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AIACC 2001 Design Award Winners

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[Originally published 3rd quarter 2001, in arcCA 01.3, “Publicness.”]

Here follow the 2001 AIACC Design Award winners. Out of these many, excellent projects, we have selected five for a closer look. Our process was neither systematic nor pure. I sought the suggestions of the editorial board, who were intrigued by the range of scales represented this year, then I freely modified those suggestions to include a project or two of particular interest to our roving correspondent. Roving and generous, for she — Therese Tierney, AIAS — graciously agreed to write the entire set of features, which follow the portfolio. We are grateful for her enthusiasm, her diligence, and her insight. –Editor

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Ground Zero Ad Agency, Marina Del Rey, Merit Award, Shubin + Donaldson Architects, Inc., Santa Barbara, photos by Tom Bonner.

 

International Elementary School, Long Beach, Merit Award, Thomas Blurock Architects, Costa Mesa, and Morphosis, Santa Monica, photos by Milroy/McAleer.

 

Lloyd D. George United States Courthouse, Las Vegas, Nevada, Merit Award, Cannon Dworsky, Los Angeles, photo by Timothy Hursley.

 

New International Terminal, San Francisco International Airport, Honor Award, Joint Venture: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, Del Campo & Maru, Michael Willis Architects, SF, photos by Timothy Hursley.

 

Private Residence, Northern California, Honor Award, Turnbull Griffin Haesloop, Berkeley, photos by Peter Aarons/ESTO.

 

Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinatti, Ohio, Merit Award, NBBJ Sports & Entertainment, Marina del Rey, photos by Tim Griffith.

 

101 Second Street, San Francisco, Merit Award, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, San Francisco, photos by Timothy Hursley.

 

South Coast Plaza Pedestrian Bridge, Costa Mesa, Honor Award, Kathryn Gustafson/Design Lead, Vashon, Washington, and Ellerbe Becket, San Francisco/Seattle, photo by Nathan Ogle, drawing courtesy Kathryn Gustafson and Ellerbe Becket.

 

Toyan Hall Renovation, Stanford University, Merit Award, Cody Anderson Wasney Architects, Inc., Palo Alto, photos by Dennis Morris (left) and Kathleen Clerk (right).

 

Walter A. Haas, Jr., Pavilion, University of California at Berkeley, Merit Award, Ellerbe Becket, San Francisco, photos by Timothy Hursley.

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Metro Red Line Station
Los Angeles
Ellerbe Becket, Los Angeles
Honor Award
Photos by Timothy Hursley

Defying gravity, like a shining fish leaping out of the water with a flick of its tail, a great silver ellipse beckons. Situated at the crowded intersection of Vermont and Santa Monica Boulevard, north of downtown Los Angeles, is a new metro station with an identity and dignity rarely found within the oppositional landscape of relentless grid and chaotic signage of Los Feliz.

Completion of this dramatic public structure and plaza required endless navigation through the stringent design regulations of the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA). The spatial configurations of stations, as well as the palette of allowable materials, were expressly defined by the MTA. In response to these parameters, project architect Mehrdad Yazdani’s strategy was to use bold, clearly understood gestures that could withstand the tedious planning and approval process. Instead of a ubiquitous parking lot, the architect’s proposal included a series of retail shops and a public performance space to enliven the square.

The metro project was conceived sectionally as a series of layers—above surface, transitional space, and below surface—incorporating movement as well as space. Distribution of program follows the path of natural light. Yazdani handled each of the three layers in a different way. At the surface, marking the entry and serving clearly from a distance as signage, is a large, elliptical metal canopy. The carefully balanced ellipse is situated within a gridded plaza comprised of small glass blocks. During the day, the monumental stainless steel structure allows natural light into the transit station below street level. At night, over-scaled, oblique light posts brightly illuminate the plaza for the safe movement of passengers. Red, custom-designed light standards establish a monumental scale and rhythm marking the plaza’s perimeter. “It was a way to recall the Red Line,” says Yazdani, “[and] the poles help to knit together the fragmented nature of the surroundings.”

