Daily Memphian

By Tom Bailey Published: April 07, 2019 7:36 AM CT

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Firms that designed a distillery Downtown, a school in Crosstown and a new physicians’ office in Bartlett won the highest honors in the 2019 AIA Memphis Design Awards.

A panel of judges from Richmond, Virginia, awarded nine of 48 submissions in this year’s architectural design awards organized by the Memphis chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

The presentations were made Saturday night at the annual gala held this year at Ballet Memphis.

AIA Memphis also inaugurated three new types of honors. They are service awards called the President’s Award, Member Service Award and Firm Service Award.

“I think the quality was very high,” Richmond architect Danny MacNelly said of the winning designs picked by the judging panel. Lori Garrett, senior principal with Glave & Holmes Architecture in Richmond, chaired the judging panel. MacNelly, a partner with ARCHITECTUREFIRM in Richmond, was to make the presentations at the gala.

The highest level of design award is the Honor Award of Excellence, the middle level is the Merit Award and a Citation is the third level. Submissions are made in one of three categories: New construction; renovation, restoration, rehabilitation; and interiors.

Honor Award recipients are:

Old Dominick Distillery, a renovation/restoration by Looney Ricks Kiss.

“I thought it was really nice layering of old and new material,” MacNelly said of the Old Dominick space. “A great richness and texture that everybody on the jury responded to. It felt clean, they way they opened up the space. You got a sense of the process of making whiskey.”

Crosstown High School, an interior project within Crosstown Concourse by ANF Architects.

“We were impressed with the way that was programmed,” MacNelly said. “A high school fit into a warehouse. They created precincts and a campus inside the building, and coated it with color and shapes.

“All those nooks tucked away. I think we were all impressed with how well thought out it was.”

And Bartlett Orthopedic Center, new construction designed by archimania.

“I think we were all struck by how well executed that was,” MacNelly said, citing the detailing, materials and space.

“… It’s a suburban office park. Those are not always the best breeding grounds for great architecture. But I think this was a very well-executed version of that. Clean and thoughtful. Natural light. Light wells with trees in them. It felt like a great place to go to work and even go to visit.”

Merit Award winners are: Visible Music College Student Studios, new construction designed by archimania; Hotel Napoleon, a renovation/restoration designed by UrbanARCH Associates; and Mama Gaia restaurant, an interior space designed by archimania in Crosstown Concourse (the same space has since become the Saucy Chicken restaurant).

Citation winners are: The James Lee House, a renovation/restoration designed by Fleming Architects; O’More Designer Show House, new construction designed by Looney Ricks Kiss; and Meritan, an interior designed by archimania.

“I think we came out with a pretty good group of awarded projects,” said MacNelly. The other two Richmond judges were Bob Steele of BOB Architecture and Nick Cooper of HKS Richmond.

“The number of submissions is also a lot for what we’ve seen in other jurisdictions,” he said.

The inaugural President’s Award was given to Charles “Chooch” Pickard in recognition of his service and leadership in connecting the architecture profession with neighborhoods that can use some help.

Pickard, a principal with ArchInc, started the Memphis/Shelby County Community Leaders Summit, according to a press release from AIA Memphis. The summit is an AIA Memphis program in which neighborhood leaders work with architects for a day to explore neighborhood challenges and learn how to use design-thinking for improving communities.

The inaugural Member Service Award was given to Valentina Cochran, also a principal with ArchInc. Cochran has a long history of applying design-thinking to help nonprofits and “rolling up her sleeves to serve those in need,” the AIA Memphis release states.

And the first-ever Firm Service Award was presented to HBG Design for the way it gives back to the community, the release states. HBG Design established in 2018 the Kirk Bobo Impact Grant, which supports community revitalization through design-thinking and hands-on service. The first grant recipient was Heights Community Development Corp.

Also Saturday night, previously announced award recipients were recognized. Josh Flowers of HBG Design received the Francis Gassner Award, Jason Jackson of brg3s architects received an AIA Young Architects Award, and Jimmie Tucker of Self+Tucker Architects has become the newest AIA Memphis member to be named a national AIA fellow.