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Awards Program 2023 Media Release

Traction Architecture wins the H. Dean Rowe, FAIA Award for Design Excellence for their renovation of the Sunrise House and Steve Lafferty, AIA Receive Top Honors from AIA Tampa Bay at Celebrate Design

21 people, firms and projects honored for excellence in design and service to community

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St. Petersburg (Nov. 2, 2023) – The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Tampa Bay Chapter named 21 recipients of its highest annual awards, the Honor and Design Awards, at the Celebrate Design awards reception on Thursday, November 2nd at The Coliseum in St. Petersburg. ­The awards were presented by AIA Tampa Bay President, Jonathan Moore, AIA and Sean Daly, a reporter from ABC Action News. ­­AIA Tampa Bay honors architects, philanthropists, public servants, and organizations that are committed to improving communities through design excellence.

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The top individual honor, the Medal of Honor was presented to Steve Lafferty, AIA. ­Steve joined the AIA in 1986.­ He served as AIA Tampa Bay President in 1994.­ He was an effective leader, recruiting many influential architects to also serve.­ He launched a robust communications program that received national recognition from AIA. He has worked in a non-traditional career path as owner’s rep, influencing more than 20 award-winning projects.­ He has led the effort to have more than 150 AIA members and professionals trained as post-disaster Safety Assessors.­ In his role at USF Facilities, he utilized 4 active projects at USF to teach students.­ They were invited to tour the construction site and learn how the building was constructed.

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The highest Design Award, the H. Dean Rowe, FAIA Award for Design Excellence, was awarded to Traction Architecture for the Sunrise House. The jury selected the project for its innovative architectural design, sustainability, commitment to education, and excellence in landscape design.­ The jury commented that this project is a wonderful resurrection of a classic and it transforms to a light-filled vessel that reaffirms the original intent of mid-Century architecture and design. The renovation feels light-handed, yet completely transformative. The floor plan shows fluid circulation and strong site lines with beautiful and balanced daylighting. Complete with collaborating furnishings, furniture and details, the house enjoys views and light from all spaces.

The AIA Tampa Bay Honor Awards also recognized 8 people and firms for outstanding accomplishments and service to the architecture profession and the community:
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  • President’s Award: Pete Karamitsanis, AIA
  • Pullara Award: Jerel McCants, AIA from JMA Architecture for his exemplary service to the chapter, the community and profession of architecture.
  • Kelley Emerging Professional Award: Arsenio Guillermo, Assoc. AIA for his work in championing the causes and issues that are important to Associate members and young architects.
  • Award of Excellence: Ashly Anderson for her outstanding contributions to our community’s built environment and AIA Tampa Bay.
  • Artisan Award: Specialized Services Group, LLC for outstanding workmanship and craftsmanship on the historic St. Pete High School.
  • Allied Member Award: Mark Borosch Architectural Photographer for his service to the chapter and promotion of the value of AIA and the architecture profession.
  • Contractors Award: MVH Construction ­for their genuine commitment to outstanding workmanship and craftsmanship.
  • Firm of the Year: Baker Barrios – for their efforts and contributions to the architectural community over the past few years
  • Award Design: Juan Ricardes, Intl Associate AIA – honored for designing the custom awards presented to honorees.

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The Eduardo Garcia Award was presented to Alex Atwood, AIA.­ The annual award is offered to architects 40 or younger, registered 10 years or less and recognizes exemplary design talent, passion, and dedication; qualities for which Eduardo Garcia was known.

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This year’s design award jurors were from Colorado, Brad Tomacek, Scott Linenau, and Renee del Gaudio. Criteria considered by the jurors included design quality, program resolution, innovation, thoughtfulness, and technique.­ They awarded 7 out of 81 project entries granting an Honor or Merit Award.­

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Merit Awards recognize projects that demonstrate a commitment to excellence in architectural design and were presented to:
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Wannemacher Jensen’s project, City of Miami Beach Fire Station won a Merit award for Sustainability. Winning projects exemplify the AIA Framework for Design Excellence.

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An Honor Award in the Sustainability Category was awarded to St. Armands Parking Garage by SOLSTICE Planning and Architecture.

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The People's Choice award, with more than 1,350 appreciations on Behance, was A Chapel of Hope by Alan Zreik. People’s Choice entries are posted on Behance and the community voted for its favorite throughout the month of October.

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Also unveiled at the event was a short video on the AIA Tampa Bay new Center for Architecture & Design which opened in May of this year, marking a milestone achievement for the organization.­


Allied member and Architectural Photographer Mark Borosch generously provided photography of the event.­ His images from the awards ceremony can be viewed here.

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To view a video of the 2023 award ceremony presentation, please see AIA Tampa Bay’s YouTube channel here. ­

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AIA Tampa Bay

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) is the professional association for architects and those in the architecture field. AIA Tampa Bay is the regional chapter representing approximately 750 members in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Polk, Hernando, Citrus, Sumter and Pasco Counties. The AIA provides programs and services including educational programs, design competitions, community service programs and serves as the united voice of the architecture profession. The regional chapter office is located in the Center for Architecture & Design, 1208 North Howard Avenue in West Tampa.

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