PORTLAND, Maine— Whitten Architects was recognized for two distinct awards this Saturday by The American Institute of Architects (AIA) New England. Whitten was awarded an Emerging Professional Friendly Firm of 2019 and won a Merit Award for Design Excellence for the firm’s Englishman Bay Retreat Project, led by project architect Tom Lane and principal architect Russ Tyson.
“We are honored to be recognized for our active recruitment and cultivation of talented professionals in the field,” said Rob Whitten, founder and principal of the firm. “We have always been dedicated to emerging architects and leaders in our industry in order to sustain excellence in our work for more than three decades.”
The 2019 AIA New England Design Awards were hosted by AIA in Western Massachusetts on Saturday, Oct. 5th. at the AIA New England Conference. Members of the jury included Heidi Beebe AIA, Amy Donohue AIA, Tim Eddy FAIA, and Thomas Robinson AIA.
“The Emerging Professional Friendly Firm award indicates a firm’s commitment to supporting and advancing professionals in this field in the region,” said Katelyn Chapin of AIA. “Whitten stood out in the small firm category, which required a score of 36.4 points. Whitten saw a total of 49.5 points.”
Whitten was celebrated again on Saturday with a Merit Award for Design Excellence for the firm’s acclaimed Englishman Bay Retreat, a home situated along the coast in Downeast, Maine.
The Englishman Bay Retreat is a project that highlights Whitten’s dedication to site-specific design and innovation. The home is perched on steel columns that lightly touch the moss- and rock-filled forest floor, which allows for better views of a protected cove on one side and open ocean with a distant island lighthouse on the other. The use of natural materials and ample glass gives it a transparent nature, camouflaging it within the trees and allowing it to unfold gradually rather than reveal itself all at once. The design preserves the pattern of use the family had established from walking between properties over many years and brings the path inside so that the house becomes an extension of it.
“It’s a tremendous privilege for us to accept this award on behalf of our work at Whitten for the Englishman Bay Retreat,” said Tyson. “This project captures what we do best and we’re incredibly honored to have had the opportunity to work with this family.”
Lane has practiced in architectural offices in Boston and Salt Lake City where he worked on a variety of project types including art museum, library and custom residential. He has been with Whitten since 2017. Tyson has been a member of the Whitten team since 2007, becoming principal alongside Rob Whitten and associate principal, Jessie Carroll in 2018. Tyson has always enjoyed the spontaneity of sketching and design, and as an architect, enjoys using his skillset and experience to help clients realize their dreams for a home.
Whitten founded Whitten Architects in 1986. Over the last 30 years, the firm has been designing thoughtfully considered homes in New England. With a focus exclusively on residential design, the firm has designed a range of project types from camps to cottages, new homes to historic renovations. The firm has won a number of awards over the years and has been extensively published in a variety of residential home design books and magazines. The team consists of six architects and three designers who collectively offer decades of hands-on residential design and construction experience, as well as a common ethos that a home should reflect its occupants, and its design should develop from an appreciation for and an understanding of its site.
“The longevity and success of our firm would not exist without the immense talent we’ve seen over the years and continue to see,” said Whitten. “We are committed to paving the way for the next generation of architects and are grateful to AIA New England for helping to set this important precedent.”