–by Sylvania AdVantage Staff
PUBLICATION DATE: June 16, 2020
Dwight N. Gilliland, AIA, LEED AP, NCARB has been named the 2020 Toledo Architect of the Year in recognition of his commitment to the profession by the Toledo Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.
Gilliland grew up in rural southeast Michigan, graduating from Whiteford Agricultural High School in Ottawa Lake, Mich. During high school he took classes in drafting and art, but it was an exploratory class in architecture that opened the door to the rest of his life. Gilliland also developed his love of mentoring by assisting the art teacher with elementary students. After high school, he earned a Bachelor of Science in Architecture degree from Lawrence Institute of Technology in Southfield, Mich, in 1978.
Following that, he began his career with Hunter Building Corporation, a Toledo custom cabinet shop, creating shop drawings for regional major department stores’ interior décor. He then went on to work a short time with Itil and Associates working with one of the first computer aided drafting systems in Toledo. He spent a year working with The Collaborative Inc. before settling in with Samborn, Steketee, Otis, and Evans for eight years. While there he developed his knowledge of multi-discipline work traveling for Hickory Farms mall stores and he also realized his enjoyment of small projects while moving multiple departments of St. Vincent’s hospital. While at SSOE, he mentored high school students with the Toledo Chapter of the American Institute of Architecture’s High School Design Competition and also with the Boy Scouts of America Explorer program. Also, while at SSOE, he received his license to practice architecture in 1985. To learn about the operations of a small firm, Gilliland spent three years with Spring Valley Architects before leaving to start his own practice of Architecture by Design, Ltd. in the summer of 1992.
During the past 28 years, Gilliland has grown Architecture by Design (ABD), from its start in his basement to its present home in Mayberry Village in one of his own projects, now with a staff of 11.
Over the years, Gilliland has mentored over 30 students from Bowling Green State University and other regional architectural schools, along with doing presentations about architecture to elementary, middle, and high school students. He has taught at The University of Toledo’s Scott Park and presented to classes at Bowling Green State University. In addition to ABD helping thousands of small businesses find a home, ABD’s manufacturing work at Container Graphics Corporation has been published in VP Buildings’ 2000 Hall of Fame, Revé Salon and Spa was published in 2007’s Salon Today, and Interrupt Marketing was recognized with an AIA Toledo 2014 Design Awards Citation.
In addition to his professional work, Gilliland has actively served the community. He has served as president and treasurer of AIA Toledo, five years as chair of the Celebration of Architecture committee, and 10 years on the communication committee. He has volunteered as a juror for student projects at BGSU’s Department of Architecture & Environmental Design for over 10 years and has served on its Architectural Advisory Board since 2016. While his sons were growing up, he helped with the Boy Scouts as Den Leader and Cub Master in Northwood, Ohio and Blissfield, Mich. and Scout Master and high adventure treks planner in Deerfield, Mich. He helped with South Riga Go-Getters-4H Goats and Zion Lutheran Church, Ottawa Lake, Mich. as an assistant youth leader. He has served as church president at Zion Lutheran of Latcha, Ohio and at Zion Lutheran of Ottawa Lake, Mich. where he has served as both interim and assistant pastor. As a civic leader Gilliland served on the Zoning Board of Appeals and the Master Planning Committee for Northwood, Ohio and for the last 15 years on the Planning Commission for Riga Township.