In its 18th year of recognizing emerging architectural professionals in Colorado, I had the extremely rewarding and mind-expanding experience jurying this year’s AIA awards program. Although, at age 60, I still consider myself an emerging professional since realizing that I can never learn enough about architecture, it was an honor to spend a day with four other successful, Colorado Architects and Engineers on the jury. We all provided input on about one-hundred entries in twenty categories. There were only 20 to 40 minutes allotted to each category which included Craftsmanship – Architectural, Craftsmanship – Artistic, Unbuilt Architecture – Under and Over 20,000 SF, Built Architecture – Under 20,000 SF, Interior Architecture, Most Sustainable Project, Historic Preservation, Creative Concepts, etc.
What I found most inspiring about the projects, was the effort represented as the designs addressed aesthetics as much as they strived to instill sustainability and livability. What ultimately compelled me to further examine most of the projects was their mix of practical beauty with artistic presentation. It reassures me that emerging architects are not only capable of great design but marketing themselves as well. The future of beautiful, practical architecture in Colorado is in good hands — and that’s really exciting to see.
While marveling at all these projects may have made for an interesting day, it also begged the question about the state of architecture in Southern Colorado. There were few submissions from Southern Colorado where we practice. Emerging professionals from much larger Architecture firms in more urban/affluent areas of Colorado challenge the architecture produced in Colorado Springs and the surrounding area overall. I would say that I was the oldest juror there and the only sole proprietor of their own small firm. I believe that perhaps that made me view these projects with a different eye for the effort involved in entering these types of competitions. In thinking of my own firm and what I know about the strong value component in our competitive building market in Colorado Springs, I was inspired to spend more time with our talented team discussing ‘practical beauty’ when compared to the emerging professionals I saw represented in other areas of the state.
I’m now, more excited than ever, because Tremmel Design Group has to up its useful design and presentation skills. That’s getting the right design for each project that answers our Clients’ needs and takes the time to tell the story of how we elegantly and effectively solved the concerns presented for each unique Client. We have to earn our clients’ and community’s’ trust that Architects provide far more value than their fee.
The 2017 AIA10 Awards showcased beautiful designs, and at the end of the day, Southern Colorado firms have to compete with the firms that show this Colorado talent. We have to compete with them for clients, as well as compete for their knowledge as potential employees. We may have come out of the recession a few years behind the rest of metropolitan areas of Colorado, but that just means we need to play catch up. This became clearly evident in jurying the incredible projects and ideas that Colorado’s emerging professionals are creating and sharing with our state and the world. With the promise of a world class Olympic Museum in our city, our time to continue to create our own unique, beautiful place at the foot of our incredible mountain is upon us.
To sum up my experience, jurying the 2017 AIA10 Awards was amazing. The jurors were wonderful and the projects inspiring. I cannot wait to see where these incredible and budding architects go, but in the meantime, the talented team at Tremmel Design is on the path to inspire beautiful, timeless design with greater value for our clients.
To find out more about the 2017 AIA10 Awards and this year’s winners go here!