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Erik Bootsma's design  for St. Aubin Village in Detroit, Michigan.
One of Erik Bootsma’s architectural renderings for the St. Aubin Village project


Alumnus architect Erik Bootsma (’01) has received a 2022 Design Exploration Award from the Urban Guild — a group of professional architects animated by a love for the time-tested principles of design — for his work on St. Aubin Village in Detroit, Michigan.

Erik Bootsma (’01)
Erik Bootsma (’01)

According to the Urban Guild, the Design Exploration Award “celebrates the built or unbuilt work that demonstrates visionary innovation within an urban context.” In this light, the Guild commends Mr. Bootsma’s plans for St. Aubin Village, which “show the value and power of design thinking for challenges still seeking solutions … [and] should encourage all who seek to find solutions through drawing!”

The project, according to Mr. Bootsma, aims “to build a physical home for the parishioners of the St. Joseph Shrine, a parish managed by the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest.” Many parishioners drive upward of an hour to attend Mass at the Shrine, which imposes not only a practical burden, but also leaves parishioners with little continuity between their daily and sacramental lives.

Mr. Bootsma hopes St. Aubin Village will one day help to remedy the situation. “A mix of uses and incomes are planned so that a true Catholic community can be formed in the neighborhood of the church,” he says. The church stands at the heart of the design, flanking the village green alongside the community market and extensive, inexpensive housing where families and friendships can flourish.

The goal, Mr. Bootsma told the Urban Guild, is nothing less than “transforming the existing commuter community of worshipers into a community every day of the week, not just on Sundays.”