“You like us, you really like us!”

photo credit: marco_n65 via photopin cc

photo credit: marco_n65 via photopin cc

A few times a year, we get to break out our black ties and cocktail dresses for some very special occasions: award presentations. These ceremonies might not get the kind of coverage that brings Joan Rivers to the red carpets of Hollywood and Sally Field has never shown up, they’re pretty fun for us nevertheless. Winning is a definite thrill, and there are few things better than sharing a nice meal, some wine and the excitement with our clients and the good folks who construct our designs. We often whoop it up at an impromptu after party. The morning after we arrive at Shelter, a bit later than usual, and hang another award on the wall. Then back to the work at hand.

Shelter awards

Still, architecture and interior design awards are curious things. In a profession in which most people are committed to doing great work, it’s very common to develop admiration for our peers and the projects that they create. So in that sense, it feels a bit odd to be “competing” against them, with a jury picking winners and the rest assumed to be losers. It’s only natural to feel a little extra elation when our projects win, but seeing friends take home a prize for a project we admire is pretty satisfying, too. Above all, it’s fun to see the work of so many talented people collected together and to have the opportunity for a bit of celebration with our colleagues in the field.

photo credit: International Market Square Mpls, MN

photo credit: International Market Square Mpls, MN

The most valuable side effect may be tied to having to display the finished work. Every now and again, it’s good to simply take the time to lift our heads – physically and metaphorically – from the designs we’re currently working on and reflect on what we’ve completed. In doing so, we can celebrate and at the same time be self-critical. Entering a project into a competition forces us to objectively revisit the work, compare it to that of our peers and look for ways that we can continue to improve. Award ceremonies allow us to do just that and have a party, win! win!

Be well, your friends a Shelter.


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