Architects from the Gulf States Region of the American Institute of Architects gathered in Orlando to celebrate the 2017 Honor Awards program.  Twenty-eight projects were recognized for their bold choices in color and materials, dramatic transformations, restrained design moves, and overall design excellence.  Respected jury members chose these projects from those entered by architects practicing in the Gulf States region. The Honor Awards program identifies built works of distinction, and strives to promote the excellent work by architects from Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee.

An accomplished group of design professionals, led by Paul Woolford, AIA, Design Director for HOK’s San Francisco office, juried the projects.  Jury members included Niraj Dangoria, Associate Dean, Stanford School of Medicine; David Baker, FAIA, President, David Baker Architects; Lydia Tan, Senior Vice President of Bentall Kennedy Development; and Elizabeth Ranieri, FAIA, Principal, Kuth Ranieri Architects.  Philip E. Black, AIA, of Simonton, Swaika, Black Architects in Birmingham acted as Program Chair,

Together, they reviewed and selected the following 28 projects for recognition from the 144 entered in the program.

Tech901 (Memphis, TN)
Architect:  archimania (Memphis, TN)

Program Statement: This nonprofit organization trains new information technology workers to take on the diverse challenges of their industry and provide growth resources for local employers. They required a new space for collaboration that was capable of adapting to serve multiple functions related to the information technology industry. Dynamic collaboration, accentuated by a large community table drove the design concept. This zone is made up of a community table long poured-in-place concrete table with power and data capability embedded into 40’ long six inch strip of walnut. A contrasting homasote wall surface helps to separate this collaborative space from the lounge spaces, and works to achieve optimal acoustics for discussion and concentration. A linear light overhead lines up with the power and data slots, as well as with the power nine logo at entrance. This dynamic space accommodates break out spaces for students to use between classes, offers space for temporary workstations, a surface for tech start-up company meetings and as a serving table for public events. Extending the design emphasis on collaboration, a conference room doubles as small training, testing or war room. Glazing is used to partition smaller offices to achieve openness and light to pass through the lounge. 42” high film allows partial privacy and effectiveness in the office spaces. Additionally, walls with marker board paint for informal meeting places at every seating area. A tectum bridge was developed to mask mechanical and electrical systems, which celebrating the nonprofit’s unique new home, a newly renovated Sears distribution facility that was vacant for 20 years.

Jury Comments:

  • When so many “worker” hub spaces across the country have used every clichéd interior trick and material imaginable, and emptied the Target and sporting goods stores of their bean bags, ping-pong tables and dart boards, this space is fearless in its lack of tricks. It’s confident and intelligent design work.
  • Perhaps it’s a cultural reflection of the age in which we live, but the brutal honesty of this project is appreciated for its lack of delicacy and raw emotion.
  • An heir apparent to the brutalism of Paul Rudolf, this project is notable for employing only a handful of spatial and material strokes in concrete and wood to achieve substantial effect.


Cahaba Brewing Company (Birmingham, AL)
Architect: Williams Blackstock Architects (Birmingham, AL)

Program Statement:  In the spirit of revitalization that is moving through Birmingham, Alabama, the four partners of Cahaba Brewing Company took their love of craft beer, motivated by its growing popularity in the region, as an opportunity to expand their brewery and taproom.

The minimal budget was not a hindrance but the foundation for tactful design decisions. A controlled material palette and priority on craft was leveraged in the creation of a memorable atmosphere unique among Alabama’s breweries. The reintroduction of light through existing monitor windows gives the reclaimed pine walls radiance in the afternoons while providing sufficient illumination in the production area.

Located on 5th Avenue South in the Historic 1925 Continental Gin Building complex, Cahaba’s Brewery sits at the crossroads of Birmingham’s industrial past and its renaissance as a hub of artfully crafted and inspiring community spaces. The taproom provides a much needed agent of change in the Avondale and Crestwood neighborhoods.  Cahaba Brewery has become the gold standard for the brewing of beer as well as the destination to hang out and build community.

Jury Comments:

  • This project is another good example of the design team and clients now bowing to zeitgeist of our time; creating a simulacrum of a past that never really existed, but is designed to create a false sense of comfort.
  • Evidencing the structure, and employing a material palette of concrete, steel and wood, the project nonetheless creates a vibrant interior environment that is welcoming, comfortable, and honest.
  • The jury remarked that we’d all definitely like to spend the afternoon having a beer here.



Consortium MMT (Memphis, TN)
Architect: archimania (Memphis, TN)

Program Statement: The space provides the client with a resource lobby for engaging the public and a recording environment for aspiring musicians, engineers, and vocalists. The clarity of color, shape, and rhythm facilitate the integration of a progressive environment within the context of a downtown streetscape and a historical building. From Main Street, guests are greeted by the “Epitome of Soul Award,” which leads them further into the lobby. The resource lobby promotes collaboration along an extended media bar and dynamic gathering spaces, which has flexible seating for workspaces, a lecture, or casual conversation configurations. In the resource lobby, the administrative offices and meeting room have enlarged graphics of legendary Memphis Soul musicians on the doors. By delineating the programmatic zones with specific colors, users are informed how each space is intended to be activated. Three individual vocal booths organize the workshop space, which is terminated by a larger room for ensemble or drum tracking. The nonprofit evaluates and accepts applicants to the program, which provides mentorship, access to state-of-the-art recording spaces and equipment, and an intimate performance room for rehearsals and special events.

Jury Comments:

  • This project is notable for the plan drawings that readily explain the design logic, which is just as clear in its spatial experience.
  • A figural palette of striking & bold colors set against a background field of white and charcoal creates a vibrant interior environment.
  • The space employs a spare organization of a really slender, long shell space, and a jam packed functioning program. The aspect ratio of the space could have been overwhelming, but it ironically advantages the design.
  • Each programmatic zone becomes in itself a mini stage for work or performance,…or both.


