Image of the filled banquet hall
Everyone wanted to be a part of the gathering, the keystone event of the 2019 conference in Brooklyn, the 47th gathering of NOMA

The National Organization of Minority Architects Recognize Architecture and Leadership Excellence with an Evening of Honors and the Inaugural Phil Freelon Professional Design Awards

BROOKLYN, NY, OCTOBER 28, 2019 — The National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) recognized architecture and leadership excellence at the NOMA Awards Banquet, which featured the inaugural Phil Freelon Professional Design Awards, hosted in Brooklyn, New York, on October 19, 2019. The awards banquet was the concluding event of the 47th Annual NOMA Conference, held at the New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge, October 16-20, 2019. The conference was NOMA’s largest event yet, with more than 1,200 registered conference attendees. 

NOMA President Kimberly Dowdell, AIA, NOMA, NCARB, LEED AP, presided over the evening, recognizing award-winning work and acknowledging NOMA leaders and NOMA’s last surviving founder, Mr. Jeh Johnson. They recognized the passing of industry leader and long-time NOMA member, Phil Freelon, who was formally acknowledged by NOMA renaming it’s professional design awards in his honor. NOMA also acknowledged long-time NOMA leader, Kenneth E. Casey with a new fellowship named in his memory, launching NOMA’s new Foundation Fellowship program for recent graduates. The Betty and Mort Marshall Scholarship Fund was also announced as a means to support Historically Black Colleges and University students studying architecture and engineering. Also recognized were all of NOMA’s newly licensed members, one of the most inspiring highlights of the conference each year. Furthering NOMA’s leadership, Perkins & Will Director of Global Diversity Gabrielle Bullock, FAIA, NOMAC, IIDA, LEED AP, was named to NOMA’s Council. 

“The awards banquet creates a very special time where we can recognize the many great accomplishments of NOMA members over the past year,” said Dowdell, who is also a principal at HOK Chicago. “To recognize industry greats, including Phil Freelon and all those who came before us, is a way to remind us where we’ve come from and what we need to continue to strive for — in terms of design excellence and community leadership — to honor our founders’ strength, courage and vision.” 

This year, NOMA renamed the decades-old prestigious design awards in honor of Freelon’s notable career, recognizing him as one of the most influential African American architects of our time. Freelon passed away July 9, 2019. Dozens of NOMA members applied for the awards. 

“The renaming of the NOMA professional design awards in Phil Freelon’s honor prompted a substantial increase in submissions to the awards program,” said Jimeca Sims, NOMA, Assoc. AIA, 2019 NOMA Awards Chair. “Recognizing architectural work befitting of Mr. Freelon’s honor was a charge that the 2019 jury accepted with pride.”

The 2019 NOMA Phil Freelon Professional Design Awards (PFPDA)  jurors included: 

  • Joshua Broadway, NOMA, Ennead Architects
  • Nicole Hollant-Denis, AIA, NOMA, Aaris Design Studios, PLLC
  • Katie Pohlman, NOMA, GouldEvans

Awards were presented to the following NOMA member firms: 

  • Vision Category – Honor Award: Vines Architecture, Cleveland Public Library–Martin Luther King Jr. Branch, Columbus, Ohio 
  • Built Category – Honor Award: Moody Nolan, The Legacy House Project, Columbus, Ohio  
  • Historic Preservation, Restoration & Renovation Category – Honor Award: Holly Street Studio, Phoenix College Physical Science Building, Phoenix, Arizona 
  • Unbuilt Category – Honor Award: Perkins and Will, Destination Crenshaw, Los Angeles, California 
  • Small Projects Category – Honor Award: Ian Smith Design Group, Tufas Boulder Lounge, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 

All NOMA professional members are eligible to submit projects. The 2020 PFPDA call for entries will be distributed in the spring of 2020.

Each year, NOMA also hosts a student design competition for the National Organization of Minority Architecture Students (NOMAS). Of the 75 NOMAS student chapters around the country, 39 competed in this year’s competition, with a prompt for a community development proposal for Brooklyn’s Flatbush neighborhood. Design considerations included forces of gentrification, housing equity and preserving the local culture and aesthetics. The 2019 NOMA Barbara G. Laurie Student Design Competition winner was Syracuse University School of Architecture. Second and third place were awarded to Cornell University and Illinois Institute of Technology respectively. 

Jurors for the SOM-sponsored student competition included: Colin Coop, AIA, SOM; Yasemin Kologlu, RIBA, LEED AP, BD+C, SOM Europe; Oswaldo Ortega, NOMA, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Gensler; Tamera Roy, AIA, LEED AP, Stantec; Hayes Slade, AIA, AIA NY; Allison Williams, FAIA, NCARB, LEED AP, NOMA, AGWms_Studio; and Kimberly Yoho, CAE, AIA. 

The competition and jury was organized by NOMA’s Regional University Liaisons:

  • Northeast: Melanie Ray, NOMA, AIA, LEED Green Associate, NCARB, Hord Coplan Macht
  • Midwest: Tiffany D. Brown, NOMA, Associate AIA, Smith Group
  • South: Andrea Simpson, NOMA, AIA, OSCO Interiors
  • West: Gabrielle Riley, NOMA Associate AIA, ZGF

Next year’s conference will take place in Oakland, CA, October 14-17, 2020. NOMA’s 49th annual conference will be held in Detroit in 2021, celebrating 50 years since the organization’s founding, which stemmed from the AIA Convention in Detroit in 1971.