2013 Firm Award Winner

Watch: Little- 2013 Firm of the Year

AIA North Carolina 2013 Firm Award Winner – Little

The AIA North Carolina Firm Award is given to a North Carolina firm that has consistently produced quality architecture with a verifiable level of client satisfaction for a period of at least 10 years as an established presence in this state. This award is the highest honor the Chapter can bestow upon a firm. This year the firm award goes to Little from Charlotte.

For over 40 years Little has provided professional services to a broad range of clients in North Carolina and the nation. They have equally led the profession in firm organization, design and community. Little has demonstrated that a firm can – and must evolve as the practice of architecture changes. They have shown their commitment in advancing design to enhance building performance and human productivity, in advancing the quality of life in our communities through service and public leadership, and in advancing the profession through commitments to education, professional service and legislative action.

Their interaction with the client starts with this firm quote, “Brilliant Design begins with a question: How can we make your project everything you dream it can be?” The firm has always been a leader in presenting this “value proposition” to clients, users, and community through their work.

Bruce McKagan with Musak Corporation backs up this claim about the firm by saying, “Little has always stressed to us that their goal is not merely to design innovative spaces and buildings, but rather to surpass our expectations in every way possible.” While providing service to a diverse and changing set of clients and project types, Little has succeeded in demonstrating that design can measurably improve not just environmental conditions, but also human performance. These attributes are evident in Little’s projects focused on sustainability as well as new programs for office work and workplace effectiveness.

One shining project example that embodies these claims is the new headquarters for Founders Federal Credit Union. CEO, Bruce Brumfield sums up his experience with the firm by saying, “The professional and meticulous approach Little has taken is nothing short of amazing. From interviewing our employees, listening to their needs, integrating our textile background into the building and site design, and assisting in the bid process, I couldn’t be happier. I cannot imagine beginning this journey without Little’s knowledge and assistance.”

The firm has been actively engaged in an empirical assessment of the results of their buildings, and approaches projects through the culture of collaboration to embrace unforeseen and new opportunities through this team approach. Dedication to these principles led Little to embrace BIM (Building Information Modeling) as far back as 2000 as a Beta Test firm for increasing ‘integrated practices” and team leadership. From this, Little has provided true leadership in how BIM has evolved by expanding the range diverse project possibilities.

Little’s contribution to education exceeds that of most firms and presents and exemplary standard for the industry. The firm sponsors educational opportunities for youth, college students, and interns through practice. They actively participate in mentorship programs, advisory councils, continuing education research and in higher education. In all of these efforts they demonstrate an uncanny commitment to diverse approaches, diverse services, diverse employees and diverse opportunities.

One regionally important example of the firm’s contribution was its involvement with bringing AIA National funding for the 2004 AIA North Carolina Summer Design Conference. Their efforts resulted in an international publication called “Future Office,” which represented current research in workplace design effectiveness and demonstrated successful profession & higher education collaboration.

In his nominating statement for the firm, Ken Lambla, AIA, Dean of the UNC Charlotte College of Arts & Architecture explains, “I have direct, daily experience with many of Little’s projects, at the university, as well as for many other clients. I rate their buildings as successful examples of knowledge in practice, design excellence, and raising the value of design to new levels.”

For decades, Little has been dedicated to building community connections by enhancing educational, cultural, spiritual and physical opportunities for all their users. Backing up this claim, Jim Roberts, Vice President for Business with Campbell University said of his experience with them, “I’ve worked with about 20 architecture firms, and Little brings a depth of architecture that we have never experienced. They have truly transformed the face of our campus.”

Little creates branded environments that sell, signature marketplaces that maximize return, and technologies and processes that assure speed to market. Sarmista Boal, Senior Planning and Design Manager at Home Depot describes her experience with the firm by saying, “Little is one of my favorite strategic partners. They epitomize everything we can do together creatively to innovate new generation retail experiences. They have some of the most talented individuals we’ve had the pleasure to work with that truly make a difference.”

As a final testament to the firm’s remarkable level of client satisfaction, Robert Bertges, Former Director for Wachovia Corporate Real Estate sums up their experience with this year’s firm award recipient by explaining, “First and foremost, Little has a service ethic that is unmatched in the industry, They have an incredible ability to interpret needs and tirelessly provide solutions that effectively respond to those needs. For a relationship to last and grow it must be built on trust. If there is trust, a firm has the opportunity to be more than a vendor – they can be a true partner. To us, Little was a true valued partner.”

AIA North Carolina is pleased to present this year’s Firm Award to Little.