Community Alliance Awards

Reserve your spot for the 2023 Community Alliance Awards!

Thursday, November 9 | 11:30 AM - 1:30 PM | Center for A+D, 140 Sutter Street, San Francisco

Since 2015, the Center for Architecture + Design and AIA San Francisco’s Community Alliance Awards has honored 100+ individuals, firms, and organizations whose overall work, leadership, and dedication has shaped the character and vibrancy of our communities and the future of our built environment.

In addition to the annual awards program, our ongoing Community Spotlight and Community Builders Series recognize the contributions of an array of extraordinary individuals and organizations for their service to the community and to the profession. Their continued efforts to engage, educate, collaborate, and advocate elevates the value of design and its impact on the experiences of our daily lives.


2022 Community Alliance Award Honorees

Social Impact Award | Museum of Craft and Design

Founded in 2004, Museum of Craft and Design has welcomed over a half a million visitors from around the globe, and showcases designers, makers and artists through an exciting and distinctive series of craft and design-focused exhibitions and public programs. As a non-collecting institution, the museum actively collaborates with artists, designers, museums and universities, as well as design venues and practitioners to create inspirational experiences in the world of craft and design for visitors of all ages.

Social Impact Award | African American Art & Culture Complex

Located in the historic Fillmore Jazz District, the African American Art & Culture Complex is one of the premier African-American arts and cultural institutions in the San Francisco Bay Area. The organization’s co-executive directors, Melonie and Melorra Green were noted in a 2019 San Francisco Chronicle headline as “Twin sisters who had a singular vision for art and culture” and for more than a decade have been the only City-owned arts and cultural center in San Francisco dedicated to Afrocentric culture, traditions, and values becoming an integral part of the African-American community's social fabric and the city of San Francisco's cultural landscape.

Resilience Award | Mechanics' Institute

Founded in 1854, the Mechanics’ Institute is one of the oldest institutions on the West Coast of the United States. Its mission is to provide a center for intellectual and cultural advancement. Located in the financial district of San Francisco, it serves individuals and families throughout the Bay Area offering a vibrant library with full-time professional staff, expert instruction and competition in chess, and a full calendar of engaging cultural events, programs, and classes.

Resilience Award | Western Neighborhoods Project

Western Neighborhoods Project is dedicated to the history of San Francisco's Richmond, Sunset, and West of Twin Peaks districts offering historic walks and talks, and preserving San Francisco’s west side history.In 2015, Western Neighborhoods Project launched the OpenSFHistoryprogram to conserve, digitize, and share with the public more than 100,000 historical images of San Francisco.

Changemaker Award | Cool Petaluma

Cool Petaluma is a grassroots effort that launched in January of 2022 with 300+ volunteers ready to take action: preparing for emergencies, reducing carbon emissions, saving water, and building vibrant communities, block-by-block, neighborhood-by-neighborhood. Their goal is to create replicable and adaptable models, that other cities adopt and personalize to inspire thousands of new people to take action together, shifting culture to build resilient and regenerative communities for generations to come.  

Changemaker Award | Gray Area

Gray Area uses digital tools to create art and design projects that benefit society. Their programs have been transforming cities and continue to transform cities into creative outlets, applying technology to solve problems, and shaping how art is created and consumed in the digital era. For over a decade they’ve generated platforms that enable creators of diverse backgrounds and perspectives who defy categorization to transcend boundaries within deep artistic collaboration. 

Revitalization Award | American Indian Cultural District

Founded on March 31, 2020, the American Indian Cultural District is the first established Cultural District of its size in the United States dedicated to recognizing, honoring, and celebrating the American Indian legacy, culture, people, and contributions. The Cultural District provides a recognized home base for the American Indian community to ensure that American Indian culture, history, and contributions will not be forgotten or overwritten. 

Revitalization Award | The Game Parlour

Located in the Inner Sunset District, The Game Parlour was started in 2018 by two San Francisco natives, Brian Lew and Benson Chiu, who raised almost $30,000 on Kickstarter noting that it was about making it a group effort from the get go and the entire business truly built around community. It has now become a destination for all ages to select from a huge library of board games while also becoming known for their mochi waffles among other tasty treats on their evolving menu provide a welcoming and comfortable space for people to meet together over tabletop games. 

Mentor Award | Sean Ticknor / Big Skills Tiny Homes

In 2009, Sean Ticknor started his own design consultant business, obtained his Bachelor of Engineering in Structural Civil Engineering from Vanderbilt University in 1999, and has been working in the construction industry ever since. His organization, Big Skills Tiny Homes provides self-discovery, and skill development to students interested in the trades. Sean leads a team of high school graduate team members to build a Tiny Home from scratch to completion, with the goal of giving the tiny house to help someone in need. Through the process of building a tiny home, students are exposed to a variety of trade disciplines and are empowered to identify their future career path. 