StoryBooth (Memphis, TN)
Architect: archimania (Memphis, TN)

 Program Statement:  The project’s program brief had two requirements: create a flexible space for an after-school arts initiative within an existing flea market, and add an office/retail component to sell the work produced by the students. The project’s context included the flea market with a storefront, an alley adjacent to the market, and a former distribution warehouse for Sears located across the street from the market.  The client had the ability to reclaim objects from the warehouse for repurposing.

The project design responds to program and context with three tactics: create a booth within the flea market that takes advantage of the existing flea market’s circulation, infrastructure, and storefront; create a ‘secret’ workshop area with flexible learning spaces and a heightened sense of entry; and connect the workshop space to the alley.

The flea market booth is marked by a square office volume placed along the flea market storefront, and is lined with an assemblage of reclaimed and painted shelves from the Sears Warehouse. A section of the shelving in the booth is a hidden door leading to the workshop beyond. Inside the workshop, three figures made from assembling more reclaimed shelves organize and scale the space. The shelving figures are treated as large pieces of furniture, providing integrated work surfaces, storage, lighting, and display. A series of tall openings following the rhythm of the shelving figures let light, views and circulation into the workshop space from the alley

Jury Comments:

  • Our Jury found this project to be an extraordinarily inventive exercise in design. Every move: from reinventing the site to a new use, from reusing found materials and from not creating an environment for children that looks like a box of crayolas, was fresh, well thought though and delightful.
  • A bright white palette set against a background of the flea market provides a place where the books and reading stations themselves sit center stage.
  • The space employs a spare organization of its many program functions within a tall slender room, but the carefully laid out planning only enhances the design.


The Ryman Auditorium Renovation & Expansion  (Nashville, TN)
Architect: Hastings Architecture Associates, LLC (Nashville, TN)

Program Statement:  Regarded as the soul of Nashville, the historic Ryman Auditorium is one of the most important buildings in the state of Tennessee. This 1892 National Historic Landmark originally hosted such performers as W.C. Fields, Will Rogers, Charlie Chaplin, Harry Houdini, and Louis Armstrong. Later, as the home of The Grand Ole Opry, The Ryman introduced the original stars of Country and Bluegrass such as Patsy Cline, Hank Williams and Bill Monroe thereby adopting the moniker “The Mother Church of Country Music”.

In 1993, the original building was rescued from demolition and underwent a full interior rehabilitation to serve as a performance venue by night and a museum by day. By 2015, the Ryman had outgrown the 1993 space and necessitated another expansion and renovation. This 2015 expansion replaces the postmodern references of the 1993 addition with a more restrained aesthetic. The design for the expansion pulls cues from the historic structure while mindfully introducing modern materials.

This 22,000-square-foot renovation and expansion reimagines the visitor experience by enlarging and improving the main lobby, retail, ticketing, and restroom areas to better accommodate crowds. The expansion created new spaces including the restaurant Café Lula, a custom-built 100-seat theater, and a 3-D pre-tour video experience.

This renovation contributed to the revitalization of Nashville’s downtown entertainment district a destination for both locals and visitors alike – preserving the history of the Ryman while ensuring its stature as the soul of Nashville.

Jury Comments:

  • The jury felt that this project was an extraordinary example of “reclaiming” an important historical, cultural fixture, and giving it a new urban and civic relevance.
  • The addition of a new building marquee, a public house for sharing drink and food, and exterior gathering & performance areas create a vital urban room, enlivening the spaces between neighboring structures, and reimagining the public realm for this part of the city.
  • This project faced with the tough challenge of respecting the original building, keeping intact a non-descript 1990’s addition, and expanding the facility to accommodate expansion, provide a new identity to the organization,… managed to do all three with grace and beauty.

Gallier Hall: St. Charles Avenue Façade Restoration (New Orleans, LA)
Architect: Markdesign (New Orleans, LA)

Program Statement: Designed by James Gallier, Sr. and completed in 1850, Gallier Hall was originally known as the Municipal Hall and served as the seat of New Orleans’ city government until the 1950s.  Based on its architectural and historic significance, Gallier Hall was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1974.  The building is currently used by the City of New Orleans as a public special events venue and municipal offices.

A catastrophic stone failure in 2014 made immediate the need for an intensive façade repair and restoration program to ensure the survival of the iconic building.   A design team comprised of architects and building conservation specialists investigated the causes of the stone failure and developed documentation of the existing façade conditions and a package of repair documents and specifications for competitive bidding.  In addition to addressing the matter of the stone failure, the project developed a cleaning program for the façade, repaired and refinished elaborate plaster soffits, reset stones that had shifted over time, and patched areas of lost material.  As Gallier Hall plays a prominent role in the city’s Mardi Gras celebrations, the building team was tasked with completing the construction phase of the project on an accelerated four month schedule.

Jury Comments:

  • The jury felt that this project was an exacting example of “returning” an important historical and cultural fixture in New Orleans, and returning it to its proper place in the civic realm.
  • Painstakingly accomplished, the restoration is a textbook example about how this kind of work should be done, and provides lessons for everyone in how to do it right.


Jim and Joyce Faulkner Performing Arts Center (Fayetteville, AR)
Architect: Allison + Partners, Inc. (Little Rock, AR) & HGA Architects and Engineers

Program Statement: Transform this historic building into a world-class performing arts center. • Provide critical acoustic volume without visible additions. • Accommodate varied performances from spoken word to orchestra.   Alumni and former university band members, Jim and Joyce Faulkner dreamed of giving back to the music department of the University of Arkansas Fayetteville campus. They subsequently offered to fund the renovation of the historic Field House to become the Jim and Joyce Faulkner Performing Arts Center.

After being used for a variety of programs and years of minimal maintenance, the exterior shell of the building was carefully restored to its original 1930’s appearance, while a state-of-the-art performing arts center was inserted inside. A critical component of the building, the original steel casement windows were repaired and restored, and the brick and limestone masonry were cleaned and re-pointed. Long absent, original wood entry doors were replicated after close study of historical photographs, and the missing original flagpoles were replaced.

