In May 2013, the Structural Engineering Association of Michigan awarded Professor Emeritus Robert M. Darvas its Lifetime Achievement Award.
In making this award the criteria required:
Outstanding Achievement in the Field: Chapel of the Air Force Academy In Colorado, designated as one of the 10 best buildings in America; the Kresge Foundation Building in Troy, MI; State of Michigan Capitol Building Restoration in Lansing, MI: Gunnar Birkerts’ underground addition to the Michigan Law Library and the Lurie Bell Tower, both on the University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor, MI. He received awards from the Hungarian National Academy of Sciences, the American Institute of Steel Construction, the American Consulting Engineering Council, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation to name a few.
Mentoring of Younger Engineers and Students: For thirty-five years Professor Darvas taught structures to architecture students at the University of Michigan. He was known for his passion, energy, and enthusiasm. In 1970 he was the first recipient of Taubman College’s Sol King Award for Excellent Teaching in Architecture. And in 1992, he was presented with a special “Why Buildings Stand Up Award” on behalf of all his former students who had learned from and been inspired by his passion and love for architecture.
Improving the Quality of Life for Others: During the Hungarian Revolution in 1956 Robert left Hungary, emigrating from his beloved homeland through an Austrian refugee camp, to London, and eventually to the University States in 1958. As an immigrant himself, Robert understands well the challenges new immigrants face. He and his wife, Eva, have opened their hearts and their home to provide food, shelter and assistance. Annually, they invited foreign students and new residents of Ann Arbor to Thanksgiving dinners. In the firm he founded in 1961, he continues to foster an environment that supports participation in community activities and the mentoring of students and young engineers.