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AIA Arkansas Newsletter                                            May 2017 
In This Issue
From the President
Save the Date for the 2017 Leadership Institute
Brown Named Design Principal
Exhibition at University
Cromwell Announces New Office
Opitz Receives National Award
NW Section Scholarship Recipient
Big Rier Steel Achieves LEED Certification
WER Architects Hire Intern Architect
WER Architects Hire BIM Tech
Section News
Q&A Feature
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Like us on Facebook
AIA Arkansas Members,

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Letter from the President

I hope everyone is doing well! As we move forward into 2017, I would like to thank the members of our board that volunteer their time in support of our membership and profession - it is a pleasure to work alongside all these talented individuals to implement our strategic plan and make AIA Arkansas the best it can be.
I want to also thank Brent Stevenson Associates. Under the directorship of BSA, our organization has grown in AIA membership, Allied membership, and the AIA Arkansas State Convention has expanded - offering more social events and learning opportunities than ever before. We appreciate the work BSA does to support us in our daily operations.
Your AIA Board of Directors met in early February at the annual planning retreat where we welcomed new members, inducted new officers and continued the implementation process of the new Strategic Plan. Last year's strategic planning session was led by Past-President Tim Maddox. I want to thank Tim for his leadership through the strategic planning process and his commitment to serve over the last four years on the Executive Committee of our board.
During the first week of March, AIA Arkansas sent a group to Washington, D.C., for the national Grassroots Leadership Conference. Lori Yazwinski Santa-Rita, Kyle Cook, Casey Brewer Hoffman, Lisa Skiles, Ngozi Brown and I had a productive time of visits with five of the six members of Arkansas' congressional delegation.
The focus of our visit was to promote Buildings as Infrastructure. A recent Harris Poll confirms the vast majority of Americans include libraries, schools, hospitals, community centers and parks in their definition of infrastructure. We discussed with our congressional delegation the notion of including public buildings along with roads and bridges in future Infrastructure investment legislation. While there, we joined our Gulf States Regional partners to accept the AIA Component Excellence Award for the 2016 Emerging Professionals Symposium.
Our 2017 AIA Arkansas State Convention will be held in Hot Springs from Oct. 18-21. Kyle Cook serves as convention chair and his committee is working to continue the excellence of past conventions. Our AIA Arkansas State Convention is a prime example of AIA Arkansas members' talent at work and in support of Arkansas architects and architecture.
As the year moves forward, I challenge you to serve and advocate for our profession. Your knowledge and ideas will strengthen our organization. We have committees, legislative, educational and social events, the state convention and many more activities scheduled for you to be involved in.
Thank you for allowing me to serve.
Travis Bartlett, AIA
AIA Arkansas President
MAHG Architecture
Save The Date

NOVEMBER 16, 2017

This year, we are happy to announce that the 2017 Leadership Institute will be held in Bentonville, Arkansas at the Crystal Bridges Museum on November 16, 2017!

The Leadership Institute is a national leadership development program of the  American Institute of Architects. Using a digital conferencing model, the program connects multiple locations for an interactive, one-day learning experience. Over 600 architects and emerging professionals have participated since 2015.
Leadership Institute 2017 is a one-day leadership training event for architects. Join local and industry leaders on November 16 for an essential training experience that includes:
  • learning leadership best practices and how to apply them in professional, industry, community, communication, and design leadership
  • connecting to a network of local and industry leaders who are changing the leadership dialogue
  • accessing relevant content for your career and professional journey
  • a free copy of Living Your Life as a Leader, a reference guide and workbook that will support your personal leadership development during and after the event
Brown Named Design Principal
At Woods Group Architects