Inside, a large portion of the ground floor was removed to receive the new concert hall, provide adequate spatial volume, and accommodate seating for up to 600. Instrument and stage storage areas are provided at both stage level and below, accessed by a platform lift to allow for ease in moving large items (percussion, choral risers, etc.). Performer accommodations are located on the basement level. The hall itself features walls of fumed Larch and Venetian plaster panels to provide richness while hidden acoustical curtains allow for tuning the room.  Theater, acoustic, lighting, and AV/IT consultants were included on the team, as well as a partner architect who specializes in performing arts centers.  This project is certified LEED Silver.

Jury Comments:

  • The jury felt that this project was truly an example of masterfully taking a campus artifact from one era and one purpose: a fieldhouse, and reimagining it for another: a contemporary Performance Hall.
  • The restoration, adaptation aspects of the project are done with real finesse, and the intervention of the performance and support spaces is extraordinary.
  • What was undoubtedly a really challenging design problem was accomplished with such simple & strong, but straight forward design decisions, that every move by the design team seems effortless.
  • The University undoubtedly has a vital new program component to campus while retaining a familiar old friend of a building. It’s a double win, what was cherished is preserved, and what was lacking is now provided. It’s both old and new, but definitely improved.


The Clubhouse
Architect: bDot Architecture (Birmingham, AL)

Program Statement:  Think back to your childhood… Exploring the woods for the first time. So much of that experience is about the mystery of what is just around the next bend, the verticality of the trees dwarfing you, and the rays of sun on your skin.  The intent of the clubhouse was to fit in that memory all the while reinterpreting the experience into architectural forms.  At first glimpse, the clubhouse is the counterpoint to the landscape.  Its orthogonal form complements the landscape by not daring to compete with it.  One of the mysteries of the clubhouse is that the entry is hidden from the approach from the house, forcing you to engage the landscape further.  Once it has been discovered, the entry reveals a rope ladder and a trap door into the play space.  With hatches for battening and an observation deck for engaging the scenic hillside, one is allowed to experience the height and verticality of the woods against the shelter and horizontality of the play space.  The interior takes the verticality of the woods and turns it on its side, figuratively.  The horizontal slats of the clubhouse envelop the interior of the space with rays of light that recall the imagery of those memories of the woods from our childhoods, but in a way that is novel to this one place

Jury Comments:

  • Every one of us on the jury wished that our childhood had been blessed with such a magical retreat as this.
  • Tall and elegant, simple and straight forward, the Clubhouse reimagines a familiar typology of a place for play in to a place we could all imagine escaping to as adults.
  • This project brought a smile to everyone’s face, and was a jury favorite for all the right reasons.




Harvey Pediatric Clinic (Rogers, AR)
Architect: Marlon Blackwell Architects (Fayetteville, AR)

Program Statement: Situated in a fast developing area of Rogers, Arkansas, the Harvey Clinic will be the new home of a thriving pediatric clinic.  While the area is quickly becoming a hub for medical office buildings, the Harvey Clinic seeks to rise above the everyday structures that populate the area and establish a new visual landmark along South 52nd Street, the main commercial corridor in the area.

The building’s south façade is conceived of as a billboard for passing traffic, giving both the building and primary tenant, Harvey Pediatrics, a strong presence and identity.  The cayenne form wraps the entire south side of the second level, which is lit from above with a skylight that stretches the length of the building.  A portal creates a drop of area for patients under the building.  Tenant spaces on either side of the pass-through are wrapped in glass, providing a connection with the surrounding landscape and a visual and material separation from the upper floor.

Entering the building from the portal, one ascends a stair that is embedded in the “foot” of the structure and arrives in a waiting room at the east end of the building.  Fins along the eastern glass wall guard the interior from excessive solar exposure.  The pop-up at the west end of the structure holds a mezzanine – a private break room for Dr. Harvey – with a wall of glass to the north, allowing light to wash the interior of the space and providing a visual connection to the sky.

Jury Comments:

  • The jury spent a good deal of conversation debating the typology of the program the design language of the architecture. Finally, we all agreed that places for children don’t need to pander to some adult’s notions of what is “child friendly”.
  • We applauded the bold forms and use of color, and the complete lack of candy colored spaces and cuteness that all too often exemplifies this building type.
  • The building instantly becomes a welcome fixture in a banal landscape of parking lots, wide treeless streets and forgetful sub-urban development. Its mere presence shifts the community design conversation to a higher plane, and becomes a clarion call for beautiful and contemporary design for all of us.


Hero’s Launch  
Architect: ARCH335 Design|Build Studio, Louisiana Tech University School of Design (Ruston, LA)

 Program Statement:  An ADA Accessible Canoe and Paddle boat launch designed specifically for a summer camp for children with various special needs and disabilities.  This project was designed to replace an existing floating dock structure at a summer camp for children with special needs. The existing facility was not suited for the loading and unloading of campers from their wheelchairs and lacked any storage space or protection from the sun and rain. The design draws inspiration from the epic novel structure of the hero’s journey. The camper’s journey begins on the “known” side of the camp where all other activities occur. But the act of crossing the bright red threshold, leaving the land and exploring the lake brings them into the “unknown” or wilderness side of the camp where they can explore the unfamiliar and begin to understand it. After their adventure, they return to the “known” side having gained new knowledge and confidence, a central goal of the camp experience for this population that is often withdrawn and isolated.  This facility features a CNC fabricated louver wall that reveals the gateway to the “unknown” through concentric ripples like those made by a drop in the water’s surface.  It also includes a custom paddleboat lift and swiveling transfer bench for simple and safe loading of the boats by the camp staff.  It also accommodates the storage of four canoes, two paddleboats as well as life jackets, paddles and other safety gear. With its prominent position on the water, this project is the beacon that calls the campers to begin their adventure, and the threshold they cross as they return as fearless heroes.

