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By Tyler Kesley, Development-Project Manager (South Bend)

AIA 2015 Design Awards created, in part, by Tyler Kelsey of Holladay Properties

Cedar, White Oak, Maple, Red Oak and Poplar. These are all of the various species of wood that were intentionally, yet unintentionally, collected from a pile of construction site scraps that were turned into the Trophies pictured at the left.

I was lucky to work alongside Alliance Architects designer, Kim Sieradzki, to develop a Trophy Design for the 2015 AIA Northern Indiana Chapter Design Awards, with the intent of upcycling salvaged building materials.  Although the “woodware” pictured is not a material specifically used in the building process, the upcycled wood did serve an important role in the shipping process of another building material: structural steel.

Just a few months ago, the design awards pictured above were part of a hundred or more eight foot long, dirty, unidentifiable, beat-up pieces of lumber piled up on a construction site waiting to be collected and taken to a landfill.

Discarded lumber was repurposed into AIA Design Awards

The woodpile where the lumber for the AIA Design Awards came from is circled in red.

The lumber had been used as cribbing to provide a barrier between structural steel members during their voyage from a Robertson Building Systems manufacturing facility to the new Chase Plastics facility located at the AmeriPlex at Interstate 80/90 business park in South Bend, Indiana.


This image above shows how the lumber was used to provide a barrier between pieces of structural steel.

I salvaged six pieces of lumber from the pile, and ended up with quite the variety of species (Cedar, White Oak, Maple, Red Oak and Poplar). I had no clue that I had grabbed so many different species or what they were at the time, because the wood in raw form was too dirty to see any of the color or grain patterns.

You can see the creation of of the 2015 AIA Design Awards illustrated in the images below.


After salvaging the lumber, I cut pieces to size.


Turning a piece of dirty lumber into an AIA Design Award.


The final 9 AIA Design Awards, ready to be laser engraved.


A close up of one of the 9 final block of wood used for the 2015 AIA Northern Indiana Chapter Design Awards.


After I completed my part, I gave the pieces to Kim Sieradzki, Alliance Architects, who was responsible for the laser etching. Kim also shared in developing the design of the awards.

What do you think of this project? Share your thoughts in the comments section!


Holladay Properties is a proud supporter and contributor to the regional community and its professional organizations. This is just one example of many of how our employees get involved and do their best to make a difference.

Tyler Kelsey, a Project Manager at Holladay Properties’ South Bend Office, is a licensed architect in the state of Indiana, and is currently serving as the Vice President of the American Institute of Architects Northern Indiana Section.