The American Institute of Architects Pennsylvania Chapter selected Spillman Farmer Architects of Bethlehem for the 2013 Architectural Firm Award, an inaugural year for the award. The awards ceremony was Thursday at the historic Gettysburg Hotel.
Spillman Farmer also received a 2013 Citation of Merit Award for the Lafayette College Arts Plaza project in Easton, an open-air space for the arts. Citation of Merit Awards recognize projects that represent excellence through exceptional details or special design aspects.
These awards follow the firm's Silver Medal, awarded in 2012 for the ArtsQuest Center in Bethlehem.
Criteria for the Architectural Firm Award include excellence in design and contributions to the industry. The Firm Award is the highest award given by AIA Pennsylvania and honors an architectural firm that has consistently demonstrated a commitment to design excellence and has made outstanding contributions to the profession of architecture for at least 10 years.
The AIA Pennsylvania board of directors served as the jury for this year's Architectural Firm Award. The board, representing firms from each AIA Pennsylvania branch chapter, reviewed more than 20 entries before selecting Spillman Farmer Architects.
Founded in 1927 as Lovelace & Spillman, the firm got its start designing homes for the beneficiaries of Bethlehem's booming steel economy. It became Spillman Farmer Architects in the 1960s and now is a 30-person firm, said Daniel Harrigan, president and one of the firm's six principals.
"We are honored to receive this recognition … ," said Joseph Biondo, principal. "This award is great validation. It was a competitive submission; it also incorporated history and community involvement."
The Architectural Firm Award also distinguishes firms in which collaboration is a principal force. The principals at Spillman said one of the reasons it is a successful firm is the strong collaboration among employees.
Spillman Farmer won the Citation of Merit Award for the Lafayette College Arts Plaza project under the umbrella of the Architectural Excellence Awards. For this award, 37 firms from Pennsylvania submitted a total of 93 projects, some of which were around the nation and overseas, according to Christie Jephson, marketing manager for Spillman Farmer.