Jury Comments:

  • Another Jury favorite; some projects poke the imagination, some projects prod our intellect, some projects mystify and/or intrigue, and some projects tug at the heart. This is one of those.
  • While not the most elegantly detailed of the projects we reviewed, we all appreciated the simple material gestures, and bold formal moves of the Boat House.
  • Clearly done with modest budget and resources, none the less, the design team accomplished something of such humility, grace and charm that we all wanted to go for a boat ride with the team.


Larkin Gibbs Memorial Pavilion
Architect:  ARCH335 Design|Build Studio, Louisiana Tech University School of Design (Ruston, LA)

Program Statement:   The value of this humble pavilion is far larger than its physical size or budget. It was designed as a barrier free space large enough to accommodate the multiple daily gatherings at a summer camp facility for children with a variety of special needs. The goal was not only to accommodate gathering of 100+ people with up to half of them in wheelchairs, but also to capture the transformative nature of the summer camp experience for children who rarely find such opportunities for adventure and self-discovery.  This project serves its client as a catalyst that began an ongoing series of updates to this 1940s camp facility. In playing this role, the project was designed with the dual intent of providing the practical function of a new facility while also instantly merging with its surroundings to become inseparable from its site. The traditional summer camp experience is exceptionally transformative for this user group, and the design attempts to embody that experience in both practically and poetically. It frames the view of the camp’s lake, the gabion wall blocks road noise from the adjacent highway while also circulating water from a nearby pond. Closed and typical from the outside, as you approach the pavilion acts as a threshold into the camp. Once inside, campers experience the openness, energy and excitement camp. Inspiration was drawn from the idea of the Wizard of Oz, with the pavilion evoking the role of the tornado transporting the arriving campers from “Kansas” to “Oz”.

Jury Comments:

  • Yet another Jury favorite; clearly a labor of love, this project provides its community with a terrific new place of congregation.
  • Delicately sited at the edge of a pond, and hovering slightly above its surrounding landscape, the project uses only a handful of design moves to create an architecture of power and intrigue.
  • What feels like an assemblage of found materials, is also an intelligent and thoughtful application.
  • The Jury felt this project was crafted not built, in the best sense of the word.


A + M Residence (Mississippi)
Architect: archimania (Memphis, TN)

Program Statement: Sited in a cattle pasture in rural Mississippi, this house is a retreat for an active couple to escape busy city life. Appreciating the simple agrarian structures of the region, the clients requested a house that was simple and clean, yet tough and durable. The owners are avid chefs and enjoy outdoor activities like cooking, biking, swimming and dining. A linear bar forms the primary body of the house with its proportions intentionally exaggerated to create a long line when viewed from a distance. The simple form of the shed profile creates a gable when combined with the projection to the rear which frames the pool. The entry sequence begins with a courtyard that punctures the roof and is framed by the screen porch and carport. The screen porch, rear covered porch and the outdoor dining space extend the interior space for outdoor entertaining. Visitors enter into a gallery which continues outdoors under a deep overhang along the edge of the pool. The linear organization of the interior spaces allows the inhabitants to maintain a visual connection to the pastoral landscape from any room in the house. The location of the dog yard and laundry were integral to the design because of the large rescue animals the owners save. A centrally located storm room with concrete walls and ceiling offers a refuge during storms and doubles as a wine cellar. Clad in galvanized metal, the house reflects the changing colors of the sky and landscape and melds into the tall pasture grass much like the old barns of the region.

Jury Comments:

  • The project is a wonderful example of taking a familiar typology: the single family house, and speaking in an original voice for it.
  • Introduced through site plan and photographs, the house and landscape engage in a remarkable conversation of plane and object.
  • The reflective quality of the house cladding, create an environment where the big sky country of its surroundings become one with the house itself.
  • We could have gone on, but like the house itself,…less is more.


The Graphic House  
Architect: Marlon Blackwell Architects (Fayetteville, AR)

Program Statement:  The Graphic House is a single-family home for a middle income family of four that occupies a corner lot within a typical suburban neighborhood.  The “L” configuration keeps the house’s program on a single level, providing an accessible home for the family and simplifying the building’s organization. The plan arrangement frames the landscape behind the house and responds to both residential scales of the primary and secondary neighborhood streets. The second story loft creates a strong figure, a bold graphic, along the primary street edge, giving prominence to the house while respecting the scale of the neighboring homes.

The exterior carapace cladding is a distinctive rain screen system of scarfed end cedar siding, The cedar boards are stained charcoal black, bringing emphasis to the figure that seemingly floats above the concrete brick base of the house. The narrow height of the bricks and the raked horizontal joints complement the linearity of the house.

The floor plan has an open organization with a large painted, poplar-lined fireplace and storage piece separating the public from the private spaces. A skylight is cut directly above the finish face of the fireplace to articulate the undulation and movement of light on the textured surface throughout the day. The living room, kitchen, and dining room are defined by the birch veneered casework with intentionally exposed end-grain.

The graphic character of the landscape design complements the figural lines of the house. Like the composition of the house, the landscape is clearly delineated as it marks the entry sequence into the house and patio space behind the building, which serves as an extension of the living and dining rooms.

Jury Comments:

  • The project is another terrific example of taking a familiar typology: the single family suburban tract house, and creating it in an original and contemporary way.
  • Two long planes of brick and charcoal wood slide and step along the street frontage, giving hints of what lies behind.
  • A series of interior spaces that look inwards to a courtyard and outwards to the neighborhood are contained within these material planes. They provide an immensely intelligent and beautiful composition that effortlessly unfolds across the landscape.


The Bridge Elevator (Nashville, TN)
Architect: Hastings Architecture Associates, LLC (Nashville, TN)

Program Statement:  The Bridge Elevator stands as a vibrant beacon for the revitalization of Downtown Nashville connecting the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge with the Cumberland Play Park, Nissan Stadium, and greater East Nashville.