Escalators pass beneath the glass pavers, small skylights muting the bright sunlight. The descent invokes an almost primal response as cooler air and echoing sounds reverberate off a darkened double height space. A sense of enigma pervades this vault hollowed out of the ground, as if one were entering a tomb or a church. In the subdued light, ones eyes adjust, moving along the walls where Yazdani worked jointly with artist Robert Millar to stencil 10,000 questions about the design process on the exposed concrete walls: “How does art alter our perceptions?” “What is the relationship of art to architecture?” “What makes architecture?” “Why do we participate in social activities?” “What can the role of failure be in politics?” Yazdani elaborates that “the text is an exploration of the design process and the relationship between art, architecture, and the community.”

The platform level below is defined by a central row of stainless steel columns alternately dividing and unifying the space. Stainless steel panels dematerialize as distorted images blur and reflect off the polished surfaces. Reflected images animate the space as trains carry their passengers to their destinations. On the ceiling, a series of stainless steel elliptical louvers, similar in form to the entrance canopy, recall to mind the entrance and provide artificial light.

Situated within a context of uninspired orthogonal forms, the tilted light standards and canted forms of both entrance canopy and elevator clearly suggest the potential of speed and movement of the metro trains below. The concept is carried throughout the plaza in the landscape furniture, which angles off in unexpected directions, keeping the eye in constant motion. The canted, glazed elevator enclosure reveals the intermittent movement of gears and cables as the cab traverses from surface to depth and back again.

The Metro Red Line Station brings to mind the positive anticipation of movement and travel. Through a meticulous and inspired collaboration with artist and engineer, the architect was able to create a visual beacon and public place within the community. In an area where little civitas is evident, this metro station has the power to generate meaning, to shake off the commercialism outside, to give pause and provide a moment for reflection.

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Diamond Ranch High School
Pomona
Morphosis, Santa Monica, and
Thomas Blurock Architects, Costa Mesa
Honor Award
Photos by Brandon Welling and Timothy Hursley, respectively.

Speeding along Highway 60 in a hybrid gas/electric Toyota, I feel sure that the future has arrived. It’s proved with certainty as I turn a corner and a dramatic series of corrugated aluminum forms commands my attention. Incredibly, this dynamic artificial landscape is a public high school, one of the latest projects by Morphosis. With a vista of hard-edged mountains and the city of Pomona below, the school’s rooflines mimic the rugged hillside environment undulating with the terrain. Flanking the buildings, playing fields are incised in an act of terrestrial intaglio, carved into the earth, as the built structures erupt like rocky mineral outcroppings.

The project was concerned with three issues: the complex’s conceptual stance towards the site environment, social groupings, and educational flexibility. Morphosis’s first goal was to take advantage of the natural beauty of the site by integrating the playing fields and buildings into the surrounding hillside. The second goal was the creation of a dynamic built environment that would invite maximum social interaction among students, faculty, and staff. Finally, their third intention was to provide a flexible teaching environment that allowed a solid foundation of core curriculum for grades 9–10 and offered a focus on specific program majors in grades 11–12.

Morphosis was awarded this project through a competition, their concept illustrative of a fusion between architecture and topography. While much of the steeply sloped site was considered unbuildable, Thom Mayne, AIA, understood this to be an advantage, allowing him the opportunity to continue his investigations that blur distinctions between object and site. Acknowledging the complex balancing act required between cut and fill, he concentrated his efforts on a refolding of the landscape. His initial concept of geologic strata bending under unseen forces evolved into a linear plateau enclosed by shifting, folded roofscapes.

