Knibbe Awarded 2019 AIA Detroit Gold Medal

Elizabeth Roach
Beth Roach
August 19, 2019
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Knibbe Awarded 2019 AIA Detroit Gold Medal

Elisabeth Knibbe, FAIA, LEED AP, a principal with Quinn Evans, has been awarded the Gold Medal by AIA Detroit.  

Knibbe is the first female recipient of the award in its history. The accolade is presented annually in recognition of most distinguished service to the theory and practice of architecture or to AIA Detroit and is the highest honor the chapter can bestow upon an individual.  More information about the award and Detroit AIA's Celebration of Architecture here.

A photo of Elisabeth Knibbe standing in front of a building under construction.

For 40 years, Elisabeth Knibbe (Lis) has reinvigorated landmarks, connected people to communities, and lead with creativity and strength. She pioneered the use of historic preservation as an essential economic development tool to fund projects that have built the foundations for Detroit’s resurgence. 
Lis began working in Detroit with restoration work at the old Wayne County Building and Fox Theater in the 1980s. Since then, she designed countless projects that capitalize on the potential of buildings to strengthen the fabric of the community. From the adaptive use of long-vacant buildings, the renewal of architectural landmarks, to new infill design projects, she has been involved with projects that have led the field in reviving Detroit’s neighborhoods in Midtown, Downtown, and Southwest. Her portfolio includes the adaptive use of four dilapidated houses into the boutique Inn at Ferry Street that led to the rebirth of the Ferry Street historic district. At the Garden Theater Block on Woodward, new buildings respect adjacent historic buildings (including the landmark Garden Theater). At Woodward and Willis, a new office building explores the potential to re-establish the urban fabric with contemporary architecture. Her renewal of the McGregor Reflecting Pool and Sculpture Gardens faithfully restored a mid-century modern masterpiece central to the WSU campus. Lis’s recent work at the Wurlitzer and Metropolitan Buildings honors the early 20th century quality of craftsmanship and originality of design and links both to the future. Both transformations evoke optimism and economic opportunity while supporting the holistic lifestyle defining the future of Detroit. Her current work for Ford at the iconic Michigan Central Station will continue her legacy of strengthening Detroit’s neighborhoods and advancing urban redevelopment with creative design. 

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