A longtime industrial thoroughfare, Nashville’s Cumberland River felt removed from Downtown despite its proximity. In 2007, the Nashville Riverfront Redevelopment designed a plan to revitalize the riverfront, providing new parks, attractions, greenway, and riverfront access to the public.

The John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge serves as the primary route for walking, running and biking connecting Downtown Nashville and East Nashville, and offers spectacular views of the Cumberland River and city skyline. The Bridge Elevator resolves the long span of the bridge establishing a direct vertical connection between the bridge and the Cumberland Play Park.

The simple, elegant glass tower stands in contrast to the historic steel-truss bridge and emerges from the new play park’s trees and landscaping acting as a destination marker for the East Bank and Riverfront Redevelopment.

Jury Comments:

  • The jury felt that the architects took what could have been mundane and/or forgotten infrastructure and turned it into a brilliant landmark of the public realm.
  • This simple and strong form, clad in a rigorous, reductive cloak, and reimagined as day falls into night, through provocative and colorful lighting creates a powerful urban design statement.
  • We as a jury all shared, that is what we aspire to for our cities, and I for one would go out of my way to find this tower, and Instagram it with my friends & colleagues.



Woodard Residence (Memphis)
Architect: archimania (Memphis, TN)

Program Statement:  This urban residence is situated within a mixed-use development between the South Main Historic Arts District and the Mississippi River bluff. The small lot was carved from a recently completed development including a re-purposed warehouse into offices and four attached townhomes. The 3,750 sf. home consists of four levels – a ground floor garage/office, a second floor suite for the client’s mother and her caregiver, living and kitchen on the third, and a master suite on the fourth floor. The compact site exists between a railroad overpass to the North and an alley to the East, allowing shared vehicular access to the home. The overall massing is broken down using durable and low maintenance materials. A corten clad rectangular form rests atop a ground-face masonry base. The corten volume is further articulated with a series of large scale carves that form balconies and window openings that frame views. Planar elements clad in charcoal standing seam metal encase the circulation wing and fourth floor master suite and employ glass and charred wood infill. A large projection on the West is an external expression of the intersection between the main mass and circulation wing. Positioning the circulation wing perpendicular to the main volume maximizes the interior space, takes advantage of the triangular shaped lot and provides lateral stability for the four-story structure. This articulation of the mass mediates the various scales and materiality of the surrounding industrial context and allows the interior programmatic elements to be a clear expression on the exterior.

Jury Comments:

  • The jury felt that the architects took the age old real estate chestnut of “worst house on the best block”, and turned it inside out. Taking a challenging corner of land, and imagining it as a contemporary family home, was a stroke of creative inspiration.
  • What could have been a lesser exercise due to its location, has been rendered as a mature and powerful design.
  • The simple and confident form making, the sensuous and seductive cladding, combine together to provide us with a serious work of architecture and a beautiful house.


Ace Hotel New Orleans  
Architect: Eskew+Dumez+Ripple (New Orleans, LA)

Program Statement:  Program components include a 234-room boutique hotel, bar, restaurant, meeting spaces, and retail. A contemporary 4-story addition complements the original 9-story building, circa 1928, referencing the existing building through the use of hand-made brick masonry and cast stone cladding.

The project is punctuated with elements that recall images of New Orleans, such as a carriageway and courtyard, balcony gardens, and an eclectic collection of interior materials and furnishings.

Each hotel room pays tribute to the unique culture and history of the city, creating an authentic experience for guests.

A new rooftop pool deck and lounge sited atop the existing historic building features lush plantings and views of downtown.

Jury Comments:

  • This project is a terrific example of taking a familiar typology: a low rise hospitality project in an urban neighborhood, and doing it in a clear and original way.
  • The understated composition belies the rigor and intelligence that the design team brought to the table. Bold form making, highly rigorous façade patterning and fenestration and meticulous detailing all add up to a whole that is greater than the sum of the parts.
  • It is unusual that a companion to a more historical edifice emerges as the hero, and the older sibling becomes the citizen, but in this example just that has happened. The Statement of the new is far more important to the urban realm the history of the past.


Malibu House – Malibu, California
Architect: Michael Goorevich, AIA Architect with Brian Guizot, General Contractor (Nashville, TN)

Program  Statement: A south facing home overlooking the Pacific Ocean is reconfigured with the addition of a new pool, terrace, arbor and landscape.  A visual ‘frame’ for viewing the horizon, the project brings together light, shadow, water and sky in an effort to blur the distinctions between wet and dry, here and there, inside and outside, above and below.  In addition to the natural site, there was an ambition to create a construction that spoke to the regions architectural context.  Invoking the midcentury spirit of Craig Ellwood and the unabashed bravado of John Lautner, the new construction hovers above its hillside site as an assertive object and quite frame.  In this way we learned how to build next to the sea.

Jury Comments:

  • A simple sketch of framing the space between the house and the sea and sky beyond explain the idea with no more elaboration required.
  • The design consists of three simple moves, a parallel pool, a perpendicular deck, and an angular trellis to provide shade for the pool and terrace. Each design move was simple in idea, but gorgeously executed in detail.
  • All of the jurors wanted to take a swim here,…or at least be invited to enjoy a drink from the pool & terrace at the owner’s invitation!

Beechwood Village

Architect: modus studio (Fayetteville, AR)

Program Statement: Beechwood Village is a modern interpretation of a ‘cottage product’ typology providing student-focused multifamily living along a busy corridor and city trail near the southern gateway of the University of Arkansas. Inspired by the existing industrial nature of the 16 acres of Ozark valley in which it sits, the project captures the scale of both detached private homes and townhouse options while embodying sustainable and walkable goals for neighborhood development. The architecture is rooted in a site-driven, modern aesthetic that resonates with the mobile, intellectual, and global experiences of the student demographic within a 110-building master plan.

