Top Georgia AIA Design Award Goes To Savannah’s Cultural Arts Center


On Friday, December 4th, the Georgia Association of the American Institute of Architects announced the winners of their statewide 2020 design awards competition. Gunn Meyerhoff Shay Architects of Savannah was selected for one of the top awards for design excellence, out of more than 140 entrants from all over Georgia, for their design of the Savannah Cultural Arts Center.

This prestigious award was further cited by the jury as “a great example of designing within a framework that reaches out to include the historical context of the local and neighboring community.” The Cultural Arts Center has also received the Honor Award from the South Georgia

Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

“It is very gratifying to be recognized by our peers in the architecture profession for this award for design excellence. We would like to thank our client, the City of Savannah and former mayor Edna Jackson for their commitment to the arts and our shared cultural heritage. We pledge to build upon this important moment in our firm’s 60-year history, and continue to pursue excellence in design for all our clients,” said Senior Architect Patrick Shay.

“I’m very proud and happy for this distinguished award. We felt the city needed a center for the arts that would attract both tourists and locals, so we put it in the heart of the city, downtown. It is both a learning and performance center for art, music, film, and dance. I am particularly pleased that a local architect was chosen to design it, as I think it catches the spirit of Savannah by blending the old with the new,” said Edna Jackson, former Mayor of Savannah.

The Savannah Cultural Arts Center was completed in 2019 and is located at the corner of Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard and Oglethorpe Avenue, a gateway entrance to the National Historic Landmark District. The facility includes a 400-seat performance hall, a black box theater, studios for dance and the arts, an art exhibit gallery, an outdoor performance space, and a restored historic lane. The performance hall was named after Savannah legend Ben Tucker and has Broadway-quality acoustics and lighting. The project was completed within budget and exceeded its goals for local and minority business participation.

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