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MKM Receives AIA Fort Wayne Awards


MKM received one Honor Award and two Merit Awards by the American Institute of Architect’s (AIA) Fort Wayne chapter for our work on Wells County Public Library, La Porte County Public Library (LPCPL) Exchange, and Forthcoming: Considering the Future State of Our City. The projects were recognized at the 2023 AIA Fort Wayne Design Awards event on December 13. MKM is grateful for our partners who have made these innovative projects possible.

Pictured left to right: Zachary Benedict (MKM architecture + design), Kim Shelley (AIA), Jason Shelley (AIA)

Wells County Public Library: Honor Award (Interior Architecture <$5 million)
The project scope included a transformation of the main lobby space, seating areas, meeting rooms, administration and genealogy departments, and the children’s and teen departments. Also incorporated into the project are new circulation desks for all departments. Many existing spaces and resources were reallocated in the renovation for an increased focus on public engagement.

Jury Comments:

  • “The interior spaces of this project are wonderfully defined, creating a captivating environment. The integration and selection of materials, fixtures, and colors are not only fun and immersive but also reflect a conscientious effort to source sustainable options, adding an extra layer of thoughtful design. The redeveloped social interaction areas introduce dynamic elements and opportunities, fostering an environment that encourages creativity and collaboration for burgeoning minds. The overall result is a harmonious blend of aesthetics, sustainability, and functionality.”
  • “A stunning transformation! A great representation of how interior design can impact and inspire library users and staff.”
  • “A wonderful public works project transforming the library into a learning center for families and children.”
  • “An impressive project for this category and budget. The before and after photos highlight what is possible for a successful renovation.”

LPCPL Exchange: Merit Award (Preservation/Adaptive Reuse/Renovation)
The goal for this project aimed to redevelop the open spaces of a former telephone exchange building into an accessible, multistory STEAM lab with maker spaces, a large classroom, and learning lounge spaces. Design elements nod to the building’s history as a telephone exchange.

Jury Comments:

  • “The repurposing of the interior spaces is truly commendable, with a special highlight on the collaborative and makerspace areas. These spaces exude a palpable sense of community and partnership that permeates throughout the entire building, fostering an environment of collaboration. The incorporation of graphic tools, such as the building section, not only proves to be extremely helpful but is also executed with flair, adding an extra layer of effectiveness to the overall submission.”
  • “Exceptional graphics help tell the story of a complete transformation that highlights the original structure while providing users with a modern experience.”
  • “An exciting skill business development center with a beautifully renovated façade.”

Forthcoming: Considering the Future State of Our City: Merit Award (Non-Traditional Projects)
In 2020, MKM assembled a diverse group of local leaders to explore what ideas are often misunderstood or underappreciated when envisioning the future of Fort Wayne, Indiana. The citizen-led book project included 20 essays outlining 20 ideas that should shape community development for the next 20 years.

Jury Comments:

  • “In embracing the unconventional nature of this project, it became a perfect example for a non-traditional project. The intricate tapestry of dedication and seamless collaboration woven into its development not only reflects a noteworthy achievement but also exemplifies a testament to the boundless possibilities that arise from daring to venture beyond traditional paradigms.”
  • “Thoroughly thought provoking, a step outside our normal practice, and a challenge all cities should engage.”
  • “This project is what being a citizen architect is all about. We were inspired by level of community engagement and it left us all wanting to get our hands on the final copy.”

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