The American Institute of Architects

A Chapter of the American Institute of Architects

Excellence in Craft Projects

Any building detail or special feature on a project. 

This category is intended to highlight a specific detail / part of a project, not an entire building

Voting ends at 5pm on Monday, November 15

Discovery Lab


CONTRACTOR: Crossland Construction


Discovery Lab’s facade will complement the natural materials found throughout The Gathering Place Park. The unique undulating brick wall installation is an abstract expression of movement in four dimensions and exemplifies Discovery Lab’s exhibit philosophy of finding new and unique ways of using ordinary materials. When the initial design concepts didn’t transfer from the flat sketch paper explanation, the architectural team created a series of physical models using miniature brick were developed to explain the 4-dimensional concept to both the museum and the construction manager. These miniature models and then eventual full scale mock ups were created to study the aesthetics, constructability, cost and maintenance prior to the installation on site. This very creative and complex work, with seemingly no consistent pattern, was then executed to near perfection on site by the team.

This highly-anticipated museum will be in the nationally acclaimed Gathering Place. Discovery Lab beckons people of all ages to experience the world in deeper, meaningful ways. This hands-on-learning facility is designed to ignite curiosity, including design features intended to surprise and delight. Open, cheerful spaces to invite individuals or groups to create their own experience at the Lab, exploring their interests and passions at their own pace. Inspiring exhibits to encourage wonder and joy.

Greenwood Rising: Black Wall Street History Center

ARCHITECT:  Selser Schaefer Architects
CONTRACTOR: Crossland Construction 
PHOTOGRAPHY: Melissa Lukenbaugh

This History Center honors the legacy of the Greenwood District before and after the

tragic 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. The project is a platform to help heal the past, engage the present, and inspire the future. Through form and materiality, the exterior envelope pays tribute to the resilient and vibrant Greenwood spirit.

Steel Plate Connections

ARCHITECT: Freese Architecture

CONTRACTOR: Four States Homes

PHOTOGRAPHY: Nathan Harmon

A fundamental structural and design component of this home is a rhythm of double timber columns supporting exposed timber beams that, in turn, support a staggered arrangement of pyramid roofs. It was more structurally efficient to combine the columns with a common steel connection.

The solution is a crafted steel plate connection that provides a common seat and head for the double column bottoms and tops, respectively. Steel plate connections with pre- drilled bolt holes slice into the column ends and bottoms of beams. Exposed steel straps are rabbited into the columns to serve as stops for a vertical arrangement of square headed through-bolts. Square steel washers rabbited into the beams receive the bolt heads. A vertical steel plate is added in the space between the paired columns as a simple ornamental gesture.

A similar detail for single timber columns is created for numerous exterior glass wall conditions and the Public Area interior space.

Ida Freeman Elementary School Media Center/Storm Shelter

ARCHITECT: MA+ Architecture
CONTRACTOR: Pillar Contracting
PHOTOGRAPHY: Simon Hurst Photography

The new Media Center and Storm Shelter Addition at Ida Freeman Elementary promotes a long-lasting culture of reading. Core to the design of the new media center, this theme also compliments the school’s desire to pay tribute to Ida Freeman and the years she spent reading with children as an educator with Edmond area schools. The interior is colorful and flexible, encouraging students to discover literature in an engaging way.

Oklahoma’s severe weather can strike at any time, often requiring students to seek shelter. Addressing this need, the new Media Center doubles as a 665 person capacity storm shelter and offers students a safe place during extreme weather events. During mild weather conditions, South facing FEMA-compliant metal coiling doors remain up and out of sight, allowing natural light to fill the space during the day.

The lively interior was designed to engage children’s imaginations, while simultaneously creating teaching moments. Keeping true to the school’s mission, the design of the new Media Center aims to prepare students for life-long learning inside and outside of the classroom.