Socially, the intention was to create a densification of cultural experience like that found in urban areas, but juxtaposed here against the school’s suburban environment. Formally, the buildings’ canted metal accretions and angled parapets, though nonstructural, exhibit a dynamism that early twentieth century Futurists often associated with the modern city. Central to the school’s parti is the “main street,” which serves as a social gathering place and, in Southern California’s mild climate, becomes as important as the buildings themselves. Explains Mayne, “In this project, we were interested in providing a model for a public school facility that speaks to the students experientially through a symbolic, physically kinetic, architectural language. We were interested in reversing the message that has been sent by a society that routinely communicates its disregard for the young by educating them in haphazardly arranged, temporary bungalows surrounded by impenetrable chain link fencing.”

The grades 9–10 classrooms are located on the downhill side of the street, while grades 11–12 are placed on the uphill side. These two principal divisions were conceived as small “schools within a school” and are articulated as separate buildings that create a series of clusters. Each unit has its own outdoor teaching or gathering space and a teacher’s workroom. Each is orientated to command a view of the valley and mountains beyond. Arranged in split level configurations, a series of ramps and shaded tunnels interconnects these areas to each other as well as to the rest of the school.

The initial impression of angular complexity belies an inherently ordered, rational organization. Sectionally, the athletic fields and classrooms stairstep down the terraced hillside, while circulation follows the topographic contours. The primary circulation, or “main street,” connects classrooms, library, and support spaces. Secondary circulation is parallel to the main street, but routed at different levels. This over/under strategy produces a hybrid approach to form and program. The buttresses of the gymnasium retaining wall penetrate through the roof terrace plane to support shading devices and flexible seating for the stadium. Other building walls that would conventionally be static instead roll up to create a stage or performance space. Outdoor stairs, which at the same time serve as classroom roofs, transform into amphitheater seating during performances.

The excitement at Diamond Ranch High School is generated not out of a sophisticated material palette (the materials here—corrugated metal, stucco, glass, and exposed concrete—are simple and restrained), but instead out of the pure geometric potency of the forms and their structuring. An inventive, exploratory approach to site utilization has produced a socially stimulating school. And, through intelligent planning and careful detailing, it was built within the standard school budget of $140 per square foot. Most importantly, the students and faculty are wildly enthusiastic about it.

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Reactor Films
Santa Monica
Pugh & Scarpa, Santa Monica
Merit Award
Photos by Marvin Rand

Santa Monica-based architects Gwynne Pugh and Lawrence Scarpa, AIA, say they never know where they’re headed, that the design possibilities are endless. Without predefining architecture, they respond directly and intuitively to the material qualities of place. The context and program for Reactor Films’ production studio suggested an experience ordered like a film or freeway, framing and containing reality. In addition, the compressed schedule generated an unusual approach that disassembled the project into discrete elements.

Given the incredible fourteen-week schedule from preliminary design to move-in, the firm’s methodology and organization alone are worthy of honor. A systematic working strategy was developed based on collaborative relationships among client, contractor, and architect. Relying on past experience with similar projects, the architects’ approach was to solve the rigorous technical issues and programmatic requirements first. Then the project was divided into distinct areas that could be studied and developed independently of one another to finer levels of detail as construction progressed. Their expertise in both architectural and structural engineering also expedited decision making. A fast and flexible format was established from the beginning: 11×17 free-hand pencil drawings, which could be faxed easily between all parties. The immediacy of working in this “one take” or “live broadcast” fashion increased spontaneity, just as a charette does. Says Pugh, “Contrary to expectations, the time constraint didn’t compromise design; if anything, it actually catalyzed the work.”

Their design examines the tension between the old and the new. The existing 1930 Art Deco tile-faced building was kept intact, with newly proportioned storefront glazing inserted between the masonry frame. As Scarpa explains, the interior can be viewed as “a skin or surface wrapper that moves in and out between the existing brick walls, alternately concealing and revealing the existing building fabric.” The layering and folding of the newly plastered surfaces weave together disparate materials. The existing concrete floor was sandblasted, and, where an existing wall was removed, a backlit, perforated metal panel traces the floor plate. Recalling film director Alfred Hitchcock’s interest in openings as metaphors, here, too, voids are as important as surfaces, revealing an earlier pattern of materials or use.

