Utah Public Interest Design Award Winners


First Place Winner – VOA Youth Center

VOA Youth

Location: Salt Lake City, Utah

Issues: Empowerment, Housing/Shelter-Homelessness, Learning, Well-being

Summary: The VOA Youth Center is designed to provide a safe and healing environment for the homeless youth of Utah, while contributing to the surrounding Granary and Central 9th Districts. The center strives to be a model for the future, founded on ideas of choice, dignity, and acceptance–a model conceived by the young clients themselves:

“When the community sees the new VOA Youth Center, I want them to think that it is life changing, productive in helping youth take the next step to a better life”
– a homeless youth, 2013

The Center will serve as an anchor for the developing urban environment, located within walking distance of public transit and near community partners. Ample transparency provides sitelines to the exterior, allowing for a constant visual connection to the street. The architecture has been articulated to be legible and welcoming, but also to provide safety and privacy.

Team:  MHTN Architects: Hannah Vaughn, Peggy McDonough, and Brent Agnew; Owner Representative: Michael Ferro; VOA Executive Committee: Kathy Bray, President & CEO; Mark Manazer, Chief Operating Officer; Zach Bale, Vice President of External Relations; Karen Keene, Chief Financial Officer. VOA Division Director, and Program Director: Rob Wesemann, Homeless Services; Charis Pankratz, Homeless Youth Program Director. Community Partners: Utah Pride Center, The Road Home, Department of Workforce Services, VOA Board Members, Salt Lake City School District (Homeless Liaison), Artspace, et. al.

Vision VIA

VOA Youth Center Visioning Meeting



Honorable Mention – Project:ARCHITECTURE


Location: Salt Lake City, Utah

Issues: Civic Engagement, Education, Empowerment, Women/Gender, Environmental Sustainability

Summary: Project: ARCHITECTURE is a new partnership between the Girl Scouts of Utah (GSU) and the University of Utah College of Architecture + Planning to raise awareness of careers in the built environment for women and to provide opportunities for architecture students to engage in service and creative projects. The inaugural project for this partnership is the design and construction of three summer cabins for the Girl Scouts’ Trefoil Ranch camp. In addition to this collaborative design project, the authors hosted a year-long series of outreach events to expose Girl Scout members directly to women practitioners, to provide female student mentors in design-related programs, and to offer opportunities for students and girls to visit architecture firms and construction sites.

Team and Contributors: 

Erin Carraher and Joerg Ruegemer, University of Utah College of Architecture + Planning; Lisa Hardin Reynolds, Sr. Vice President of Program, Girl Scouts of Utah and students: Marin Hebdon, Rachael Knudson, Rachel Sorenson, Amy Johans, Caitlin Thissen, Catrina Covelli, Jody Zimmer, Harrison Bush, Cameron Bowen, Xiomara Salazar, Ali Beach, Anna Gallagher, Kristine Merkel, Danielle Frohn, Jessica Batty, Sarah Winkler, Emily Black, Matthew Dennis, Aric Farnsworth, Aaron Fennell, Shawn Poor, Alex Stoddard, Ardavan Tookaloo, Steven Walters, Pingting Wei.


girl scout

Girl Scouts and Architecture students visiting ICLT Fabrication Facility