Saundra Little Receives Distinguished Architecture Alumni Award
October 22, 2021
Quinn Evans Principal Recognized by Lawrence Technological University
Saundra Little, FAIA, LEED AP, NOMA, a principal and director of diversity and inclusion with Quinn Evans, has been recognized with Lawrence Technological University’s 2021 Distinguished Architecture Alumni (DAA) Award. The award was presented on October 7 in Southfield, Michigan and followed by a lecture entitled “Design by History” during which Little chronicled her career journey, her ongoing interest in creating equitable communities, and her advocacy for the critical role of design in celebrating local heritage and revitalizing the urban realm.
An award-winning architect, Little is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the organization’s highest honor for individual achievement. She is only the second Black woman in Michigan to earn the recognition.
Little has planned and designed many notable projects in Detroit and throughout the Midwest. She led a collaborative team to document and honor sites associated with the Black civil rights movement in Detroit, a part of the National Park Service’s efforts to provide a more inclusive interpretation of American history. She served as architect and community engagement specialist for an inclusive master plan for the Warrendale Cody Rouge Neighborhood, also in Detroit.
In Hamtramck, Michigan, she led the creation of a plan for an underutilized recreation district that leverages the significance of the Negro National League history in the area and will help celebrate the area’s multicultural heritage. Little also helped lead the transformation of the former Fiberglas Tower in Toledo, Ohio, into a mixed-use office and residential building now known as the Tower on the Maumee. Other projects under her direction include the national Arab-American Museum in Dearborn, and the David Klein Art Gallery and the Randolph Hotel in Detroit.
“Saundra’s outstanding work, her engagement and leadership in the community, and her impact as a mentor to students and young professionals alike made her an exceptional candidate for this honor,” says Christopher Stefani, director of external academic initiatives with LTU’s College of Architecture and Design and Chair of the LTU CoAD Alumni Cabinet. “I first met Saundra as a student myself and was excited to see what hard work, dedication, and passion could help one achieve in Detroit when applied with care and thoughtfulness.”
“LTU takes pride in developing architects who become leaders in their professions and communities. Saundra is the perfect example of these qualities,” says Karl Daubmann, dean of LTU’s College of Architecture and Design. “Her commitment to furthering diversity, equity, and inclusion in the profession is an inspiration for young designers of color. Her role in the restoration and revitalization of Detroit and the greater region could not make LTU more proud.”
In addition to her design and management work at Quinn Evans, Little is a founding member of the National Association of Minority Architects’ (NOMA) Detroit chapter and now serves as NOMA’s Midwest vice president. She has focused much of her career on mentorship and introducing hundreds of young minority students to the architectural profession.
Little holds a Master of Architecture (1998) and a B.S. in Architecture and Design (1994) from Lawrence Technological University.
“This award has had me looking back over my career and I have realized that much of my interest in culture and history came from my time as an architecture student at LTU,” Little has stated. “I had some excellent professors who guided me on my path toward revitalizing the urban realm and creating equitable communities.”