Of particular interest is the conference room, which is made out of a dissected and reconfigured ocean-shipping container. Procured from a Long Beach shipping yard, the rusted container is treated as an urban artifact encrusted with rich historical signification. Invoking the pervasive modern experience of the freeway, the redefined container has been elevated as an honorific object, its concrete bases generated from the forms of overpass pylons. Above, freeway lights brilliantly illuminate the piece as sculpture, an index registering the passage of time and miles. Mitered steel pipes, cantilevered concrete stairs, and perforated metal screens welded to heavy metal panels slide on tracks, alternately expanding or contracting the space of the conference room. One’s direct response to such overwhelming materiality is immediate: welded and patinated metal, sliced and reassembled, creates atavistic connections that extend into some future time when petroleum will no longer fuel our desires.

The movement of light and people engages and activates the entire space, creating a filmic quality of time and movement. Light here is also used as an ordering device: a luminous slot in the ceiling draws you into and through the space. It is a register of the passage of time as well as a social connector. And, realizing that most of the production staff work in concentrated isolation, the architects designed semi-translucent partitions that relay visual information as people pass by or as the outside weather changes.

In Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture, Robert Venturi writes, “A familiar thing seen in an unfamiliar context can become perceptually new as well as old.” Context—here, a 1930s storefront—provides the frame. While acknowledging the mise en scene, the architects play with our cultural expectations. By placing objects, such as the shipping container, “outside the frame,” they create a new frame of reference and deepen our sense of perception. It has been said that art does not reproduce what we see; rather it makes us see. Such is certainly the case here.

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Iann/Stolz Residence
San Francisco
Kuth/Ranieri Architects, San Francisco
Merit Award
Left-hand photos by David Wakely; right-hand photos by Cesar Rubio

At the end of a narrow lane on Nob Hill is a residence that explores the idea of house as fine artifact. Its board and batten exterior signals a recognition of Bay Area regional typology, but rendered here in a rarified treatment of varnished mahogany panels. Demonstrating a confident handling of materials and the art of joinery, the battens align and merge with steel horizontal window mullions angling out towards the lane. Folded into a synthetic assembly, the familiar elements of garage door, front door, and bay window coalesce into a sum greater than its parts.

The architect’s site-specific installation, “Fabrications,” at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 1998, convinced the clients to select Kuth/Ranieri to design their home. The installation had focused on the complex relationship between the human body and the fabricated building. Exploring the idea of the body in repose, with thick felt seats and curtains embedded in a gallery wall, it was commended for its tactile and emotive use of materials.

Using a similar approach in their architectural projects, Kuth/Ranieri address programmatic requirements directly, starting from an analysis of basic systems and materials. Byron Kuth, AIA, explains, “We use common, everyday components and like to destabilize their traditional meaning.” In this case, they questioned the characteristics of typical wood-frame construction—limited dimensions, a matrix of small units, a particular means of assembly—to develop a rigorous internal logic that might escape the whims of fashion.

One of the challenges was to fit a fairly large program on a small, twenty-three foot wide site. Spatially, the intention was to open up the house as much as possible to views and light, placing services, stairs, and bathrooms at the blind sides. The plan at each level is organized to frame and receive expansive vistas to the bay, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the Marin Headlands beyond. In a loft-like configuration, the high-ceilinged interiors provide a continuous flow of space and light. And by excavating a full story below grade, the architects were able to include a three-car garage and impromptu gallery space for their clients.

Within the context of the open plan, living room, dining room, and kitchen are clearly yet unexpectedly defined. Instead of conventional walls that block light and shrink space, a language of visual cues relating to scale, material, and use subtly differentiate activity zones. Defined by a sectional displacement, the dining room is really a room within the larger living room. Evocative materials—stainless steel, blackened steel, limestone, bleached maple, and integrally colored plaster—articulate and communicate different programmatic uses.

