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AIA Awards Suggest Local Talent is Building Stuff Elsewhere

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Despite what armchair urban designers say, noteworthy architecture is alive and well in Atlanta and beyond. The Georgia Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) [full disclosure: this author is a member] recently recognized local firms and projects at an annual soiree. An opportunity for the state's architects to be self-congratulatory, the awards "recognize design excellence for private and public projects of quality, and honor works of distinction." Georgia had an impressive showing, with all 18 awards going to firms within the state. However, only a dozen — possibly a baker's dozen, as one of the recognized projects is listed as super-secret "confidential location" — projects were actually located within the Peach State. It seems someone left the gate open and our local talent has spread their skills around the country.

Within metro Atlanta, projects new and old received love, with civic institutions — including art museums, a library and a school — taking a majority of the awards. Among them, Gallery 72 and the Zuckerman Museum of Art, both by Stanley Beaman & Sears, are a testament to the growing cultural infrastructure of this city.

Mack Scogin Merrill Elam were recognized with a "Test of Time" award for their Ida Williams/Buckhead Branch Library; the angular, fish scaled building celebrated 25 years of survival, having seen its surrounding neighborhood eaten by the newest playground for the filthy rich, Buckhead Atlanta. From futuristic SCADpads to the adaptive reuse of the century-old Imperial Hotel, residential options also had a chance to shine.

The awards cover a dazzling array of things going on around the state and beyond. Have a gander right here.

— Michael Kahn

· Georgia Recognizes Eighteen Projects for Design Excellence [AIA]