Hayes McAlonie recognized for Bethune book

Published December 7, 2023

UB architect Kelly Hayes McAlonie has won the 2023 Arline Custer Memorial Award for her book documenting the life and career of Louise Blanchard Bethune, America’s first professional female architect.

The award recognizing “Louise Blanchard Bethune: Every Woman Her Own Architect” (SUNY Press, 2023) was presented by the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference. It recognizes the best books and articles written or compiled by individuals and institutions in the MARAC region — the District of Columbia, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. The award was presented last month at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference.

The book by Hayes McAlonie, director of campus planning, uncovers and explores, through more than a decade of exhaustive research, previously unknown aspects of the life and career of Bethune, a Buffalo native who designed the iconic Hotel Lafayette, a French Renaissance-style building in downtown Buffalo.

Hayes McAlonie’s discovery of new archival material allowed her to develop the first full portrait of a woman who, until then, had been largely forgotten and whose trailblazing career in a male-dominated profession had mostly gone unacknowledged.

Bethune joined the Western New York Women’s Hall of Fame in 2006 in part due to Hayes McAlonie’s work. She also co-curated an exhibit about Bethune for the Buffalo History Museum in 2011

A UB staff member since 2010, Hayes McAlonie is the 2021 recipient of the American Institute of Architects New York State (AIANYS) James William Kideney Award, the organization’s highest honor, celebrating lifetime contributions to the field.

She also is the recipient of the 2023 AIANYS Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller Award, one of AIANYS’ two Professional Service awards. It honors licensed architects employed in the public sector whose work on projects within their jurisdiction has furthered the cause of design excellence in public architecture.