CLEVELAND, OH -- The Marble Institute of America (MIA) has announced an expansion of the premier natural stone industry award, the Grande Pinnacle Award, sponsored by Marmomacc. For the first time, in 2011 a Grande Pinnacle Award will be presented to an architect from the firm involved in the winning project. In addition, the architect will win a trip to Verona, Italy to attend Marmomacc 2012, the world's leading stone fair. Marmomacc is the exclusive sponsor of the MIA Grande Pinnacle Award.  Included in the trip to Marmomacc 2012 is a week-long continuing education program for architects on designing with natural stone, good for 20+ LU credits. The winning project's architect will receive round-trip economy airfare and complimentary hotel for five nights as well as local meals and transportation, plus the outstanding architect learning unit program.

"Marmomacc and the MIA share the goal of promoting the use of natural stone by engaging the architectural community and inspiring it to use stone in increasingly aesthetic and diverse ways," said Mauro Albano, Manager of the Marmomacc trade show. "Offering a Marmomacc-sponsored MIA Grande Pinnacle Award and a trip to Marmomacc to a representative from the winning project's architectural firm is a natural extension of our joint efforts and, more importantly, a way to better recognize the fundamental role of the architect in innovative stone design."

G.K. Naquin of Stone Interiors, Loxley, AL, 2012 President of the MIA, added, "This is yet another great step by a fantastic MIA partner, Marmomacc, to both honor and educate architects about the use of natural stone in their projects. What better way to honor an award-winning architect than by immersion in our beautiful world of stone attending Marmomacc and getting a fist full of CU credits at the same time."

In addition to this, MIA has announced that all Pinnacle Award of Excellence and Award of Merit winners now have the opportunity to invite an architect from the firm involved in their winning project to StonExpo 2012 in Las Vegas, NV. With the generous support of Hanley Wood Exhibitions, these award-receiving architects will receive three nights lodging in Las Vegas and will be invited to a VIP reception. Also, Marmomacc (VeronaFiere) will invite these winning architects to take part in a full-day educational program held during StonExpo/Marmomacc Americas (the program offers 5+LUs and includes complimentary lunch and dinner.  (Note:  Airfare to Las Vegas is not included.)