Damaris Hollingsworth Receives AIA Young Architects Award


“Emerging talent deserves recognition. The AIA Young Architects Award honors individuals who have demonstrated exceptional leadership and made significant contributions to the architecture profession early in their careers.”

From the AIA website.

NOMA members topped the lists during AIA award season in 2020 including MSP NOMA Past-President Damaris Hollingsworth. She and NOMA President Kimberly Dowdell both received the prestigious Young Architect Awards while Tiffany Denise Brown garnered an AIA Associates Award.

Damaris shared this about her honor:

National AIA Young Architect Award – 2020
National BD+C Top 40 under 40 – 2017
ENR Inaugural National Top 20 under 40 – 2017
ENR Midwest Top 20 under 40 – 2016

Every nomination gave me a new dream to pursue. Every win filled me with joy and gratitude… and took me into a memory trip back to my childhood in inner city São Paulo from where came the understanding that I was not supposed to make this far. People like myself don’t make this far. I had to fight the odds, invent a path and walk on it, pray for a door to open where there wasn’t even a door, just walls, tall and hostile walls.

Throughout this journey I have found a fair number of folks who tried to “put me back in place” and tell me that I couldn’t succeed, that I don’t have what it takes, even some I considered dear. But let me tell you… I am very blessed with a multitude who remind me every step of the way that there’s greatness in me and that my hard beginning has actually made me that much stronger, that much more creative and skilled, that much more ingenious, that much more relatable to the communities that I want to serve the most.

Some ask me how come not succeeding was never an option for me… my answer is always that my faith in God has kept me above the turbulence and above the noise. There’s a confidence in Him, a certainty that He will ALWAYS bless me with the desires of my heart because He placed those desires there to begin with. When at age 7 I told my dad that I was going to attend the University of São Paulo one day, my dad told me that maybe that was too much of a stretch because only 1 person amongst every 25 who register for the school of architecture passes the selection process. My most honest and innocent answer to him was actually a question: why can’t I be that 1? why should I believe that I am one of the other 24? This simple, innocent faith still lives inside of me and it manifests itself into my successes and accomplishments more often than I share.

My “secret” for success is not a secret because I mention it all the time. My God and my trust in His amazing and unconditional love for me has made strong and invincible. I may stumble and even fall at times but wait and watch me standing back up and conquering with His grace as my foundation.

I’m grateful.

Damaris Hollingsworth, NOMA, AIA

Read the full AIA release here.