With unusual singularity, this house shifts and moves, responsive to the inhabitants’ needs and desires. Walls perceived as solid and static transform into furniture or pivot and fold away completely. Meticulously planned moveable units with inventive dual uses provide flexible specificity. Precisely detailed retractable shelving, sliding panels, and rolling track doors shift effortlessly or disappear, creating the impression of a much larger space. At the roof deck located off the master bedroom, retractable glass doors disappear, causing the boundaries between interior and exterior to dissolve, merging the view with the room.

The design approach of Kuth/Ranieri balances the framework of a rational system with an open-ended exploration of ideas. “Our world has been reduced to surfaces,” says Kuth, “computer screens, signs, television. We’re trying to reclaim a tactile and physical presence in a world obsessed with electronic and consumer imagery.” This house, detailed to the level of fine cabinetry, with materials sensuously used and inventively joined, makes familiar forms new.

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Long Meadow Ranch Winery
St. Helena
Turnbull Griffin Haesloop, Berkeley
Honor Award
Photos by Cesar Rubio

“It occurs to me now when we talk about ‘images that motivate,’ mine are not abstract or metaphorical but overwhelmingly concrete and tangible. They are the sites I build on and are always distinct from one another. The shape of the ground, the view, the quality and type of tree cover, the sun, the wind all have voices that I listen to and learn from.” —William Turnbull, Jr., “Images that Motivate: the Legacy of Charles Moore,” Places 11 (1998)

The accomplishments of William Turnbull, founding principal of MLTW, are numerous and well documented. It is probably less well known that this Princeton graduate’s abiding connection to the landscape was inspired by his early years on a farm and was later expressed in his own working vineyard in Napa. In the March/April 1988 issue of Architecture California, he expressed concern regarding the disneyfication of the Napa Valley, which was rapidly churning out Italian villas and French chateaux. Turnbull argued instead for an architecture that would respond to the rural landscape, drawing on local traditions and materials. Two projects—the Long Meadow Ranch Winery and a private residence in Northern California—begun by Turnbull and completed by his partners, Mary Griffin, AIA, and Eric Haesloop, AIA, illustrate the extension of Turnbull’s vision in the ongoing work of the firm.

With one of the oldest olive groves in Napa County, dating from the 1880’s, the Long Meadow Ranch is now a family-owned organic farm with a small winery, fermentation caves and an olive oil processing facility. The owners are committed to sustainability in architecture as well as agriculture; their commitment drove the entire project from siting to construction method to the smallest fabrication detail. Simply, the intention was to minimize the impact on the environment. In a landscape of softly curved hills, native oaks, and grasses, the site was selected for its central location and northern orientation. Most importantly, the steep slope of the hillside was ideal for tunneling into. Weaving a synthesis between the natural topography with the rational program, the winery mediates between the native forest edge and the cultivated vineyards, between the raw and the refined.

The wine and olive oil processes share the same building, but are located in separate wings and have complementary seasonal harvest periods. Straddling the two wings is a shaded open porch used for the crush during grape harvest and for loading the olive press during the olive harvest. Based on an 18th century panopticon typology, the view from the second floor office extends across the entire vineyard and orchard beyond.

What is particularly innovative about this winery is its method of construction. The two-foot thick walls are made of pise de terre, as it is known in France, or PISE (pneumatically injected sealed earth) here. Excess earth, excavated to form the wine cellar caves, was mixed with cement and engineered with steel to form the rustic walls. Although similar to the Southwest’s rammed earth in composition, here the earth is not compacted within a wooden formwork, but instead a soil/cement mixture is pneumatically injected into a steel reinforcing cage. Extensive reinforced concrete foundations were required to support the weight of the earth walls; a 4’x16’x 2’ section of wall weighs over 10,000 pounds. The walls are finished with a mixture of white Portland cement mixed with the native earth to integrate the natural color of the soil. Last, piano wire is drawn across the face of the walls, leaving a rough texture. Requiring little maintenance and absorbing sound, the solid walls feel as if they are part of the mountain.

