Professionals Committee, our membership brought new events, conversations, and exciting momentum to our professional community.

In September 2017, the inaugural AIAD CKLDP Cohort of 16 scholars, along with the program’s leadership team, gathered for a ‘Bootcamp’ kick-off to the program.

With the support of AIA Detroit Chapter leadership and the dedicated energy of our own committee members, The Christopher Kelley Leadership Development Program (CKLDP) was launched in September 2017, providing a new opportunity for young professionals to hone their skills and prepare for future career advancement. The support and participation of our membership made for successful networking and professionally-oriented events, bringing us together to share and learn.  The support of our sponsors allowed us to establish what will be a recurring showcase for the talents of our emerging membership through the Future Focus Emerging Designer Spotlight.  The priorities outlined in our mission statement to engage, listen, and lead compelled us to volunteer our time and efforts to benefit the city of Detroit itself.

With 2018 well upon us, the committee is excited about where we are headed next. The EPC’s 2018 programming kicked off with a community design charrette for the North End neighborhood, in partnership with the Urban Priorities Committee. As many emerging professionals prepare for the Architecture Registration Exams, the EPC has partnered with AIA Michigan to develop an initiative to support and encourage candidates in Detroit and across the state throughout 2018.

Expanding upon the events of 2017, the EPC is working on new events to promote the architecture industry as well as individual and committee growth. These events include mentoring, building tours, and affiliate industry collaborations. If you are interested in supporting the EPC, please reach out at EmergingProfessionals@aiadetroit.com



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