The Argyros Performing Arts Center was designed by Ketchum resident Michael Doty, a member of AIA Idaho.

Across the state, there are about 350 members of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Idaho Chapter. It splits into quadrants: mountain, eastern, central and northern Idaho. 

This year’s Honors and Awards Conference will take place in the Wood River Valley. The venue is the Argyros Performing Arts Center, designed by AIA Idaho’s very own Michael Doty, a Ketchum resident.

One of the goals of AIA Idaho and its executive director, Anna Foster, is to raise awareness of architecture’s importance in society. 

“When we see a project such as a school, a new theater, a beautiful residence, a lot of those things are timeless,” Foster said. “We get to reflect on who designed these buildings and how families enjoy that particular project. In that way architects elevate the community.”

Awards will be presented the night of Friday, Sept. 24. The categories include Commercial; Public; Single-Family and Multi-Family Residential; Architect as Client; Renovation, Adaptive and Reuse Preservation; Energy Sustainability Commercial and Residential; Best Use of Idaho Wood Commercial, Residential and Open.  

The jury received around 36 submissions for the awards. The jury is composed of Faith Rose of O’Neill Rose Architects from Brooklyn, New York; Ben Waechter of Waechter Architecture from Portland, Oregon; and Thomas F. Robinson of LEVER Architecture in Portland, Oregon.

“As an Oregonian having spent a good deal of time vacationing in the outdoors of Idaho, it’s fulfilling to connect with my neighboring Idaho architect community,” Waechter said. 

Last night, Sept. 23, the jury was scheduled to deliberate on the awards. 

“As an architect you are always working with your nose to the grindstone, so this is a moment to look up and take note of some of the great work your colleagues are doing all around you,” Rose said.

Each jury member will also give a talk. At 1:15 p.m. today, Sept. 24, Rose will present “Home,” examining the internal and external elements we define as our homes. 

“What I’m hoping is that people get a sense of how we live now, what values we reflect in our homes and also a sense of how design values--like connection to the outdoors and a love of craft--can remain the same even as the way we live changes,” Rose said.

At 2:15 p.m., Robinson will present “Looking Ahead: The Future of Mass Timber in the U.S.,” examining architecture’s movement away from authentic wood and what that means for design as well as the economy of rural communities. 

At 3:15 p.m., Waechter will present “Clarity,” examining how our environments affect us and how to generate vivid experiences within architecture. 

At 4:15 p.m. there will be the “Small Firm Adaptability Roundtable Discussion,” wherein local architects and development professionals will discuss such topics as the affordable housing crisis, post-pandemic amenity migration, the gig economy and sustainable energy. Panelists include Michael Doty, Kristin Anderson, Shellan M. Rodriguez and Andrew C. Erstad. 

The awards reception starts at 5:30 p.m., offering cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. AIA Idaho Design Excellence Awards will be given starting at 6:30 p.m.

“Architecture is all around us,” Waechter said. “For most of us, we spend the majority of our time in and around buildings. As such, why wouldn’t we do all that we can to design our built environment in a way that supports our best experiences?”

For tickets and more information, visit the website for AIA Idaho,

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