AIAGV names unbuilt award to debut at ArtPrize

September 17, 2010
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When the Grand Valley Chapter of the American Institute of Architects holds its annual Honor Awards ceremony Saturday evening during the first weekend of ArtPrize, a new “unbuilt” award will pay tribute to one of the city’s most prolific architectural firms.

The ceremony will mark the first time AIAGV honors a project that has been designed but not built, and the first time the honors ceremony has been scheduled during ArtPrize.

“We ended up naming the award after Osgood & Osgood,” said Greg Metz, a principal in Lott3Metz Architecture and 2010 AIA Michigan director, who is heading up this year’s ceremony. “Osgood & Osgood has a great long history in Grand Rapids.”

According to Rebecca Smith Hoffman, principal of Past Perfect Inc., the father-and-son team of Sidney J. Osgood and S. Eugene Osgood “executed over 200 hundred commissions nationwide over the 76 years of their combined careers,” which began in 1876 and lasted until 1952. A few of the more noteworthy structures designed by Osgood & Osgood are the Keeler Building at 245 S. Division Ave., the Monument Square Building at 11 Sheldon Blvd. NE, and the Wolverine Brass Factory at 648 Monroe Ave. NW.

“(Sidney) Osgood’s first large commission came in 1888, when his plans for the Kent County Courthouse were accepted. It was dedicated in 1892. It was an early example of the Richardsonian Romanesque style in West Michigan. This successful building led directly to other courthouse commissions in Allegan, Mason, St. Joseph and Muskegon counties,” said Smith Hoffman of the courthouse that eventually was demolished by the city despite strong public opposition.

“The design of churches became an Osgood specialty during the early part of (Sidney’s) career. His ability to create imposing yet modestly priced structures made him a popular architect with the Dutch congregations and he became the master of the wood Queen Anne style church. Osgood also designed a number of Queen Anne houses in the Heritage Hill Historic District during the 1880s,” she added.

Sidney Osgood died in 1935. Eugene Osgood continued as a solo practitioner until his death in 1952.

Metz said the idea behind holding the AIA Grand Valley 2010 Honor Awards during the second annual ArtPrize is to gain more exposure for the work of local architects — and, hopefully, more work for local architects. Saturday’s event will take place from 6-10 p.m. at 38 Commerce Ave. SE. The designs submitted by member firms will remain on display there for the duration of ArtPrize, which runs through Oct. 7.

In addition to the Osgood Award, which is being sponsored by Rockford Construction, AIAGV will honor works for building design, interior architecture, sustainable design, regional and urban design, small commercial design, historic preservation and adaptive reuse, and residential design. An award also will be given to the year’s outstanding Young Architect and the David D. Smith Humanitarian Award will go to someone outside of the field but who has made a contribution to it and the region.

“I just want to promote Grand Rapids,” said Metz of why he linked the Honor Awards with ArtPrize. “I just want to promote West Michigan.”

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