2021 DESIGN EXCELLENCE AWARD
Rhoda Kennedy, AIA, LEED AP
Deborah Berke Partners, Partner
The 2021 Design Excellence Award recognizes outstanding contributions that advance the discourse and practice of Architecture through design. The University of Florida School of Architecture is proud of the accomplishments and the contributions that her years of service and study represent, and we honored this personal milestone with this well-deserved and well-earned award.
Rhoda Kennedy began working at Deborah Berke Partners in 2002, and she became a Partner of the firm in 2019. Rhoda provides leadership on projects with complex programmatic requirements and has the ability to reconcile clients’ needs and manage extensive project teams in a cohesive and efficient way. She has a depth of experience working on projects for higher education institutions, museums and arts organizations, and non-profits, and she leads programming studies and consensus-building processes with interested stakeholders. Rhoda received her Bachelor of Arts degree at New College of Florida and earned her Master of Architecture degree from the University of Florida.
Her notable projects include the Mannes conservatory at the New School University, the High Street Residence Hall at Dickinson College, and the conceptual design of The Women’s Building in New York City.
2021 DISTINGUISHED ARCHITECTURE ALUMNI AWARD
The 2021 Distinguished Architecture Alumni Award recognizes a distinguished alumnus of the School of Architecture, chosen by the faculty in recognition of outstanding contributions to the school and the profession. The University of Florida School of Architecture is proud of the accomplishments and the contributions that his years of service and study represent, and we honored this personal milestone with this well-deserved and well-earned award.
Kha Le-Huu graduated summa cum laude from UF with a Master of Arts in Architecture and received the AIA Henry Adams Medal as the top student of his class. Recruited by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill from graduate school, Le-Huu completed five years there as a senior designer before founding Le-Huu Partners, Architects/Urbanists. LHP was awarded the Young Architect Design Award by UF Architecture Faculty and Florida’s Governor’s Council for Sustainable Florida Award for Outstanding Performance. Since its inception, LHP has been at the forefront of sustainable architecture and urbanism. LHP projects have been published in national and international design publications such as the New York Times, World Architecture, Architectural Record, Florida Architects, and Designers West. LHP’s work was featured in “Worldwide Work: Curved Architecture,” an international exhibition from the United Kingdom to Australia highlighting emerging architects.
2021 DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARD
Everald Colas, AIA, NOMA, Principal
The 2021 Distinguished Service Award recognizes outstanding service that advances the school and the profession. The University of Florida School of Architecture is proud of the accomplishments and the contributions that his years of service and study represent, and we honored this personal milestone with this well-deserved and well-earned award.
Everald Colas is an award-winning Haitian American architect, educator, and storyteller with design experience in hospitality, aviation, multifamily, and institutional buildings. He has led a variety of internationally acclaimed projects during his time as a practitioner. As a designer, Everald specializes in projects that require a sensitive approach to integrating mixed-use buildings in a historical context. He is skilled in guiding clients through the process of finding their project’s identity within numerous constraints, helping to ensure that complex projects are distilled to their design essence. He is motivated to find solutions for designing equitable spaces for the voiceless and believes that design is a tool for social change.
Everald is the owner of Storyn Studio for Architecture, a practice that uniquely balances its work at both the local scale and the international scale, providing precise research of the client’s ethos and project parameters to create unique spaces that tell a project’s sole story. Currently, Storyn is the design-architect for Morimoto Wynwood Miami; Marriott Moxy of St. Petersburg, FL.; and corporate architect for Buya Restaurant brand in Europe.
Prior to creating Storyn, Everald was a senior architect for Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) and co-lead the mixed-use E126 Gotham Residential project in New York City.
Everald holds both a Master of Architecture degree and a Master of Science in Architectural Pedagogy degree from The University of Florida. He has been a guest critic at Columbia University, Pratt Institute, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Florida, Marywood University, the University of South Florida, and the University of Cincinnati. In 2018, he co-founded and organized the annual University of Florida School of Architecture COMING HOME Alumni Lecture Series. Everald is a board director for Tampa Bay Businesses for Culture and the Arts, The James Museum of Western in Wildlife Art , and an advisory council member for the University of Florida School of Architecture.
