ST. ALBANS CITY — Calling all aspiring architects. For the first time, the Vermont chapter of the American Institute of Architects is seeking future and current historians and lovers of old buildings to join an architectural scavenger hunt on Main Street.
“It’s a really nice combination of things that can be done alone, on your own time and with families,” said Sarah O’Donnell, executive director of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), Vermont chapter. “We had to stop all of our in-person events, and that’s a lot of what we do.”
On April 24, a set of clues will appear on the AIA website and at the St. Albans Library mapping out historical buildings and pieces of architecture in the city downtown.
The names of the buildings will be missing: based on the description of the structure and images in the clues, seekers will have to identify and find both the structure and a marking or a unique feature on it in order to complete each of the 10 tasks.
For an entire month following the initial launch of the historical quest, people of all ages will be able to complete their historical scavenger hunt and submit their completed journeys to the AIA.
If each of the structures is correctly identified, participants will be entered into a pool for a chance to win a prize, and O’Donnell said she’s hoping she gets to hand out prizes to several clever contestants.
Although the scavenger hunt was developed in response to public health guidance to avoid most in-person activities, O’Donnell said she hopes the success of the inaugural St. Albans hunt and the following Burlington hunt on May 29 will spur monthly hunts in communities throughout the state.
“We’re asking our own architect members to do it in their town,” O’Donnell said. “We want to help the public understand the importance of architects and architecture. It’s an educational piece, a way to make architecture fun and interesting.”
Hunters can keep an eye out for other special treats during their journey through the city. By presenting their set of clues to places like the Frozen Ogre, the St. Albans Library and the Eloquent Page, participants can receive discounts on books and games they wish to purchase, and even be entered to win a library tote bag.
“It’s like a bit of trivia,” O’Donnell said. “It’s outdoors, it’s safe ... If a couple kids decide to study architecture after this, that would be great.”
The event was schemed up by AIA Vermont member Jane Pickell, of Freeman French Freeman in Burlington, and was customized for St. Albans City by Evan Champagne of E4H Environments for Health Architecture in Williston.
Participants can send in completed scavenger hunts by taking a photo or scanning a copy and sending it to firstname.lastname@example.org, O’Donnell said.