The Public Service Award acknowledges the impact that an individual or group can have on the world of Architecture
2020 AIA Connecticut Public Service Winners
Beverly Field Pierz
Beverly Field Pierz has created design solutions appropriate to saving historic buildings, and as Vice-Chair of the Wethersfield HDC helped to prepare guidelines for preservation of the largest historic district in the state.
As Chair of the Economic Development and Improvement Commission, she coordinated efforts of the Town Planner, elected and appointed officials, and town residents with an International Design Competition for a long-range plan to develop the town’s main commercial thoroughfare.
She partnered with the Wethersfield Advisory Committee for the Handicapped and United Cerebral Palsy to establish design parameters for the first independent-living apartment facility federal funded and constructed for people with disabilities that started a wave of similar projects by other groups.
When asked by the Department of Mental Retardation to assist with their plans for deinstitutionalization, she created a prototype design that was used by Architects working with the DMR to construct community-based group homes in cities and towns throughout Connecticut. A grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to develop, test and teach techniques to achieve accessibility to all programs that take place in publicly funded facilities resulted in the game of “WIN?” that has been used by non-profit groups and public agencies to make plans for their future.
Beverly continues to mentor artists and architects with development of their work and as a Docent in the NBMAA to educate people of all ages with tours and lectures pertaining to art and architecture in our world.
Nominated by Joseph Pierz, AIA Emeritus
Retired Deputy State Building Inspector
For at least the last two decades Dan Tierney has been an invaluable resource for the design profession in Connecticut. As Deputy State Building Inspector he responded to innumerable questions and complaints, provided interpretations of the State codes, and reviewed countless requests for code modifications. No matter what the situation was, you could always count on Dan to provide levity and good humor in his manner of dealing with architects and others. Sometimes very costly mistakes on projects were avoided with a simple phone call to Dan. Very often he would tell you something you really didn’t want to hear, but you could rely on it as accurate. Even though he worked on the public enforcement side, he was also not shy about calling out a local building official’s errors in understanding the code or enforcing it. Dan had a great work ethic. He responded to any issue quickly and never left us hanging. Whereas all of the staff at the Office of the State Building Inspector have provided great service to the architects of Connecticut, we truly miss Dan Tierney’s presence there. All of us architects are grateful for public service to the construction industry.
Nominated by Milton Gregory Grew, AIA
Founder of The Front Door Project
Deb Cohen is a West Hartford architecture enthusiast, photographer, and the woman behind The Front Door Project, a 75,000+ strong online community. She is a member of the West Hartford Historic District Commission, an Ambassador for the Connecticut Office of Tourism, a new Trustee of Preservation Connecticut, and a Licensed Realtor with Coldwell Banker. The Front Door Project (@thefrontdoorproject on Instagram) is not only a collection of stunning homes (mostly in Connecticut but also featuring Deb’s travels throughout New England and the East Coast), it also serves as great source of approachable architectural education for architects and non-architects alike. Deb captions her photos with interesting tidbits discussing key aspects of the homes she features – how to determine what features of a home are original, why a specific roofline is associated with a certain architectural style, or which prominent insurance executive commissioned the home for their family in the late 1800s. In addition to her classic “front door” residential photos, she regularly features 18th and 19th Century Inns, commercial districts, and museum sites, with insight on the history and context of the architecture and how the building’s functions have evolved over the years. Her passion for architecture invites followers from all over the world to our beautiful state through the community she has created.
Nominated by Karen Parzych, AIA
Executive Director of Neighborhood Housing Services of New Haven
Jim Paley has been executive director of Neighborhood Housing Services of New Haven for the past 40 years and executive director of the New Haven HomeOwnership Center since its inception in 2001. His dissertation (Cornell University, 1980) focused on residential mobility patterns in New York City, and he has presided over a program that has grown from a small housing rehabilitation organization to a sophisticated housing development corporation that concentrates on neighborhood stabilization, resident leadership training, community organizing, affordable housing production, historic preservation, and homebuyer education programs.
Jim’s professional expertise focuses on innovative financing packages; neighborhood revitalization strategies; homeownership education, counseling, and training; and project management. He serves on the Community Advisory Board for JPMorgan Chase, and is currently on the Board of Directors and a member of the Loan Committee of Community Housing Capital, a Community Development Financial Institution that provides financing to organizations that are part of the national NeighborWorks® network. Jim has been a past instructor for NeighborWorks® Training Institutes, teaching courses that focused on homeownership and homebuyer education and counseling. He is personally committed to green building practices and oversaw the LEED Platinum Certification of NHS of New Haven’s Home Improvement and Energy Conservation Laboratory.
Neighborhood Housing Services of New Haven strengthens neighborhoods by developing affordable housing and increasing homeownership opportunities; providing homebuyer education and financial coaching; making homes safe, beautiful and energy efficient; and working to improve the perceptions of the communities in which we are working by helping residents take charge of their neighborhoods.
Nominated by Tim Applebee, AIA
PAST PUBLIC SERVICE AWARD RECIPIENTS