School of Architecture faculty, alums earn AIA Michigan awards

July 07, 2019

It was a memorable night for the University of Detroit Mercy School of Architecture at the recent AIA Michigan Honor Awards.

Former School of Architecture Dean Will Wittig earned the AIA Michigan President’s Award. Wittig recently stepped down as after serving as dean for eight years.

“It is truly a privilege to serve the profession through my role as an educator, which gives me the opportunity to play a small role in the development of future architects who will go on to serve our communities,” Wittig said. “The satisfaction that comes from that work is reward enough, but I am truly grateful, honored, and humbled to have been selected for this recognition on behalf of AIA Michigan.”

During his tenure as dean, enrollment at the School of Architecture increased 35 percent and the 228 students in the fall of 2018 was the school’s highest number since 2011. Wittig will return to Detroit Mercy’s School of Architecture faculty in January.

Detroit Mercy alumnus Matthew Guinta ’07, ’08 was one of three winners of the AIA Michigan Young Architect Award. Guinta currently works as a project architect at HKS, Inc. in Detroit.

The St. Mary Chapel at St. Mary Hospital in Livonia was one of three winners of the AIA Michigan Honor Award and won the People’s Choice Award. The Detroit Mercy Liturgical Space Consulting Service was a significant consultant on the project.

“The importance of winning these types of building awards is that the architecture and builders communities are telling others in the profession that they should study these buildings because they make an important contribution to the ongoing development of the profession, and in this case the development of a contemporary sacred space,” said Gilbert Sunghera, S.J., associate professor of Architecture and director of the Liturgical Space Consulting Service. “My role is helping the client articulate a vision, assist them with finding a design team capable of that vision and then review proposed schemes to see if they match that vision.”

The St. Mary Chapel also recently received the Design Award of Excellence at the New York Council for the Society of American Registered Architects and an M-Award for design excellency by the Masonry Institute of Michigan and AIA Michigan.

Hamilton Anderson was named the AIA Michigan Firm of the Year. Rainy Hamilton ’78, ’79 is the principal in charge at Hamilton Anderson. Hamilton earned the Alumni Achievement Spirit Award from Detroit Mercy in 2017.

Former School of Architecture dean and Distinguished Professor Steve Vogel '70, '75, won the 25-year building award for Chene Park. Tamara Burns, a member of the School of Architecture Dean’s Advisory board, won the Robert F. Hastings award.