The ‘Urban House’ types were developed in a palette of common materials (cedar, stucco, fiber cement board lap siding and brick) for Beechwood Village to purposefully stray from the conventional preconceived aesthetics. The new designs are crafted in a modern architectural language derived from the industrial nature of the site (previously low-rent, small-footprint warehouses) and become a likely departure from the traditional architecture that college students experienced during adolescence. The urban house typology has been dubbed appropriately to distinguish the pedestrian-friendly location near the University of Arkansas core and city trail network, without sacrificing market expectations for parking.

Jury Comments:

  • The jury concurred that this project type is all too often done with the best of intentions and the worst of results; academic residences to house our next generation of thinkers, researchers and teachers is typically done on the cheap in both budget, design and ideas.
  • This particular project turns that conventional wisdom on its head. Bold in form making, careful in detailing, colorful in palette, and thoughtful in ideas, this project is a clarion call as to what we aspire to for these kinds of developments and creates an important urban design statement.

Hillary Rodham Clinton Children’s Library & Learning Center

Architect: Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects (Little Rock, AR)

Program Statement: This community-embedded, supportive learning center offers not only books, but also a performance space, a teaching kitchen, a greenhouse and vegetable garden, and an arboretum.

The Director of the Library System’s challenge was to create a playground without equipment, where nature and imagination combine to create grand adventures on a six acre natural site in the heart of the capital city.   A charette held with children uncovered a surprising result: their top desire wasn’t for the latest video games1 they were concerned about food security – they wanted to learn how to feed themselves. Children also wanted a place that was uplifting, inspirational, and full of natural light, while feeling safe and secure in an historically tough neighborhood.  They wanted a place that “lifted expectations”.

The site became an education experience, emphasizing teaching hands-on skills, such as gardening and food preparation.  The architecture’s inspiration is based on the “Hundred Acre Wood” childhood memories of many Arkansans, growing up in rural areas where playgrounds were really fields, creeks, utilitarian structures such as barns, sheds, and the constructed forts built by their own hands – something inner-city kids rarely experience; children created their own adventures1 The library acts as a large shed in the woods: its roof lifts to the sky as the site falls, sheltering spaces within while visually opening to the site’s restored ecosystem. The architecture speaks of sustainability (awarded LEED Gold) and the technical nature of construction, expressing all connections and systems, much like a child’s erector set or tinker toys.  The building is a teacher.

Jury Comments:

  • The Jury felt this project embodies the spirit of discovery, and offers lessons to all communities about how to create an environment where everyone can come together to share the essential of learning; to read and absorb.
  • A clearly expressed idea about building volume, sculptural roof plane, and relationship to the ground and water plane, the building is deeply rooted in its sense of place.
  • The material palette, fenestration composition, and delicacy of the structural detailing all add up to a handsome design and library.



Tobias Residence
Architect: archimania (Memphis, TN)

Program Statement: The attic of a home on the Historic Register was never planned as inhabitable space. The owner required an office with multiple large computer monitors and storage for books and files, a multi-functioned living/bedroom/bathroom space and a private outdoor cigar/wine respite. The vision translated into a kinetic wood sleeve inserted into to the existing 1920’s framing, amplifying the contrast between old and new. An ebony box of skateboard ramp material contains the functional elements of office and bathroom. The original structure was neither plumb nor level. A prefabricated system of oak panel of varying panel widths and depths was developed to interface between historic and modern elements and expedite the construction process. This established a rigor to the random window shapes and sizes. The entry begins the journey of a new material palette— limited to three materials and textures to establish a contrast of dynamic tactile quality. The addition of a skylight and absence of window treatments enhances visual interest as the natural light changes the overall experience as the day unfolds to night. Indirect LED ribbon lighting above and below the oak panel skin, and a recessed linear light running the extent of the box creates a surreal environment for overnight guests. The entry stair is lit with a ribbon light inserted into a perforated blackened steel handrail and begins the journey of materials, textures and light. The “Nest,” or cigar/wine balcony lightly touches the plaster of yesteryear. It provides fresh air and a bird’s eye view of the surrounding historic neighborhood

Jury Comments:

  • Much like the best of southern American literature; this story contains a secret.
  • The project is a fantastical retreat embedded within the renovation of a historic century single family home.
  • Notable for its reductive modernist moves; there is not a false stroke to be found.
  • A palette of pale wood and ebony wall surfaces, this private realm of a box within a box creates a striking interior environment.
  • The jury shared that it could almost smell the scent of cigars and hear the ice cubes tumbling around in glasses,…and that we’re all open to an invitation to visit in person should it be forthcoming.


May & Ellis Mixed-Use Development
Architect: Trapolin-Peer Architects (New Orleans, LA)

Program Statement: These two French Quarter buildings formerly housed a furniture store, with large, deep floorplates suited to furniture display and storage. To adapt these buildings for use as contemporary residences, the design needed to accommodate present life-safety code requirements, new building services, and a logical, clear plan with access to natural light. Twenty-five residential units were created with ground-floor commercial tenants by carving lightwells through the middle of each building. These carry light throughout the building, provide a convenient route for building services, and organize the plan with circulation at the center and residential units along the exterior of the building to capture natural light and views. The two buildings were combined into a single lot of record, allowing additional windows to puncture the wall above the roof of the shorter building, further brightening the interior spaces.

Great care was also taken to renovate the existing building structure including masonry and stucco repair, retention and repair of existing historic windows, and restoration of beadboard ceilings while introducing a contemporary language for the residential units.

Building amenities and a residential penthouse take their place toward the rear of the existing roofs to limit visual impact from the street and to preserve the historic character of New Orleans’ famed French Quarter neighborhood.

  • The reinvention of these two handsome but modest neighbors from commercial uses to residential quarters was expertly accomplished, and gives the street on which they reside more importance within the cityscape.
  • The careful restoration masks a skillfully and beautifully crafted environment for multi-family housing. The intervention of the light wells transformed the existing massing, and created attractive new internal courtyards.
  • The jury felt that this project was not only a well-executed repurpose and restoration of the original buildings, it’s a handsome example of “reimagining” the past into a vital and relevant present.


