Tampa, FL…….. Alfonso Architects has received two design awards from AIA Tampa Bay, a Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. The 35 person firm, led by President Alberto Alfonso, AIA received the H. Dean Rowe, FAIA Award for the Tampa Covenant Church. This is the top honor awarded from the jury of non-competing, award-winning, out of state architects. Alfonso Architects also received a Merit Award for the Chihuly Collection, in the commercial category.
The modernist Tampa Covenant Church is a combination of new construction and renovation. The project includes a 25,000 sq. ft. building that provides a sanctuary, administrative offices and classrooms for the congregation of four hundred-fifty. In addition, two existing single level buildings were renovated and the exterior space, including parking, lighting and landscaping, was redesigned. “The challenge,” according to Alberto Alfonso, AIA was “to establish an intimate church campus by creating a new exterior courtyard that would act as a catalyst for community interaction and as the physical nexus joining new and existing buildings.” The church, a pro bono project for the firm, has also won Archdaily’s Building of the Year in the Religious category and the AIA Florida Award of Design Excellence.
The Chihuly Collection located in St. Petersburg, Florida, is the first installation of world-renowned artist Dale Chihuly’s art in a building specifically designed for that purpose. The exhibition, theater and retail space are the result of an intimate collaboration between artist and architect. “Early in the design process,” Alfonso notes, “we discovered a shared affinity for the works of Italian architect and glass artist Carlo Scarpa. This became a common thread for the materiality and presentation strategies which drove the richness of palette that includes western red cedar, venetian plaster and raw steel.” Alfonso transformed an existing 10,000-square-foot concrete shell into 12 individual environments which respond directly to the theory and basis of Chihuly’s art.
Cuban born, Alfonso was educated at The University of Florida where he received his M.A. in 1983. With his brother Carlos and partner Angel del Monte, Alfonso Architects, Inc. was founded in 1988. Alfonso’s love of architecture developed at an early age as he was raised in the house of an architect: his father Carlos E. Alfonso, Sr. Carlos Alfonso, Sr. began his career in Havana, Cuba and fled the country with his family in 1960 to begin a successful practice in Tampa, Florida.
Alfonso received the prestigious American Institute of Architects State of Florida 2008 Design Honor Award. This award is given an individual architect, who has, by the high quality and originality of one’s design and body of work over a period of 10 or more years, advanced the cause and public value of good architecture in the state of Florida, and, by one’s leadership, has provided an inspiration to colleagues. Alfonso also received the 1987 Eduardo Garcia Award from the Florida Central Chapter of The American Institute of Architects. This award is given to the top Architectural Designer in the six county Central Florida area and is based on a submitted body of work.
Recent projects recognized by the State of Florida AIA Design Awards program include the Tampa Covenant Church, Tampa International Airport Airside C, Nielsen Media Research Global Technology Center (a 650,000 s.f. corporate campus headquarters), University of South Florida Center for Advanced Healthcare, Frank and Carol Morsani Center, the University of South Florida Medical Office Building, the Mission of St. Mary Chapel, the University of South Florida School of Psychology building, and the Hillsborough County Downtown Partnership Urban K-8 school.
Alberto Alfonso is also an accomplished painter and will be a featured artist for the second time at the 2011 Tuscan Sun Festival in Cortona, Italy. His paintings can be found in the Nielsen Media Global Technology Center, the Mission of St. Mary Chapel and Carmel Cafe.
Photo Credits: Images of Tampa Covenant Church & the Chihuly Collection © Al Hurley and Alfonso Architects.[Press Release]