Woods Group Architects, the state's largest minority-owned architecture firm, is pleased to announce that senior project architect Ngozi "Nome" Brown, AIA, LEED AP ND, EDAC, GPCP has been promoted to design principal.
"My first architecture internship was at this very firm more than 20 years ago," Brown said. "I am so excited to have the opportunity to extend its legacy into the next generation with beautiful, thoughtful and innovative design."
Brown's expertise includes learning environment design and evidence-based design. She is a magna cum laude graduate of Tuskegee University where she completed her Bachelor of Architecture degree. She is also a 4.0 GPA graduate of Concordia University at Portland, Ore., where she received a Master of Education degree.
Brown is certified by the United States Green Building Council as a LEED Accredited Professional with a specialty in neighborhood design. She is certified by the Green Building Initiative as a guiding principles compliance professional. Brown is currently serving the Central Arkansas design community as the AIA Central Section chair. She also serves on the boards of both studioMAIN and the Architecture + Design Network (ADN) and is a docent at the Arkansas Arts Center.
Woods Group Architects celebrated its 25th anniversary this year. The firm, founded by Ron Bene' Woods in 1992, has worked on numerous, significant projects throughout the state, including the Clinton Presidential Library, Verizon Arena, the Arkansas Statehouse Convention Center, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff's state-of-the-art STEM building and the University of Central Arkansas' Greek Village.
Exhibition at University Investigates
Urbanization at a Global Scale
A new exhibition, "City of 7 Billion," is on display through May 13 in the Fred and Mary Smith Exhibition Gallery in Vol Walker Hall on the University of Arkansas campus. It is presented by the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design.
It is an ongoing research project that reframes the world as one city. The exhibition presents new models, drawings and animations that investigate urbanization at a global scale.
The project was the recipient of the 2013 Latrobe Prize and is supported in part by the AIA College of Fellows, the Hines Research Fund for Advanced Sustainability in Architecture, a grant from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, Thomas and Beryl Hsiang, Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects and Gina Tso.
The "City of 7 Billion" research project is by Joyce Hsiang and Bimal Mendis of Plan B Architecture & Urbanism. The exhibition is curated by Hsiang and Mendis and is organized by the Yale School of Architecture.
This exhibition is described this way: We live in the "City of 7 Billion." No matter which peak, plain, or recess of the earth you inhabit, it is urban - beholden to cultivation, extraction, quantification, industrialization, surveillance, and contamination.
Find out more about the exhibition here.

Admission to the exhibition is free. The exhibition gallery is located on the first floor of Vol Walker Hall, and it is open to the public from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. For more information, call 479-575-4704..

Cromwell Architects Engineers has added a new office in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Architect Josh Danish, a graduate from the University of Arkansas with 14 years of experience in the field, will lead Cromwell's work in Northwest Arkansas. Josh served as Design Director for Ken Shireman and Associates and a Principal at deMx Architecture prior to joining the Cromwell team. Josh currently serves as Plans Chief for the Tri- County Search and Rescue organization and runs ARkidTECTURE, an architectural nonprofit program for elementary school children, in his spare time.
Located at 208 N. Block Avenue, the new office was built as a service station in 1929 but is probably best known as the Beaver Electric Building. COO Dan Fowler, who has a knack for seeing potential in historic spaces, knew that it would be perfect for Cromwell.  "The building has such an amazing history in the community, and repurposing the building for our offices embodies the values that are so important to Cromwell.  We are excited to be part of such an amazing diverse community that shares our values of preserving and building for future generations."
Cromwell has an established history of work in Northwest Arkansas. Projects in the area include the Benton County Courthouse, the new ArcBest Headquarters, Washington Regional Medical Center, the Cadence Apartments, and work for the City of Fayetteville Planning Department. The firm has also provided a variety of services for the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, working on projects such as the Leflar Law Center, the Arts and Design District, Yocum Hall, and the Innovation Center, the first LEED building in the state.
The new office will enable Cromwell to continue our work in building better communities in Arkansas- a passion of ours since 1885- by offering Design, Construction, and Operations expertise for our clients in Northwest Arkansas.  The new office will join a growing network of local branches that serve communities across the state and around the globe.  Those offices are located in Little Rock, Jonesboro, Fayetteville, NC, and Kaiserslautern, Germany.
Opitz Receives National
Young Architects Awards

Jonathan Opitz, AIA, LEED AP,BD+C, a partner at AMR Architects, is a recipient of the American Institute of Architects 2017 Young Architects Award.
This award is given in recognition of the contributions and leadership shown in the architecture community early in the recipient's career.
"I'm very grateful and proud," Opitz said. "I appreciate all the support I get from my family and the great work and collaboration we do at our firm, AMR Architects, and I appreciate all of the efforts of AIA Arkansas, studioMain and the Architecture and Design Network with all of the hardworking and talented volunteers that make these organizations successful."
Opitz, along with the 13 other recipients from around the country, will be recognized at the 2017 AIA Conference on Architecture in Orlando, Fla., this April.
Involvement in the community through volunteerism and professionally with AMR Architects, a driving entity in the revitalization of downtown Little Rock, has made Opitz a large force in fostering good design and responsible planning for the area. He believes architecture should foster human interaction and create life for a cityscape, placing it beyond only built environment and place making. "I approach architecture as the study and practice of relationships, striving to create meaningful connections and interactions between people, space, light and material," Opitz said.
Opitz was awarded the 2014 AIA Arkansas Emerging Professional Award, is a founding member of the studioMAIN organization, is the current chair of the AIA Arkansas Sustainability Committee, a past chair of the AIA Arkansas Central Section, a past president and leading presence of the Architecture and Design Network, and a graduate of Leadership Greater Little Rock. He has been a partner at AMR Architects since Jan. 1, 2016.
NW Section Scholarship Recipient
Set to Graduate From University
The Northwest Arkansas Section scholarship program for a student of architect at the University of Arkansas was officially established in 1997 and the Section is please to share an update regarding its current recipient, Ashley Wagner.  
Ashley is from Bentonville and is graduating with a Bachelor of Architecture from the U of A this spring. She is an active member in the local AIAS chapter, serving on the board as secretary as well as newsletter editor. She participated in AIAS conventions in Washington, D.C., and Nashville.

