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School of Design wins twice

July 13, 2017

 

Both the Award of Merit and Members Choice Awards were presented for the design of the Larkin Gibbs Memorial Pavilion. – Photo courtesy of Robert Brooks

JOHN STACK
Staff Reporter | jes062@ latech.edu

 

For the first time in Louisiana Tech’s history, the School of Design won twice at the American Institute of Architects (AIA) conference April 1 in Orlando, Florida.

 

Two of the three completed projects from the School of Design at Tech under professors of architecture Brad Deal and Robert Brooks won awards for merit. These awards are bestowed to work that demonstrate a high level of design quality worthy of recognition by the Members’ Choice Award in addition to the awards granted by the awards jury.

 

These were the third and fourth awards won by the two this year. In September they won two awards at the Louisiana Chapter of the American Institute of Architects Awards Program: the Award of Merit and the Members Choice Award, both for the Larkin Gibbs Memorial Pavilion.

 

Brooks said he was pleased with the award recognizing the professors’ goal as education and helping those in need, not accolades.

 

“We would do the work that we do, and teach the way we teach, whether we win awards or not,” Brooks said. “Both Brad and I strongly believe in the power of hands on/minds on learning, especially when it benefits such an inspiring client.”

 

He said however, winning the awards and garnering the national recognition that they have means it’s not just a belief the two of them share, but it is a worthwhile belief shared by many.

 

Deal shared the sentiment and the light it shines on his chosen field, school and community.

 

“Winning the awards is wonderful and it allows us gain more external support for the program,” Deal said. “But in the end it’s all added motivation to do something we were excited to do in the first place: serving those in need in our community in the process of training future architects not only to know their trade, but also to leverage their abilities for the greater good.”

 

Brooks explained how they had arrived at doing such projects.

 

“It was a mutual decision and partnership between the School of Design and MedCamps of Louisiana,” Brooks said. “We have a true symbiotic relationship with Camp, and the projects that we’ve done have all grown out of careful collaborative research.”

 

He said they anticipate future projects to be developed in the same way: mutually.

 

Deal explained further how they keep this in perspective.

 

“Every year we assess the needs and opportunities presented and try to balance them with the resources available along with the value proposition for our clients and the educational opportunities for our students,” Deal said. “Every year is a bit of a surprise despite us sticking to a consistent formula for project selection.”

 

Brooks explained how all of this has affected their lives.

 

“Between the success of Brad’s award winning short film ‘Arch335: Rebuilding MedCamps’ and the national recognition of the work that our studio is producing, we have been able to travel all across the United States sharing our work, our vision, and our passion to very receptive and supportive audiences,” Brooks said. “During the spring quarter, we work very long hours and shoulder a lot of responsibility.”

 

He said what they do requires an unbelievable amount of support from their families. Without them, much of what Deal and he have the good fortune of doing could not be done.

 

Brooks stressed the bonds that have been formed here and how this is home.

 

“I feel that I am part of the Tech family, and I’ve grown roots here in this strangely wonderful community,” Brooks said. “Ruston and Louisiana Tech are home to me now, and I’m looking forward to many more years of doing what I love with great people.”

 

Deal cemented the statement.

 

“Ruston and Louisiana Tech have been very good for both my family and my career,” Deal said. “Winning these awards is proof of that.”

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