|New Brunswick, NJ / Philadelphia, PA, – The American Institute of Architects-New Jersey Chapter (AIA-NJ) has named DIGroup Architecture as this year’s recipient of its coveted “Firm of the Year” Award for 2022. DIGroup will be among the honorees at AIA-NJ’s Annual Service Awards Gala to be held at the Stone House in Warren, N.J., this Saturday, February 25th.
DIGroup also will be recognized at the event as the chapter’s “Merit Award Recipient” for its Clinton Hill Community & Early Childhood Center and with the “Interior Architecture Group Category Honor” for the UNITI Cultural Center at SUNY Stony Brook.
“The Firm of the Year Award is particularly special for everyone at DIGroup, who holds in their hearts the same belief as our founding principles – a shared passion for making a meaningful change in the lives of those we are privileged to serve,” said Vince Myers, DIGroup president and co-founder. “We view our role as architects to be influencers of culture, driving communities and the built environment toward equity and opportunity for the greater good.”
Dedicated to supporting its member organizations, AIA-NJ advances the public’s understanding of architecture through advocacy, education and service. It is one of nearly 300 local chapters of AIA, a professional organization that serves the public’s needs and builds awareness of the role of architects and architecture in American society. AIA represents over 70,000 licensed architects and associated professionals nationwide.
“It has been said the greatest acknowledgement of one’s work is rooted in that which is bestowed by one’s peers and the Firm of the Year Award represents just that,” added Jeffrey Venezia, CEO and co-founder. “It also shines a much-deserved light on our brightest stars – all of our talented architects, interior and graphics designers and client support team members, all of whom contribute to making our vision and that of our clients and end users a reality.”
A History of Making a Difference
Earning the Firm of the Year honor can be traced to DIGroup’s earliest days that grew out of an unprecedented collaboration among five competing architectural firms that boldly formed a joint venture in 2000 known as NJK-12 Architects. The entity’s focus: pursuing the design and construction of 21st century public schools in New Jersey’s most neglected urban communities, known as “Abbott Districts.” This impassioned approach to transform urban schools and neighborhoods across the state into communities of hope and opportunity resulted in multiple project awards from this state-run program.
With the venture’s success came mutual respect and a common language of values. United around a philosophy of “Architecture for Change” – a belief and commitment to transformative designs that connect people, improve lives and enrich and strengthen communities – four of the firms merged in 2006 to form Design Ideas Group Architecture & Planning, now known as DIGroup Architecture, headquartered in New Brunswick, N.J.
The union created a formidable team with deep roots in education, senior Living, healthcare and civic markets throughout New Jersey and New York City.
From the very beginning, DIGroup’s focus has and continues to be on positively impacting the health and wellness of the most vulnerable communities. From designing new inner-city schools and federally qualified health centers, to repurposing historic buildings into supportive housing and community resources, DIGroup’s projects deliver impact at the local level and play a significant role in improving the quality of life for its residents.
DIG has grown into the largest majority Black-owned architectural, interior and graphic design firm in New Jersey, and has since achieved MBE, DBE and SBE certifications in the Tri-State area. To further the firm’s commitment to serving urban areas, DIG expanded and opened an office in Philadelphia in 2019.
“Being a certified minority-owned business gives the firm the platform to serve as a role model for others and resonate with the communities they serve,” added Myers who noted this is a catalyst for DIGroup’s investment in advancing the architectural profession by serving as mentors through ACE Mentor Program of America and offering internships to expose students to career possibilities and shepherd them into their industry.