AIAS Honor Awards: Milestones for the UNLV Chapter

The American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) is the bridge between the students, professionals and university faculty. We work side by side with the AIA, NCARB, NAAB and ACSA to move our profession forward, and produce the next generation of designers and problem solvers.

This past year, I had the opportunity to serve on the Chapter Executive Board as Vice President and work with a dedicated group of students to redefine what AIAS at UNLV should look like. We laid out a new vision for our chapter and for our efforts, we received nominations for three National AIAS Honor Awards, the Chapter Honor Award, Chapter President Honor Award, and 3rd Year Studio Design Excellence Award.

Dominic Armendariz

The UNLV AIAS won the Chapter Honor Award for the first time in the school’s history. This is the most prestigious honor a chapter can receive and to be selected as the 2017 
recipient is a testament  to the dedication of our 51 members. We had instituted several new programs this year that had garnered national attention. Among them was our professional mentor program where we paired AIAS members with emerging professional in AIA Las Vegas. We also created a K-12 Outreach program that sent UNLV students
to schools around the Las Vegas Valley to speak about the architecture profession and the opportunities that it provides. 

Our Chapter’s 2016-2017 President, and a Junior Design Associate at SH Architecture, Dominic Armendariz was rewarded for his hard work with the 2017 Chapter President Honor Award – Honorable Mention. In setting clear and defined goals and working with rest of the leadership team to see them to fruition, his leadership was instrumental in our success.

The AIAS also awards outstanding academic design work. This year I submitted my fall studio project “swenson51” for the 3rd Year Design Excellence Award. The project started with the site outside McCarran Airport on Swenson Street and after months of research, precedent studies, and site analysis, I pitched the idea of using the land for a Business Incubator. I then developed an archetype that I felt would encourage networking, mentoring, collaboration.

The jury’s comments included “the ethnographic research had a huge impact on the final product” and “his exterior renderings are wonderful; they can give a vibrant picture of how the building relates to the context.”

This was the first time that University of Nevada, Las Vegas has ever won a National Honor Award, so to be awarded three in one year was a huge milestone for our chapter. We will receive the awards in December at the Forum Conference in Austin, Texas.

Rafael Armendariz

About Rafael Armendariz

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