Mentor Award | Emily Pilloton-Lam, Girls Garage

Girls Garage gives young women tools they need to build and shape their future. Berkeley-based builder and designer Emily Pilloton-Lam imagines a world where young women grow into powerful change-makers who are unafraid to speak up, stand out, and shape the world. In her quest to empower future leaders, Pilloton-Lam merged her passion for architecture with education to found Girls Garage which opened in 2013 to become the first-ever design and building program for girls and gender-expansive youth ages 9-18. To date, participants have built 171 projects ranging from furniture for a domestic abuse shelter to a greenhouse for a community garden and fruit stand for an organization serving refugee families. All teen participants attend the program at no cost to their families.

Sandra I. Vivanco Education Award | Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts / Architecture + Design

The Ruth Asawa School of the Arts is a public, audition-based, alternative high school in the San Francisco Unified School District which is committed to equity and excellence in the arts and academics for all of their community members. Providing an experience uniquely rooted in dynamic arts programs that reflect the city’s cultural diversity the Ruth Asawa School of the Arts’ Architecture and Design department continues to show how it has been exemplary in educating and inspiring students who are creative thinkers and makers, those who like to explore the world around them, and want to be a part of shaping the built environment we live in and the objects we interact with every day.

Alliance Award | Terner Center for Housing Innovation

The mission of the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at UC Berkeley is to formulate bold strategies to house families from all walks of life in vibrant, sustainable, and affordable homes and communities. Established in 2015, the Terner Center has quickly become a leading voice in identifying, developing, and advancing innovative public and private sector solutions to the nation’s most intractable housing challenges and addressing with urgency the multiple, layered crises of housing affordability, entrenched inequities, and climate change. Named after Don Terner, a housing pioneer whose ambitious “no limits” spirit lives on in the ethos and approach to the Center’s work.

Alliance Award | Mercy Housing

Mercy Housing California is headquartered in San Francisco, with regional offices in Sacramento and Los Angeles. They are one of the nation’s largest affordable housing organizations and participate in the development, preservation, management and/or financing of affordable, program-enriched housing across the country and serve families, seniors, and people with special needs with the full spectrum of affordable housing, including supportive housing for the formerly homeless, transitional housing, permanent rental, and affordable homeownership opportunities.

Past Awardees

  • Fay Darmawi, SF Urban Film Fest (2019)
  • Public Knowledge (2019)
  • San Francisco Mayor's Office of Housing and Community Development (2015)
  • Carla Jean Johnson, City and County of San Francisco, Mayor's Office on Disability* (2016)
  • Steven H. Oliver, Oliver Ranch (2016)
  • Community Arts Stabilization Trust (2017)
  • San Francisco Department of the Environment (2017)
  • Civic Center Commons (2018)
  • The Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy (2018)
  • Charles M. Salter Associates (2015)
  • Paul Adamson, FAIA TCA Architects (2015)
  • Catherine Nueva-España (2016)
  • Associated Lighting Representatives (2016)
  • John Sealander, AIA, Ratcliff (2016)
  • Ed Ong, FAIA (2017)
  • Joel Tomei, FAIA (2017)
  • Julia Cooper, Kerri McShea, + Gianna Gard, HOK, AIASF Relocation Visioning Consultants (2018)
  • Neal Schwartz, AIASchwartz and Architecture (2018)
  • Edgar Lopez, AIA, San Francisco Public Works (2019)
  • Rose McNulty, AIA, Asian Neighborhood Design* (2016)
  • John Schlesinger, AIA, John Schlesinger, A.I.A., Architect (2016)
  • David Meckel, FAIA, California College of the Arts (2017)
  • Bill Burke, AIAPG&E (2018)
  • David Gast, AIAGast Architects (2018)
  • June Grantblink!LAB (2018)
  • Shalini Agrawal, California College of the Arts (2019)
  • Irene Cheng, California College of the Arts (2019)
  • Build San Francisco Institute (2015)
  • Leap, Arts in Education (2015)
  • Archibald Woo, AIA, Wooarchitecture (2016)
  • Center for Art and Public Life, California College of the Arts (2017)
  • Sandra Vivanco, AIA SEED, California College of the Arts (2017)
  • Gail BragerUC Berkeley (2018)
  • Miriam ChionUC Berkeley (2018)
  • Samantha Buckley, Gensler (2019)
  • Anand Sheth, AIA, Studio BBA (2019)
  • Daniel Johnson, WRNS (2015)
  • Lily Weeks, Assoc. AIA, WRNS (2016)
  • KIDmob (2016)
  • Je'Nen Chastain, Assoc. AIA, Heller Manus (2017)
  • Amélie-Phaine Crowe, Assoc. AIA, DLR Group | Kwan Henmi (2017)
  • Janette KimAll of the Above (2018)
  • Francesca Oliveira, AIASOM (2018)
  • SITELAB urban studio (2019)
  • Herman Coliver Locus Architecture (2015)
  • Siegel & Strain Architects (2016)
  • The Community Design Center (2016)
  • David Baker Architects (2017)
  • Paulett Taggart Architects (2018)
  • PYATOK | architecture + urban design (2018)
  • CleanPowerSF (2019)
  • Jeff Joslin, San Francisco Planning Department (2019)
  • Lizzy Hirsch, San Francisco Department of Public Works (2015)
  • Diana Sokolove, San Francisco Planning Department (2016)
  • Robin Abad Ocubillo, San Francisco Planning Department (2017)
  • Phil Ginsburg, San Francisco Recreation and Park Department (2017)
  • John DennisSan Francisco Public Works (2018)
  • Myrna MelgarJamestown Community Center (2018)
  • Sarah MinickSan Francisco Public Utilities Commission (2018)
  • Catherine Barner, Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy (2019)
  • Cathy Simon, FAIA, Cathy Simon FAIA Architecture and Urbanism (2019)
  • Michael Bernard, Virtual Practice Consulting (2015)
  • Roland Lau, Perkins Eastman (2015)
  • Doris Guerrero, AIA, California College of the Arts (2016)
  • Prescott Reavis, Asian Neighborhood Design (2017)
  • AIASF Latinos in Architecture Committee (2018)
  • SOMA Pilipinas + UNDISCOVERED SF (2019)
  • ACT Strand Theater (2015)
  • Friends of the Urban Forest (2015)
  • PROXY (2016)
  • 826 Valencia (2017)
  • Bayview Opera House (2017)
  • FOR-SITE Foundation (2017)
  • Brava Theater Center (2018)
  • Imprint City (2018)
  • West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project (2019)
  • The 826 Build Team (2019)
  • VP Consulting SF (2019)
  • Y-PLAN (2019)
  • 1+ program of Public Architecture (2015)
  • CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) (2015)
  • Precita Eyes Muralists Association (2015)
  • Deanna Van Buren, Designing Justice + Designing Spaces & FOURM design studio (2016)
  • Lava Mae (2016)
  • Rebuilding Together San Francisco (2016)
  • Asian Neighborhood Design (2017)
  • La Cocina (2017)
  • Donald Falk, Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Center (2017)
  • Sam MossMission Housing Development Corporation (2018)
  • Cindy WuChinatown Community Development Center (2018)
  • Youth Art Exchange (2018)
  • "The Remittance City: Reallocating Resources in Manila's Living Cemeteries" (2019) by Allison Foronda, M.Arch, California College of the Arts (2019)
  • Kenta Oye, Academy of Art University School of Architecture (2019)
  • ARH 250 Studio, California College of the Arts (2016)
  • Guerrilla Street Museum, Academy of Art University (2016)

