Award: verb, \ə-ˈwȯrd\: to give by judicial decree or after careful consideration; to confer or bestow as being deserved or merited.
I had the pleasure of attending the 2015 AIA/ WNY Design Awards . The exquisite venue, the esteemed company of the architecture and design industry and excellence achieved in design, one might think this can’t get any better.
For me, it did!
Bob Stark, or “Bobby” as the room was affectionately addressing him, stated the Buffalo Architecture Foundation (BAF) provided a lasting legacy that benefits its sister organization, the Buffalo/WNY chapter of the AIA. He applauded our award-winning A+E program, the building stories, and the Pro-Bono initiative, as he was ready to present the E.B. Green Distinguished Service Award to our very own Denise Juron-Borgese. The award is presented to an individual or group who has performed outstanding service to the local AIA Chapter.
Denise, the founding board member of BAF, is a friend, a mentor and the voice of reason to the many ideas we have. Prior to spearheading the effort to start BAF, Denise served on the Board of Directors of the American Institute of architects (AIA) Buffalo/ WNY from 2008 until 2011. Denise has organized the Pro-Bono Publico Awards for the last several years. She played a key role in developing BAF’s ‘Building stories’ program and forming a partnership with University at Buffalo’s digital archive system, UBDigit where these stories about Buffalo/ WNY are documented. It is because of her unrelenting efforts to see BAF succeed—even in its formative years—that we have been a United Way Charity since 2012.
The energy in the magnificent room was electrifying when our vice president Linsey Graff was introduced as the recipient of the Community Service Award by Kelly Hayes-MacAlonie. The award is presented to an individual or group who has performed outstanding service relating to the built environment. Linsey has worked tirelessly and passionately for the Architecture + Education mission and continues to develop new programming with strategic partnerships across WNY.
It was now BAF’s turn to honor individuals or groups who have exhibited exemplary pro bono services, rendered in the public interest without fee or with a significant reduction in fees, provided to not-for-profit clients. Pro Bono Publico Award in Design Excellence was awarded to Thinking Outside the Square and Inkwell Studios for their outstanding efforts on the Buffalo’s Bethune: America’s First Woman Architect exhibit. Under the thoughtful leadership of Buffalo History Museum Executive Director Melissa Brown, Buffalo’s Bethune was created to open for the conference’s Museum by Moonlight event. Displayed from October 2011 through April 2012, Buffalo’s Bethune garnered wide-ranging media attention, including coverage in Architectural Record, USA Today and the Washington Post. The exhibit is now, fittingly, on permanent display in Bethune’s masterwork, the recently renovated Hotel@The Lafayette.
Flynn Battaglia Architects were the recipient of the Pro Bono Publico Award in Distinguished Service for their notable ongoing commitment to the Buffalo Lighthouse Visitor Center project. Flynn Battaglia Design Leader Christopher Less, AIA and Architectural Planner and board member Courtney Creenan-Chorley mentored and collaborated with the fraternity students to study precedents, develop a concept design and establish site strategies. The new visitor center is planned to be located near the site of the 1905 U.S. Lifesaving Service Station at Lighthouse Point in the Outer Harbor. BAF joined the audience in applauding the Citizen Architects of Flynn Battaglia for their important contribution to preserving the past and building the future of the Buffalo Waterfront.
The Annual AIA Design Awards were established to encourage excellence in architectural design to make the public more aware of the potential of man-made environment. The Awards gala certainly celebrated the architectural community. I left the venue with great memories, moments of pride and the AIA Design Awards book… dedicated to those who revere the built environment!