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The 2019 John Wellborn Root Award for Emerging Professionals is presented to Damon Wilson, AIA

THE AIA ILLINOIS 2019 JOHN WELLBORN ROOT AWARD FOR EMERGING PROFESSIONALS has been presented to DAMON WILSON, AIA. A private ceremony took place 23 October 2019 at The Cliff Dwellers.

Damon Wilson, AIA, an Associate at bailey edward has already established himself as a thought leader and innovator within the educational design community. Through constant dedication, inquisition, and creativity, Damon exemplifies what it means to achieve success in education environment design. Above all, he brings an enthusiasm for architecture that deliberately teaches and informs everyone.

“I believe that good education architecture is a human endeavor that is forward-thinking, recognizes ecological consequences, and realizes the social impact of design for students of all ages.”- Damon Wilson

Damon’s thought leadership started early in his career. While studying at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), Damon became interested in the impact of educational environments on students and learning culminating in his thesis, Labyr(inth)atory for Learning where he explored the connection between the arts and learning and was awarded the Donald E. and Margaret P. Ferry Award for Excellence inArchitecture.

Professionally, Damon has worked on over 40 projects with more than 15 k-12 and higher education clients designing campus-wide and building-wide master plans, new construction and renovations for active learning environments, classrooms, and laboratories. His work has already received design recognition from awards programs such as: American School and University, AIA Prairie Chapter, and Association of Licensed Architects - Illinois. Through articles in publications such as: School Planning and Management, Society for College and University Planning (SCUP), SchoolConstruction News, and Laboratory Design, Damon shares his design success with the architectural and planning community.

Damon delves deeply into the design process to truly create outstanding visions for an institution’s future. Specifically, Damon’s design work has involved setting prototype standards for active learning environments from small to lecture-sized classrooms for the University of Illinois – Chicago (UIC) which are already shaping the future of learning environments on campus in their new construction and renovation projects. His master plan design visions are re-imagining the student experience on campuses like UIC and UIUC with projects such as the UIC Daley Library Addition, the UIC Learning Hub, and the UIUC Illini Union Addition. Many of his projects push pedagogy into new arenas such as UIC’s flexible laboratory simulation environments, the Pharmacy Lab and Surgical Innovation and Training Lab, which capitalize on advanced technology for hands-on training.

Being a design and trend leader, Damon’s enthusiasm to tease out life’s possibilities leads him to invigorate and inspire others through educational processes. Damon is aregular visiting design juror at the UIUC School of Architecture where he brings a unique perspective of the theoretical and practical. As a panelist for UIUC’s Center for Innovation & Learning’s Re-imagining the Classroom Symposium, Damon has spoken on current and future design trends to faculty, architects, and planners from across the state of Illinois.

Damon’s eye for design excellence is evident in all he does. His work drives the firm forward and he assists in developing design standards and the company’s educational design vision. Additionally, his creativity flows through his work and mentoring with ideas that improve the typical education environment while increasing engagement for students and faculty.

The awards reception also honored Scott Nacheman, AIA, with the Charles W. Nothnagel Award for Public Service and Bryan Hudson, AIA, with the R. Buckminster Fuller Award for Social Good.

All award winners have positively impacted citizens throughout the state of Illinois by helping create communities in which people are drawn to live and work, and to live healthier and happier.


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