2021 LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
An associate professor in the University of Florida College of Design, Construction and Planning School of Architecture, passed away Saturday, Dec. 12. He was 59.
A native of Houston, Texas, Kuenstle was the longest-tenured faculty member in the school, joining UF as a visiting assistant professor in 1993. Before his arrival in Gainesville, Kuenstle served as an adjunct associate professor at the New York Institute of Technology for four years. Prior to his time at NYIT, he earned a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Houston in 1989 and received a master’s degree in architecture from Columbia University in 1991.
“Our entire college is grieving right now,” UF Acting Director of the School of Architecture Frank Bosworth said. “We not only lost a valued member of the architecture community, but we also lost a husband and a father to a beautiful family. The legacy Michael left on this college is one that will live forever.”
The long-time member of the American Institute of Architects also co-founded the architecture firm of Clark + Kuenstle Associates, Inc. Once described as “a willing and unselfish educator dedicated to serving Florida’s future architects,” and “a teacher with a passion and talent for architectural education that sets him apart from other educators,” Kuenstle published and won multiple design awards for his building projects throughout North America.
“Michael was a loved and cherished member of not just our college, but the University of Florida as a whole,” Dean Chimay Anumba said. “He was a well-respected professor adored by students, faculty and staff, and our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife Nancy, his son Lucas and everyone devastated by this loss.”
He is survived by his wife of 25 years Nancy M. Clark, along with his son Lucas.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in Michael’s memory to the American Lung Association.
By Kyle Niblett
2021 YOUNG ARCHITECT DESIGN AWARD
Jason Jensen, AIA, LEED AP
The 2021 Young Architect Design Award is awarded to an alumnus who has graduated within the last twenty years and has made significant design contributions in the architectural profession. The University of Florida School of Architecture is proud of the accomplishments and the contributions that his years of service and study represent, and we honored this personal milestone with this well-deserved and well-earned award.
Jason Jensen is the President and CEO of Wannemacher Jensen Architects, an interdisciplinary architecture firm in St. Petersburg, Miami, and Tarpon Springs, Florida. His career began in New York before returning to his hometown St. Petersburg promoting innovative, community-centered architecture across Florida. Jason has expanded the traditional Architect role to include construction and development controlling the entire building process. The WJ construction arm WJ Create is now building a significant percentage of WJ projects in a truly integrated delivery method. The Firm also formed WJ Development and recently completed a large mixed-use project as a developer, Architect, and Contractor. Jason continues to design a firm and process that enables and perpetuates progressive Architecture. By owning more aspects of the process barriers are removed and the Architect is empowered. The Architect can choose the site, the construction method, and the programming that will benefit the surrounding community and environment positively.
As a University of Florida graduate, he remains active with the UF School of Architecture as a guest critic and lecturer. He has been a guest critic/lecturer at the University of South Florida, Pratt University, Urban Land Institute, Florida Recreation and Parks Association, and the Green Building Council. He also advocates for design and urban planning initiatives through the Executive Board of the St. Petersburg Chamber of commerce. The goal is to educate and promote design, zoning, and policies that embrace sustainable community-focused design.
He is a strong advocate for sustainable architecture and a LEED Accredited Professional. He designed the first LEED Platinum Community center and seeks to integrate green design elements into every project. He is the recipient of twenty-one AIA Tampa Bay awards, two AIA Florida awards, and two Dean Rowe Awards. The firm has participated in multiple international design competitions and has been recognized by local and international media. The firm was named firm of the year by AIA Tampa bay. Individually Jason received the Garcia young Architects award and the UF Young Architects award.
Recent notable projects include the James Museum, The Carter G. Woodson Museum, the Pier Approach Park, Doral Legacy Park, the St. Petersburg Student Services building, Madeira Beach City Hall, and The Mirror development. With each project, Jason seeks creative design solutions that promote community and client ambitions, advance creative development, redefine conventions, and generate purpose-driven solutions.