As an honor student, Ashley has been listed on the Dean's List and Chancellor's List multiple years and has also had the opportunity to do research in Malaysia and Singapore for her honor's thesis studying Malaysian Shophouses, a local mixed-use typology that can be found in that region. This research - along with a semester abroad at Rome Studio - has expanded her knowledge of geographical influences and  complemented her academic and practical knowledge.
As a part of the scholarship recognition for Ashley and others, the 2017 Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design Honors Recognition Reception & Ceremony will take place on April 14 to help celebrate the achievements of students. 

The NW Section AIA AR scholarship is supported through member dues and the annual NWA AIA Scholarship Bowling Tournament, held on the first Friday in August.  
Big River Steel Achieves
LEED Certification

Big River Steel Becomes First Steel Production
 Process to Achieve LEED Certification
Production Process and Campus Recognized for Commitment to Sustainability

OSCEOLA - As part of its recent grand opening ceremony, Big River Steel announced that it has been recognized as the first steel production facility to be LEED certified based on its environmental sustainability efforts and energy efficiency performance.
Achieving LEED certification for its steelmaking process puts Big River Steel in the unique position of being the first producer of steel in the world to be LEED certified by the U.S. Green Building Council.
Big River Steel's commitment to sustainable principles allowed it to benefit from a campus approach to LEED certification, which documented site-wide sustainable performance.
Big River Steel's Flex Mill, a steel mill that combines the wide product mix and superior grade capabilities of a more traditional integrated steel mill with the nimbleness and technological advancements of the newer more technologically-advanced mini mills, broke ground in July 2014 and began production in 2016. Working with the environmental and energy consultants at Emerald Built Environments throughout the build process kept sustainability at the forefront of priorities.
"Respecting the environment and safeguarding the welfare of our team members while building a profitable enterprise is at the core of what it means to be a Flex Mill," Big River Steel CEO Dave Stickler said. "As more steel consumers look to source from steel producers that not only recycle but also do so with a focus on sustainability, Big River Steel will be well positioned."
Working with Big River Steel's lead technology supplier, SMS group headquartered in Germany,  Emerald Built Environments and Big River Steel processing engineers analyzed and modeled the Flex Mill's operations compared to other steel production facilities to determine the energy efficiency of Big River Steel's production process.  The use of variable speed motors throughout the compact strip production (CSP) process along with the installation of a comprehensive set of energy saving tools throughout the operation were the major factors that led to Big River Steel being the first steel making facility to earn a LEED certification.
"Big River Steel has shown tremendous leadership with their innovative work and technological advances in sustainable practices through the use of LEED," said Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO of the U.S. Green Building Council. "Industrial facilities have become a cornerstone for the green building movement thanks to the growing adoption of LEED and sustainable practices in this sector."  

WER Architects/Planners Hires
Drew Short as Intern Architect
WER Architects/Planners is pleased to announce the hiring of intern architect Drew Short, Associate AIA.
Drew, originally from Bryant, is a graduate of the University of Arkansas Fay Jones School of Architecture. He has spent the last three years traveling the country, working for a large, national construction company on the construction management side for multi-million dollar construction projects. He is an avid outdoorsman and this translates into his passion for urban development and architectural discipline.
"I am passionate about architecture and how design shapes a community and the people living in that community," Drew said.
"We are thrilled to welcome Drew to the WER team," said David Sargent, AIA, WER Architects/Planners CEO. "We know his experience in construction management, along with his energy and passion for architecture, will be a wonderful asset to our team and clients." 

