Local architects team with Habitat for building projectWritten by Amy Campbell | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Toledo’s American Institute of Architects chapter is celebrating the organization’s sesquicentennial this year by rolling up its sleeves for a good cause.
As part of the national AIA’s Blueprint for America service project, architects from the local chapter have teamed up with Maumee Valley Habitat for Humanity, drafting new plans for Habitat homes and participating in the construction of one of the homes later this summer.
“[Habitat] came to us a couple of years ago asking for help on some things,” AIA member Kevin Costello, the project’s “chapter champion,” said. “So we thought this would be a prime opportunity to help.”
So far, chapter architects have redrawn seven existing Habitat house plans, and created three new ones.
“They wanted some changes for buildability-type issues,” Costello said. “They had real specific requirements for us.”
One of the plans the architects worked on is already under construction, he said, and the Toledo plans could have applications well beyond the local community.
“All the Habitat branches share these home plans pretty freely,” Costello said, “so these homes could very well be used by other Habitat organizations.”
Toledo AIA members are also sponsoring a build later this summer. The group has donated $3,000 toward the cost of the house, and will be providing volunteer labor for one weekend of the project.
The house will be built on Colchester Street in Oregon for the Richard and Patricia Wilson family.
While the group’s sesquicentennial has drawn attention to the AIA’s current service project, the Toledo chapter has long been contributing to the community, said Paul Sullivan, AIA Toledo’s immediate past president.
“When you look at it, our members are serving on planning commissions, historic district commissions; any number of things that make us very involved in the community,” he said.
Another example is the chapter’s design competition for high school students, the longest running AIA-affiliated competition of its kind.
“It’s been going on for 57 years,” Sullivan said. “It’s been recognized nationally as a really excellent program.”
According to the national AIA, 156 service projects will be completed around the country this year as part of Blueprint for America, and members hope they’ll bring attention to the importance of architecture and the impact of the built environment on people’s lives.
“Yes, we’re celebrating our anniversary,” Sullivan said. “But we’re about doing a lot of things that, I think, are good for everybody.”