Member Spotlight: Brandrup, Hays, and Black

Melissa C. Brandrup, AIA, 2011 Award for Young Professional Achievement in Honor of William W. Caudill, FAIA

Melissa Brandrup, AIA, is the current President of AIA El Paso. She specializes in urban planning and green building and has worked in locals throughout the U.S. and the world. Recently, she served as a primary architect involved in the urban planning of a 6,700-acre project in China. After arriving in El Paso about three years ago, Melissa joined the AIA leadership and became a charter director for Eco-El Paso. As one of its directors, she helped promote sustainable building practices and teach professionals about green building techniques. She’s participated in several Charretts to improve the city’s urban planning and has joined the City Planning Commission to help improve the city standard of living. According to a colleague, “Melissa recognizes that architecture is a team effort. She can be both leader and contributor as best fits the goals and objectives at hand. She brings clear and creative thinking, commitment, and an abundance of productive energy to the planning and design table.”

Diane Berry Hays, FAIA, 2011 Award for Outstanding Educational Contributions in Honor of Edward Romieniec, FAIA

Diane Hays, FAIA, has inspired, mentored, and counseled countless students during her impressive 17-year career at the University of Texas at San Antonio. She has worked tirelessly to forge bonds between AIA San Antonio, the profession, and the community. A seasoned practitioner, Diane returned to academia in the early 1990s with a desire to mentor the next generation of architects. She was a key member in UTSA’s quest to become the eighth accredited School of Architecture in Texas. Because of her tireless fundraising efforts while serving on the AIA San Antonio Board of Directors, UTSA’s Library was able to acquire a vast collection of architecture books essential to securing accreditation. Simultaneously, she pioneered an AIA San Antonio Endowed Scholarship for the School of Architecture, which has grown to more than 40,000 dollars. Diane’s design studios are among the highest rated at the university. She constantly looks for opportunities to expand her classroom into the world of professional practice. In a bold move, Diane initiated a partnership between Bexar County and UTSA to renew Raymond Russell Park. This 19-acre green space offered her students a real world design-build opportunity, and the results have been spectacular.

Sinclair Black, FAIA, 2011 Award for Community Service in Honor of James D. Pfluger, FAIA

Described as “a man who prefers to wade daily into the messy fray of building the city he so loves and cherishes, rather than issue proclamations from behind the fortified walls of academia, or maintain the relative anonymity of private practice,” Sinclair Black, FAIA, has demonstrated a positive impact on urban, environmental, and neighborhood issues and on the lives and work of future architects. Sinclair’s support of the excellence in urban community development is seen in such initiatives as his volunteer work on the Town Lake Beautification Committee, on the boards for the Trust for Public Land and Central Texas Chapter of the Congress for the New Urbanism. His design work lives in the Great Streets Master Plan for over 200 city blocks in downtown Austin. He has endeavored throughout his career to facilitate consensus on a broad range of matters affecting the built environment, and he has spent countless hours providing pro-bono input on such projects as Triangle Park, Seaholm Power Plant, and the Palmer Redevelopment. He has been a strong advocate of “Smart Growth” and a pioneer in downtown and mixed-use development. States one of Sinclair’s colleagues, “Sinclair Black is the model of how architects can positively influence the world around them through good design that is performed in the service of the greater good.”