Office 1011
Architect: modus studio (Fayetteville, AR)

Program Statement: Office 1011 cultivates the urban edge of ‘A’ Street in an area on the cusp of the burgeoning downtown Bentonville, Arkansas. The new Class A office building provides modern, open workspace that strays from the norms of Northwest Arkansas’ commercial space, such that the building form is a purposeful billboard for the creative companies within. The fresh open structure amplified with extensive windows and articulated by the dark gray brick used in both running bond and soldier stack orientations provides a unique and subtle texture that meets the city design requirements for performance in a strikingly modern format.

Jury Comments:

  • What could have easily been a forgotten project type: the low-rise speculative office building, is realized in such a clear and thoughtful way, that the project elevates the typology along with everything around it.
  • Handsome, economical, and full of delight, the building is a welcome addition to its community.
  • The Jury felt this the project is a hopeful harbinger of what young development and design teams may create for us, and we look forward for more to come.



Mask House
Architect: Hastings Architecture Associates, LLC (Nashville, TN)

Program Statement: The 6,500-square-foot single-story home was conceived as two distinct and opposing experiences: the MASK acts as a protective veil, projecting one sensibility, while protecting another.

Eschewing typical residential forms and elements, the motor court and front façade project monumentality and formalism to suggest distance between owner and visitor. Expansive planes of layered materials vary in color, texture and scale suggest distance between owner and visitor.

A 160-foot-long by 16-foot-wide cast-in-place concrete wall establishes a MASK along the north façade. The home is further veiled by a row of weathering-steel panels which play with the perception of solid and void, lightness and solidity, and function as a screen to obscure the few points of visual connection between interior and exterior. From this sheltered space, a thin slot opens in the façade revealing the entry.

Once inside, however, visitors are welcomed to a bright and open interior organized around hearth room that opens onto a covered living area before spilling out into the landscaped courtyard.  From the sheltered vantage of the courtyard, the openness and transparency of the interior facing elevations stand in stark contrast to the outward facing elevations. As one moves through the home, the initial impression of a formal architecture gives way to a casual, generous residence, thereby completing the MASK concept.

Jury Comments:

  • This project is a clear example of interpreting a familiar typology in an original and delightful voice.
  • The diagrams and supporting materials were thoughtfully orchestrated, leaving the jury with the sense that the owner and architect were clearly in sync.
  • The simple idea of a house being spatially layered from the public to the private is handsomely executed in this project. This layering is thoughtfully executed in the three primary environments, the entry auto-court provides a transition zone from the public realm,…the concrete walls and Corten steel “mask” mark the moment of public to private transition, and then the house gathers around a courtyard where the transitions from inside to outside are gently blurred.


Fayetteville High School
Architect: Hight Jackson Associates, PA and DLR Group with Marlon Blackwell Architects (Fayetteville, AR)

Program Statement: The new Fayetteville High School was built in two phases and ultimately totaled over half a million square feet, becoming the largest civic project in Fayetteville in the last 50 years. The first phase houses new administration, cafeteria, performing arts, and athletic facilities. The second phase houses primarily classrooms, labs, and a media center, allowing for the integration of 9th grade students.

The existing school was a conglomeration of numerous buildings without an identity. The new High School presents a unified design, embracing its role in the community and the public at large, negotiating between downtown Fayetteville and the Ozarks beyond. Using a material palette of box-ribbed metal panels, and locally-quarried stone, a less expensive cladding system than brick, the High School now has a unified identity and civic presence.

Serving both an educational and a community role, the new high school features greatly simplified circulation and improved security built around a public Entry Plaza and a pedestrian Green Street, which mediates between the first and second phase and the 85 foot change in topography across the site. The Entry Plaza is flanked by the most public aspects of the school, the competition gymnasium and the performing arts, illustrating the relationship of the school to the community. The fly loft is abstracted into a beacon for the school, emblazoned with the school’s initials and illuminated at night

Jury Comments:

  • This project is a standard bearer of interpreting an all too familiar typology of what is often mediocre architecture with a design voice that is handsome, economical and confident.
  • The orchestration of building new, decanting old and replacing is always a design challenge, and often the results are less than satisfying. This project is an example of how to do this just right.
  • Not bowing to likely community pressure to create a simulacrum of the past, the design team has delivered us all a vital example of how to provide a stimulating space for our youth to be educated.
  • The Jury all remarked that we wished that we had all had the good fortune to have been schooled in such a beautiful and contemporary place.



Teatro Santander
(San Paulo, Brazil)
Architect: Eskew+Dumez+Ripple (New Orleans, LA)

Program Statement: The new multi-venue performing arts theatre in Sao Paulo, Brazil, includes a new 1,200 seat theatre designed to support a variety of live music, dance and theatrical performances with multiple theatre seating arrangements that include proscenium, thrust, and surround stage configurations. In addition, the theatre can be configured to provide an open, flat floor room with up to 8,400 square feet (780 square meters) of usable space to support fashion shows, corporate functions and hospitality events.

In addition to the primary theater space, the project includes a 300 seat, flat floor cabaret theatre that will support more intimate musical performances along with lectures, symposia, hospitality and corporate events. Located above the primary theater volume, the space is designed with an expansive window wall located immediately behind the stage, providing spectacular city views of Sao Paulo as a backdrop to performances and special events.

Jury Comments:

  • This project is notable for the clarity and spare strokes of its modernism which counterintuitively results in a richly dynamic spatial experience.
  • A palette of reductive & bold surfaces set within a material field of pale stone, charcoal steel and warm wood creates a striking interior environment.
  • The theater employs a bold pattern of concentric geometric shells which organize the program functions into a series of grand spaces. Each one setting up the experience of the subsequent one.
  • Unlike it’s forebear of the Paris Opera House, this performance space, relies not on ornament and ormolu but rather on surface and plane to set the stage for a richly rewarding experience.

