School of Architecture faculty, alums earn AIA Michigan awards

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July 10, 2019
DETROIT—It was a memorable night for the University of Detroit Mercy School of Architecture at the recent AIA Michigan Honor Awards.
Former School of Architecture Dean Will Wittig earned the AIA Michigan President’s Award. Wittig recently stepped down as after serving as dean for eight years.
“It is truly a privilege to serve the profession through my role as an educator, which gives me the opportunity to play a small role in the development of future architects who will go on to serve our communities,” Wittig said. “The satisfaction that comes from that work is reward enough, but I am truly grateful, honored, and humbled to have been selected for this recognition on behalf of AIA Michigan.”
During his tenure as dean, enrollment at the School of Architecture increased 35 percent and the 228 students in the fall of 2018 was the school’s highest number since 2011. Wittig will return to Detroit Mercy’s School of Architecture faculty in January.
In addition to Wittig’s award, Detroit Mercy alumnus Matthew Guinta ’07, ’08 was one of three winners of the AIA Michigan Young Architect Award. Guinta currently works as a project architect at HKS, Inc. in Detroit.
The St. Mary Chapel at St. Mary Hospital in Livionia was one of three winners of the AIA Michigan Honor Award and won the People’s Choice Award. The Detroit Mercy Liturgical Space Consulting Service was a significant consultant on the project.
“The importance of winning these types of honors is that the architecture and builders communities are telling others in the profession that they should study these buildings because they make an important contribution to the ongoing development of the profession, and in this case the development of a contemporary sacred space,” said Gilbert Sunghera, director of the Liturgical Space Consulting Service. “My role is helping the client articulate a vision, assist them with finding a design team capable of that vision and then review proposed schemes to see if they match that vision.”
The St. Mary Chapel also recently received the Design Award of Excellence at the New York Council for the Society of American Registered Architects and the chapel also received an M-Award for design excellency by the Masonry Institute of Michigan and AIA Michigan.
Hamilton Anderson was named the AIA Michigan Firm of the Year. Rainy Hamilton ’78, ’79 is the principal in charge at Hamilton Anderson. Hamilton earned the Alumni Achievement Spirit Award from Detroit Mercy in 2017.
To learn more about Detroit Mercy’s School of Architecture, please visit
About University of Detroit Mercy
Founded in 1877 by the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits), University of Detroit Mercy is Michigan’s largest and most comprehensive Catholic university. In 1990, University of Detroit consolidated with Mercy College of Detroit, which was founded in 1941 by the Religious Sisters of Mercy, to form University of Detroit Mercy. Detroit Mercy offers more than 100 undergraduate, graduate and professional academic degrees and programs through seven schools and colleges. Detroit Mercy educates the whole person, focusing on the value of excellent academics, service to the community and a deeper spirituality to prepare graduates to live lives of purpose. For more information, please visit
Gary J. Erwin, Associate Vice President

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