- About AAO
The AIA Collaborative Achievement Award is presented to organizations that advance the field of architecture. The 2010 honors went to the Alaska Design Forum (ADF). The jury was impressed with ADF’s caliber of speakers and the scale of impact. AAO asked representatives from AIA's awards jury and from the recipient organization to share some additional thoughts.
Juror Peter Steinbrueck, FAIA, notes that the programming of the Alaska Design Forum is particularly impressive considering the remoteness of their location. With the closest architecture school 1500 miles away, ADF plays an important role in providing educational opportunities. As Steinbrueck points out, "ADF is a remarkable organization in how it ties together communities despite distance." They reach a vast audience by holding programs in three cities: Juneau, Anchorage, and Fairbanks.
“In Anchorage we work out of the Anchorage Museum where our lectures are held (at the new expansion by David Chipperfield)," comments ADF President Klaus Mayer. "But in Fairbanks our lectures are held at the saloon, which, drinks aside, a lot of people actually like best in terms of the setting. And then in Juneau, we meet at a place called the Silverpool Bakery. It’s a different way of getting out there beyond just the architecture crowd… the audience is about half architects and half general public: artists, graphic designers, and interested people.”
ADF effectively brings people together from various disciplines to create inspiring results. "The Freeze Project: A Month Long Celebration of Alaska and Life in the North" is one example. Artists, architects, and designers got together to create large-scale outdoor installations that celebrate the northern environment.
Another aspect of the ADF that stood out to the jurors was the ability to achieve a lot with limited resources. Because it is a small all-volunteer organization, it is essential to team up with other players to make the most of resources. In the past, they’ve collaborated with the Anchorage Museum, the University, and the International Gallery for Contemporary Art, to name a few.
They’ve also published multiple books about the region’s architecture, including Modern North and True North. Clearly this method of communication works well for reaching audiences across the vast area that is Alaska. When asked what advice he’d offer to fellow AAO members, Klaus replied “You have to tap into what is specific to your place to make it meaningful.”
For questions or more information, contact Klaus at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Know of someone who deserves next year's award? Nominate them by October 8, 2010.