Cincinnati Design Awards Celebrates 25 Years

Twenty-five years ago, leaders of Cincinnati’s design community collaborated to create an interdisciplinary awards program: the Cincinnati Design Awards (CDA). Over the years, more of the city’s design-based professional associations participated, and the program now includes the disciplines of architecture, interior design, landscape architecture, urban planning and experiential graphic design.

“The Cincinnati Design Awards recognize the outstanding design contributions of our area’s top designers,” says Michael Schuster, FAIA, principal at MSA Design. “The built environment is a constant balance of the collaboration of these design disciplines. Our communities are made better places by the understanding that there are so many facets of consideration when creating noteworthy projects. Year after year, we all benefit from the passion, energy, and intelligent design of our talented collaborators.”

CDA recognizes local and regional designers and design firms for their outstanding work in the community and around the world while striving to educate the general public to the benefits of supporting quality design.

A jury of distinguished design professionals reviews all submissions and determines the awards, which are announced at the annual CDA banquet. This year’s event will be held Oct. 29, 2021 at Memorial Hall with jurors Roberto De Leon, AIA of de Leon & Primmer Architecture Workshop; Joey N. Shimoda, FIIDA with Shimoda Design Group; Anna Crider of Entro Communications for SEGD; Allison Harvey, ASLA with OJB Landscape Architecture; and local juror Jake Hodesh with Pink Unicorn.

“My experience as a juror for the Cincinnati Design Awards was unlike any other I have participated in,” says Frederick J. Schmidt, FIIDA, LEED AP with Perkins & Will Chicago and a 2019 CDA juror. “I was impressed by the quality of the work and humbled to be part of such an esteemed and multi-disciplinary jury.”

In addition to the awards for design, the CDA also provides an annual grant to an individual, corporation, or organization whose work supports strong local communities through a range of community stewardship, education, and programming activities. Recipients frequently have a strong mission to contribute to the built environment by promoting creative problem-solving, social equity, environmental or art education, or cultural heritage. Past recipients include Price Hill Will, Keep Cincinnati Beautiful, Happen Inc., Modern Makers, the OTR Brewery District Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation, and Greater Cincinnati STEM Collaborative.

“Every day, we all experience physical environments designed by people – from landscapes to buildings, streetscapes to graphics, and interiors to communities, design is everywhere,” says Michelle VonderBrink, IIDA, with Champlin Architecture and co-chair of the CDA. “Good design, however, has the power to enhance creativity, promote physical and emotional well-being, encourage social interaction, and strengthen communities. The Cincinnati Design Awards is not only a celebration of the outstanding and creative talents of local design firms but also an opportunity to engage with the community and promote a better understanding of design, therefore building a stronger community.”

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