AIAGV cites FTCH for initial unbuilt award

October 4, 2010
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The Grand Valley Chapter of the American Institute of Architects recently recognized and celebrated the work of its members and also named Sara VanderVeen as the area’s Young Architect of the Year at its recent Honor Awards ceremony.

“I’m delighted to be recognized and I’m really proud to have that honor from our local chapter. I’m very appreciative of being selected. It means a lot to me,” said VanderVeen.

VanderVeen plies her craft at Progressive AE and has been with the firm for a little more than three years. She is a project manager and has worked on an array of design efforts including educational buildings, medical facilities, offices and showrooms.

“I work on a variety of projects. I don’t have a strong specialty in one type of project,” she said.

VanderVeen earned bachelor degrees in architecture and environmental science from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind. She came to Progressive AE from TMP Architecture in Portage. “But I started my career in Nashville by working down there for about eight months even before I finished school. And I was in Columbus, Ohio, for about my first three years or so out of school.”

VanderVeen became the second female to win the chapter’s coveted Young Architect award. Gina Paul was the first woman to accomplish that feat in 1994. Today, Paul is a project manager at Integrated Architecture.

The chapter’s very first Osgood & Osgood Award, which honors the top design for a project that hasn’t yet been built, went to Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr and Huber. The architectural and engineering firm designed the Great Lakes Research Center for Michigan Tech University in Houghton. The three-story, 50,000-square-foot building will serve as a fresh water research laboratory that also will have a component that reachs out to the public.

“They’re trying to have a vehicle that will help the public understand the issues that are facing the Great Lakes and understand the research that Michigan Tech and other universities are doing. There are some really nice public spaces and some really nice conferencing facilities where they intend to host some major research conferences about fresh water systems,” said Dave Clark, FTCH senior architect, who directs the firm’s architectural design division.

Construction on the building has just begun and is expected to be complete in spring 2012. Clark said the firm and his design team were delighted to be the first to win the inaugural award for an unbuilt project.

“It’s a really nice feeling, a special feeling. It’s quite an honor to be the first recipient of that award and was very thoughtful. We appreciate the gesture very much,” he said.

James VanderMolen and Steve Fridsma of Elevate Studio were awarded honorable mention status in the Osgood & Osgood category for their design of the Atlantic City Boardwalk Holocaust Memorial.

The Sustainable Design Honor Award went to Integrated Architecture for the Peckham Greenhouse in Lansing. The building is the new corporate headquarters for Peckham Inc., a nonprofit manufacturer that provides occupational training to persons with the type of disabilities that normally would prevent them from being employed.

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AIAGV’s Sustainable Design Honor Award went to Integrated Architecture for the Peckham Greenhouse in Lansing.

The Integrated Architecture design added another 189,000 square feet to an existing nine-year-old, 140,000-square-foot warehouse. The building received LEED Silver certification, only the fourth structure of its type to gain that designation in the state.

Peckham was named the manufacturer of the year in Michigan.

“For me, personally, the process we went through was very rewarding. We had initial town hall meetings with all of their clients, which were hundreds of people of varying abilities all coming together to talk about what workspace and a workplace should be like. The comments ranged from drinking fountains that had orange juice coming out of them to moving sidewalks to lots of natural light,” said Scott Vyn, a senior designer at Integrated Architecture who manages the firm’s design team.

“Having a large group come together and talk about cultural differences and physical differences and barriers in the workplace, and then working with the Peckham leadership to learn how their workspace should be receptive to all their clients was a really rewarding process for us to be a part of,” Vyn added.

“I think a lot of architects would like to imbed a lot of that kind of thought into every project, but (to do that) you really need a client that has strong values and wants to talk about those at the beginning to allow it to drive through (the process).”

URS Corp. and Progressive AE received honorable mention awards in the sustainable design category for the Lemmen Holton Cancer Pavilion and the Steelcase WorkLab, respectively. Progressive AE also won the Interior Architecture Honor Award for its design of the Steelcase project. Integrated Architecture achieved honorable mention status in the interior classification for its work on the Global Forex Trading Headquarters.

An Honor Award wasn’t given in the Built category, but Cornerstone Architects and URS Corp. were given honorable mention awards in that category. Cornerstone won for the Herbert H. and Barbara C. Dow Center for the Visual Arts in Interlochen. URS won for its design work in the East Grand Rapids Public Schools system.

An Honor Award wasn’t given in the Historic Preservation category, either, but FTCH earned honorable mention for the renovation of Graves Hall at Hope College.

The chapter honored Ben Emdin and Bert Bleke with its David Smith Humanitarian Award. Emdin was CFO for Grand Rapids Public Schools for three years. He retired from that post in 2005 and became the executive director of the Early Childhood Children’s Commission of Kent County. Bleke was GRPS superintendent from 2002 to 2006. He was elected to the Michigan Association of School Administrators Hall of Fame in 2007 and became the interim president of the Heart of West Michigan United Way last April.

“Ben and Bert were chosen for their involvement with the GRPS $165 million bond project, of which $150 million was dedicated to construction. So they were chosen by the selection committee because of the impact they have had on the Grand Rapids’ built environment,” said Lindsay Anes, public relations director for AIAGV, in an e-mail to the Business Journal.

“Another accomplishment the duo worked hard to create was establishing the Academy of Design and Construction. This program allows construction managers, contractors and architects from around West Michigan to mentor students,” added Anes, who is also director of business development at Owen-Ames-Kimball Co.

Greg Metz received the chapter’s Extraordinary Service Award. Metz, a partner with Ted Lott in Lott3Metz Architecture, was AIAGV president last year and is on the Michigan AIA board of directors this year. Metz was instrumental in having the chapter’s Honor Awards ceremony held during the ArtPrize competition. Work that has been done by the chapter’s members will be on display at 38 Commerce Ave. SW, the location of the awards ceremony, through the duration of ArtPrize, which ends Oct. 10.

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