How to Create a Winning Design Award Submission

By Michelle Fanzo, AIA Pittsburgh Executive Director Posted on June 22, 2022

Having observed a variety of design awards juries in my time as Executive Director, I see common suggestions, best practices, and shortcomings about submissions each year. Following is a tips list for anyone preparing a design award submission. Another great resource is this one-hour webinar about how to craft a winning submission. It offers three different perspectives with me as a jury observer, Mike Gwin, AIA, as a frequent awards jury chair, and Ed Massery, as an award winning local photographer. Check it out. Common shortcomings: Unclear narrative: You are ultimately telling a story about your project: which needs a beginning, middle and end.  What changed? What did you achieve? Use data where possible.  Consider using some of the Framework...

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Committee Corner: What’s Coming this Summer

From advocacy with local government to planning continuing education series and even axe-throwing, here is what the AIA Pittsburgh committees have been working on the last few months and what to keep an eye out for coming up! Interested in any of the topics or activities below? Get involved – committees are open for additional members! Send an email to and ask to be connected with any of our committees. Advocacy Committee Chair: John Ryan The Advocacy Committee is in conversation about opportunities for City Council and/or County Council outreach and reviewing approaches to affordable housing. Committee members will meet with Deputy Mayor Jake Pawlak on June 14th and PLI Director Sarah Kinter and David Green on June 30th, along...

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Committee Corner: Learn What AIA Committees are Working On

From advocacy with local government and decision-makers to healthcare design, continuing education and sustainability, AIA Pittsburgh’s nine committees are where the action happens!  Here is an update on what our committees have been working on the last few months and what to keep an eye out for coming up. Get involved – committees are open for additional members! Advocacy Committee Chair: John Ryan Advocacy Committee members met with PLI Director Sarah Kinter and David Green on March 25, and with Deputy Mayor Jake Pawlak on March 31.  The committee provided recommendation to the Mayor’s office for an architect member for the Affordable Housing Implementation and Housing Committee, but so far this has not been acted on. The Mayor’s office is also looking to...

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Five Local Professionals and Students Awarded First Round of MAPS Scholarship

By Robert Tuñón, AIA, NOMA Posted on April 1, 2022

In its inaugural year, the Minority Architects of Pittsburgh Scholarship (MAPS) was awarded to five local professionals and students.  As of April 1st, MAPS launched its second round of the scholarship with an application submission deadline of May 3rd. MAPS is specifically for minority architects, architecture students, and high school students interested in pursuing a career in Architecture. To the Pittsburgh architecture community, we ask that you consider the following actions to support our work:       Read more about the 2021 scholarship recipients below!   The inaugural round of scholarships were awarded for the Minority Architects of Pittsburgh Scholarship (MAPS) to five local professionals and students: Lydia Randall, fourth-year B. Arch. student at Carnegie Mellon University Do Mihn Khoi,...

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Dossier: Amy Maceyko, AIA

Associate Principal at WTW Architects, an active member of the Women+ in Design Pittsburgh group, a graduate of the Leadership Institute, and an important voice in women’s leadership in the profession!

Name: Amy P. Maceyko, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP Firm: WTW Architects Family: Husband, teen daughter, tween son + 3 cats Years in practice: 20+ Education: BArch from Carnegie Mellon with a minor in drama, and a semester abroad in Valencia, Spain What do you value about the Women+ in Design group? I’m not sure where to begin, there are so many ways that I’ve found value in the group. I feel like I’ve spent my career reaching out for female mentors, and later female peers and mentees, with somewhat limited success. There have been a number of outstanding male architects who have mentored me, but there was always a sense that I was trying to bridge a gap in my professional community. Whether it was...

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Dossier: Greg Coni, AIA

Introducing the 2022 AIA YAF Chair!

Name: Gregory Coni, AIA, CPHC Firm: GBBN Architects Years in practice: 6+ years out of school, 2+ years licensed Education: Bachelor of Architecture and Minor in Environmental Studies from Carnegie Mellon University AIA Committees you’ve served on: Just YAF… for now… Your first job: My first job was as a child actor.  I performed in a local dinner theater production of the Sound of Music as Friedrich von Trapp… that was my first and last paid acting gig. Project you’re proudest of: WVUM Women’s and Children’s Hospital – Keep an eye out for the YAF/Healthcare Committee tour in March! What’s the most annoying thing architects do? …wearing all black or grey.  I prefer a lot of color. Favorite tool (can be digital, drafting, physical,…): Stove or the cocktail shaker…...

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Dossier: Bea Spolidoro, AIA

Introducing AIA Pittsburgh’s 2022 Board President!

Name: Bea (Beatrice) Spolidoro, AIA, WELL AP Firm: Fisher ARCHitecture Family: Husband, Eric Fisher Years in practice: 10+ Education: MArch at “Politecnico di Milano” University AIA Committees you’ve served on: Young Architects Forum, Outreach Committee, Build Pittsburgh Committee, Continuing Education Committee, Communications Committee, Design Pittsburgh Committee… Your first job: I designed logo and merch for a focaccia company, called “Focaccia Mia”. Project you’re proudest of: While working with RDCollab, I was part of the design team that renovated the Women’s Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh. It was a touching experience. What’s the most annoying thing architects do? Telling clients that what they want to do is (often) not allowed by the Building Code. What have you always wanted to tell your clients?  “You’ll thank me later.” Favorite tool (can...

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AIA Pittsburgh Year in Review: 2021

Looking back at a Year of Perseverance

By Michelle Fanzo and Dina Snider, AIA Posted on January 7, 2022

Dear Members, Partners and Friends, We all know how challenging the last year was, so we’re going to skip over the global pandemic, stressed public, wild weather, and – more recently – exploding meteors, and tell you what went well in 2021: our members continued to develop their skills and knowledge, the architecture community as a whole has been extremely busy, and AIA Pittsburgh continues to provide valuable resources, shared knowledge and fellowship to its members. Though some of our usual gatherings and events could not happen during year two of COVID-19, we continued to find ways to build relationships and collaborate virtually as well as in-person, deliver quality continuing education, and support the work of our committees and the...

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The Fabricated Landscape Highlights Potential of Architects and Sustainable Design

By Brigid Moser Posted on July 29, 2021

The Heinz Architectural Center (HAC) of the Carnegie Museum of Art recently opened its new show, The Fabricated Landscape, highlighting the work of ten architectural firms from around the globe. The collection is particularly notable for its contradictions.“Chapel in Guastalla” from Go Hasegawa, a chapel fabricated from white marble slabs cut thin by computers, creates a synthesis of traditional materials and new technology. In “Cathedral Altar” from Anna Heringer, a humble, rammed earth altar sits amid the splendor of a historic, baroque church. All three projects from MAIO envision a blurring of public and private spaces, resulting in sites that move and adapt to the needs of the people inside. The exhibition features projects that all speak to the same...

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National Intercultural Leadership Program – Scholarships Available!

Following the success of our 2020 scholarships for AIA Minnesota’s National Intercultural Leadership Program (NILP), AIA Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Architecture Foundation will offer partial scholarships to a 3-session version of the virtual leadership program – Foundations of Intercultural Development. Learn the core concepts of intercultural development and build your ability to engage effectively with colleagues, project partners, clients, and community members of various genders, races, ethnicities, and other “differences that make a difference.” 2-hour sessions held on July 9 and August 12 & 13. Cost: $250 without scholarship. Learn more and register today. Seats are limited. How past AIA Pittsburgh NILP graduates distill their top takeaways: Joe Bevin  –  “Humbled and Inspired” Monica Blasko  –  “Unpacking Power” Melanie Buzgan-Dower  – ...

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