Strack Joins WER
As BIM Technician

WER Architects/Planners is pleased to announce the hiring of Lucas Strack as a BIM technician
Lucas, a Conway native, received his Bachelor of Science degree in Architectural Studies from the University of Arkansas and then completed an independent study in furniture design at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. During architecture school, Lucas realized his passion for both modern architecture and the ability to utilize his hands for woodworking. This has led to a career as an architectural draftsman/designer, a woodworker and craftsman.
"I am passionate about modern architecture, custom woodworking and furniture design and how each interacts with each other ," Lucas said.
"We are excited to welcome Lucas to the WER team," said David Sargent, AIA, WER Architects/Planners CEO. " His knowledge of innovative architectural millwork and a clear understanding of how things are built when paired with his expertise in woodworking will bring a unique perspective to our office ." 

Central Arkansas

Central Section Staying Busy
With Events, Upcoming Golf
It's been a whirlwind of a year so far - I can't believe it's almost April! Much has happened with the Central Section.
We have had three Eat & Educates, all offering HSW credits. We've worked hand-in-hand with the Architecture + Design Network to help bring several amazing lecturers to both the Arkansas Arts Center and the UALR campus (and those lectures offered HSW credits as well). And this month we collaborated with the ADEM and INSPARK to offer California Office of Emergency Management SAP training and certification (which will include five HSW credits).
Earlier this month I joined six fellow members of the AIA Arkansas Board of Directors to attend the Grassroots Conference in Washington, D.C. What a privilege and a life-changing event! We were able to gain the audience of Sen. John Boozman, Congressman French Hill and many others. We discussed the importance of vertical infrastructure and Qualifications-Based-Selection (QBS) and were well received; I believe that our advocacy will make a positive impact on our profession.
One more thing - we are excited about our 28th Annual Golf Tournament sponsored by Innerplan. This year, with the help of KI, we've added a Putt Putt/Beer Garden to the event! Live music, beer and other beverages and heavy hors d'oeuvres will be there in abundance - I hope to see you there, too! It's scheduled for May 22 with tee off at noon; registration will begin shortly.
Thanks so much for the opportunity to serve as your Central Section Chair. If you would like to offer suggestions for cool events, learning opportunities or want to volunteer, please contact me at or My cell is 501-410-4403. Happy spring! J
Ngozi "Nome" Brown, AIA, LEED AP ND, EDAC, GPCP
AIA AR Central Section Chair
Bartlett Participates
In Q&A Feature
AIA Arkansas President Travis Bartlett, AIA, of  MAHG Architecture in Fort Smith was recently featured in
Arkansas Business. Here are the weekly business journal's questions and his answers.
How did you get involved in this field?
As a child I really enjoyed drawing and building things. As a teen I had the opportunity during the summer to work for a friend's father, a homebuilder, which really allowed me to understand how a set of drawings become a building. Being an architect just seemed like a natural fit.
When I started my first semester at the Fay Jones School of Architecture & Design, I knew I had chosen the right field of study and in the long run a profession that has allowed me to carry on drawing and building.
MAHG Architecture is among the oldest architecture companies in Arkansas. Does a long company history create any advantages for a company? Disadvantages?
We draw from our history and experiences. It is commonplace for MAHG to be selected for a renovation or addition to a building that our firm had originally designed. We feel like we have an opportunity to inject new life into these older buildings and allow them to continue serving the public. It gives me a sense of pride to see our firm's name on an old building.
I actually don't see any disadvantages to being one of the oldest architecture firms in Arkansas - we express it as a positive. We have the longstanding experience as our foundation united with a forward-thinking design approach. The result is a collaborative process that is creative, inclusive and data-driven.
What's the role of sustainable design in architecture these days? Has it just become integral to any design project?
We made a decision as an architecture firm a number of years ago to integrate sustainable design principles into every project MAHG designs. It really has become a part of our design DNA - it's who we are. We embrace the process and advocate that good design and sustainability go hand-in-hand. We strive to be practical and design in a way that is energy-efficient and cost-effective for our clients.
How has technology changed the architect's role?
Technology has most definitely changed the way we do our work. The technology we use today to design and produce drawings for construction is vastly different than 10 years ago. We essentially design and build a building in a virtual environment. We convey the design to our clients three-dimensionally and are able to produce two-dimension drawings for contractors to do the actual construction.
While technology is key to our everyday process, nothing can replace a simple roll of tracing paper and a pen. That is where multiple ideas and iterations are produced and is still where the big idea to the simplest detail can come to life.
What's your favorite architect-designed building?
That's a tough list to narrow down to one. There are so many well-designed buildings just in Arkansas. If I had to narrow it down to one though, I would have to go with  Thorncrown Chapel by Fay Jones. It truly is an iconic piece of architecture.

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