Awards Brief

Note: Awards briefs varied in 2022
Alliance Award
Recognition of an organization or individual outside the profession who has made significant contributions to the improvement of the Bay Area’s built environment. Contributions may include advancement or development of initiatives that promote excellence in architecture; the commissioning of notable additions to the built environment; or activities that raise the public’s consciousness of the importance of excellent design in the shaping of our world and culture.
Citizen Architect Award
To recognize an individual who uses insight, talent, training, and experience to contribute meaningfully, beyond self, to the improvement of the community and human condition.
Mentor Award
Recognition of an organization or individual for their commitment in guiding their fellow professionals as they progress through all stages of their career.
Firm Achievement
Recognition of an architecture or design firm for outstanding contributions to the community, advancement of the profession, intern development, or for producing distinguished architecture.
Local Government Award
Recognition of an elected or appointed organization or individual, public administrator, or institutional leader who establishes and contributes to the development of laws, regulations, policies, or initiatives that promote excellence in architecture.
Emerging Professional Award
Recognition of an architect, architectural designer, or design firm practicing 10 years or fewer who exemplifies the highest qualities of leadership and demonstrates an unparalleled commitment to AIA San Francisco, to the design and construction industry, to the community, or to other professional organizations.
Sandra I. Vivanco Education Award
Changed to the Sandra I. Vivanco Education Award in 2020 Recognizes individuals or organizations who uphold the values to inspire students, peers and the community that extends beyond the boundaries of the pedagogy into practice.
Student Award
Recognition of an individual student, student team, student organization, or student organization who has demonstrated a commitment to the community or the building industry.
Social Impact Award
Recognition of an organization or individual for extended commitment to community service or significant contribution evidenced by a positive impact on urban, environmental, or neighborhood issues.
Chapter Service Award
Recognition of the work of an organization or individual who, by their skill, professionalism, dedication, ability, commitment, or volunteer contributions, has consistently advanced the common goals of AIA San Francisco.
Resilience Award
Recognizes individuals or organizations who have been a mainstay in the community and whose mission aligns with the historic documentation and preservation of community stories.
Changemaker Award
Recognizes individuals or organizations who apply art, technology + research to tackle societal problems while also providing resources for growth to other communities in the Bay Area.


Annabelle Udo-O'Malley
AIASF Programs Director