800 Magazine
Architect: Trapolin-Peer Architects (New Orleans, LA)

Program Statement: The building was originally constructed circa 1844 as a Livery and Undertaker’s establishment. It was here that the body of Jefferson Davis was prepared for lying at Gallier Hall. Over the years, the structure underwent significant architectural and structural changes. Most of its ornate stucco and brick work was removed, its prominent covered gallery was lost, and it gained an unsightly third floor. The original stable openings on the ground floor were infilled and the building suffered extensive settlement and termite damage. The program involved restoring the exterior of the building back to its 1880’s condition while developing the interior as a modern multi-use and residential building.

The building is now a series of two-story townhouse-style apartments on the second and third floors with a mix of retail on the ground floor. The design for the apartments is spacious and modern with large terraces and luxurious interiors, yet it still calls attention to the historic nature of the building through exposing original ceiling joists, beams, columns, and exterior brick walls. Salvaging materials from the building itself were used in the renovation such as the wood flooring, stair treads, and decorative wood and steel elements.

This renovation, including the ground floor tenant spaces, qualified and received Federal and State Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits

Jury Comments:

  • The jury felt that this project was exemplary as an exercise in being a palimpsest of the built environment. Carefully peeling of layers upon layers of past alterations, and restoring and recreating the heritage of what had come before is a bold and unexpected result.
  • We commend the design and development team for having the courage to unearth this jewel of a building from a forgotten past, and for bring it back for the community today.
  • Meticulous research, exacting detailing and fortitude in the financial real estate realm and public planning process, resulted in a project that will be cherished by generations yet to come.


Redeemer Presbyterian Church
Architect: archimania (Memphis, TN)

Program Statement: This is the long-awaited new home of a Midtown Presbyterian church. Since its founding, the congregation has worshiped in a school auditorium, away from its office in a leased tenant space. The congregation purchased a small 1960s building in Midtown that once served as a shelter for battered women. To meet their modest budget, we concentrated the budget on the worship space and the building’s exterior relationship to the street, making minimal improvements to back-of-house spaces.

On the exterior, a simple treatment of paint, the addition of a weathering steel parapet and low site wall bounding a street-side outdoor gathering space, and a new large window to the streetscape generate an active presence on Cooper. It welcomes visitors as the gathering space and window draws the activity within to the street.

Inside, one enters beneath a low ceiling of acoustical, highly textural tectum panels before the space opens up to deck, maximizing the height of the low structure. North-facing light monitors populate the space, emphasizing the feeling of height and affording glimpses of sky and natural light to every member of the congregation. The low tectum ceiling returns at the stage, accentuating the pulpit with a single penetration of natural light. A language of sealed MDF ‘light-givers’ populates the space: the window boxes filter light from the southern openings, the simple handmade light fixtures activate the tectum ceiling, and the light monitor liners funnel natural light to the congregation. These strategies work together to heighten the worship experience.

Jury Comments:

  • The jury felt that this project took a familiar typology of a neighborhood parish church, employed the renovation of a non-descript commercial building as the bones of the structure, and created a project of vision and beauty that speaks with a truly original voice.
  • A careful, subtle layering of material and spatial moves transform the commercial building into a place of worship; beginning at the sidewalk, the designers introduced cobbled pavers to mark transition and threshold, they added Corten steel panels to reconceived the façade with simple planes and raw materials in lieu of finely wrought ornament, and finally they reimagined the alter itself by cladding the rear wall of the room in the material of the cross; raw, unfinished wood. This project is a gorgeous, transformational example of the profane becoming the sacred.
  • The jury felt this was an extraordinary example of the most dramatic transformation with the least number of design moves. Brilliant architecture on a budget that everyone can afford.


Louisiana State Museum and Sports Hall of Fame
Architect: Trahan Architects (New Orleans, LA)

Program Statement:  A museum that brings together two programs, sports and regional history.  Our exploration focuses on three questions. How does our design explore the client’s needs to exhibit sports and history simultaneously? How does it respond to the historic building fabric? How does it make a connection to context?

Our resolution is, first, to understand athletics as a component of cultural history rather than an independent theme. While sports and regional history may appeal to very different groups, the building configuration explores interconnections between the two.

Second, historical pastiche is set aside in favor of a design language that responds to site. The internal organization is an extension of the existing meandering urban circulation, while the design mediates the scale and character of the historic commercial core and adjacent residential neighborhood. The “simple” exterior, clad with pleated copper panels, alludes to the shutters and clapboards of nearby plantations, contrasting with and complementing the curvaceous interior within.

Third, the design reflects the carving of the ancient river whose fluvial geomorphology inspired the interior form. The dynamic foyer is sculpted out of 1,150 cast stone panels, seamlessly integrating all systems and washed with natural light from above. The cool white cast stone references bousillage – the historic material used by 17th century settlers of the region, consisting of horse hair, earth and Spanish moss. At the climax of the upper level, the path arrives at a veranda overlooking the city square further connecting the interior to the public realm.

Jury Comments:

  • The jury felt that this project is an exemplary design that speaks in a fresh and original voice. It bears no resemblance to anything else, it is truly one of a kind.
  • What resonates about the project is the extreme duality of the program and the formal architecture of the design solution. A fearlessly reductive outer shell is sheathed in a veil of taught louvers. This Spartan ensemble contains an orifice that channels the visitor to a meandering and mysterious series of processional paths and galleries. They are rendered in an organic spatial language that feels like the internal organs of some great mythic creature.
  • The project is truly a fantastical adventure; one that the jury welcomed being taken along for the journey.


The Honor Awards were presented at the AIA Gulf States Region reception in Orlando in conjunction with AIA’s National Conference on Architecture.



More Information, contact: Sheila Leggett /AIA Gulf States Region/615-254-1233/