Learn more about the 2019 AIA Colorado Design Awards from the co-chairs themselves. We recently chatted with Julianne Scherer, AIA, managing principal/associate vice president of HDR Denver and Danny Nelson, AIA, project architect at Tryba Architects about their interest in the design awards, the committee’s work this year and what innovative design means for Colorado.

Why did you apply to serve as the chair of this year’s Design Awards Committee?

Julianne Scherer

Julianne Scherer

Julianne: The impact design has on the built environment lasts for generations.  It is my professional duty to be actively engaged in my profession. I am passionate about design and believe everyone deserves great design.

Danny: Because I was involved in the same committee last year, I wanted to serve in a different capacity. I had the opportunity to express my opinions and be heard on last year’s committee, so I wanted to help lead the group this year, in order to provide new members with the opportunity to be heard. I think consistency year-to-year is highly important for the Design Awards Committee and the Design Awards process, but the best way to continually improve is to welcome new opinions. I hope to continue to make improvements to the Design Awards process so that more members of our design community can receive the recognition that is deserved for the great and diverse body of work that is being built in the state of Colorado.

What is different about the awards this year?

Julianne: There are more members on the committee this year, therefore multiple perspectives to consider as we built consensus towards the outcomes of the committee.

Danny: The award categories have been refined and simplified, as described in detail below. The overarching goals behind the revisions are to encourage submissions from all chapter members and to recognize a diverse range of project types. Judging criteria for the awards have also been refined in order to emphasize the importance of conveying the vision and telling the story in the project submission. Submitters should not view the judging and evaluation criteria as a checklist, but instead as guiding thoughts and considerations to help submissions convey the vision and successes of the projects.

Danny Nelson

Danny Nelson

How did the committee choose the various project types and award categories that are available for the 2019 program?

Julianne: The categories are more inclusive to allow for all building types, budgets and design typologies.

Danny: The committee strove to refine and simplify the project categories in an effort to encourage submissions focused not on project type or program, but instead on quality architectural design. This resulted in reducing the number of project categories and instead allow for classifications by size. As all entries are evaluated individually, and the goal is to provide recognition for all types of projects: large, small, public, private, etc.

In your opinion, how do the AIA Colorado Design Awards benefit the profession of architecture?

Julianne: Recognizing the quality work in our state is important to the profession because architecture can be so diverse. The members are recognized by their peers which is an honor. Keeping the architecture profession at the forefront in design will accentuate that it should not be commoditized.

Danny: The AIA Colorado Design Awards benefit the profession and the Colorado members by promoting and encouraging excellent work. Recognizing successful projects continually pushes us all to create better work, which elevates the work  within our AIA chapter. The AIA Colorado Design Awards benefit the public by encouraging AIA Colorado members to continually strive to create better work, bettering our cities and society as a whole.

Based on your experience, what makes for a really excellent award submittal?

Julianne: Clear concise story telling that showcases the value of the design to the human spirit and the built environment.

Danny: In my opinion, the project submission needs to focus on conveying the vision and telling the story of the project. The submittal package should be clear and concise, and graphically strong so that it is easy to read and understand (visually see) the strengths of the project.