No air conditioning is needed; only passive features are used to maintain a constant temperature in the winery. Locating the building on the shaded side of the hill minimizes heat gain, while the thick walls provide the necessary insulation and thermal mass. Other passive strategies include a night air cooling/ventilation system and connection of the interior spaces to the stable, cooler temperatures within the caves.

The structure is exposed throughout; roof and floor framing utilize recycled timber from a bridge. The systems are expressed and detailed to bolt directly and unapologetically onto the earth walls. In addition, the architects designed the lights and worked with a local designer on the furniture. The tables, chairs, shelving, and lights were all fabricated locally.

Turnbull’s legacy is a deeply considered architectural response to the landscape; his talent was to place structures with a sense of always having been a part of their rural surroundings. “Bringing out the simplicity and clarity of a particular situation will be his most cherished tradition,” writes architectural historian Mitchell Schwarzer in William Turnbull, Jr., Buildings in the Landscape. At Long Meadow Ranch Winery, with appropriateness and honest simplicity, Mary Griffin and Eric Haesloop continue the timeless quality of his work.

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Ghost of the Times

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[Originally published 4th quarter 2002, in arcCA 02.4, “New Material.”]

 

I am a skeptic of novel shapes in buildings. It seems to me—and I’m not the first person to have observed this—that novel form might best be reserved for novel content. And genuinely novel content, as far as living in buildings goes, arises infrequently.

I would feel more confident saying so, however, if it were easier to point to an alternative. If there were a tried and true way of making buildings, I would happily subscribe to it. Then I could entertain arguments for whatever novelties might appear. The catch is that the relationship between the novel and the non-novel, the new and the not new, isn’t so stable. The sad, mortal fact of the matter is that the not new is just the new, later.

Later, and more widespread, since a new form has two possible futures: to be forgotten or to proliferate. As for “tried and true,“ the surest thing I can say is that much has been tried, but little is “true.” Otherwise, change would be slower—and harder.

I have been looking back over the history of the AIACC Design Awards, which are in their twentieth year. The most intriguing document I’ve seen is actually from the pre-history of the AIACC program. It is a record of the Pasadena and Foothills Chapter’s 1980 Triennial Honor Awards Program. Of the eleven winners (out of forty-five entries), eight are striking for the similarity of their appearance. These eight—a low-rise office building, a twelve-story tower, two manufacturing headquarters, a recreational center, a bus maintenance facility, and two single-family houses—are all composed of simple, blocky shapes, with broad, unrelieved, horizontal spandrels or fascias and equally broad, unrelieved bands of near-mullionless glazing.

The three other winners are anomalies: a Bay Area shingle style house, orphaned in Pasadena; a Japanese-themed shopping center; and an astronomical observatory. Each of these three tells us something about how the client or architect thought such a thing should look.

Paradoxically, the majority of the winners, not despite of but because of their similarity, tells us less about how the clients and architects thought buildings should look—or even if they really stopped to think about it at all—just as this is not the year to identify the real baseball fans in California. Popular success masks purpose.

It must make things tricky for a design awards jury, that the validation of popular sentiment, far from identifying conviction, favors its opposite: an easy opportunism. Among today’s elongated polyhedra and fetishized details, a jury may be able to tell who’s doing them well. What they can’t tell is who believes in what they’re doing.

Does it matter? It does, if the purpose of design awards is not only to recognize what has been done well, but also to air arguments for what is worth doing. Such arguments are, of course, difficult and contested, whether they have to do with sustainability (see Hal Levin’s article in this issue) or social justice or appearance.

Appearance may be the toughest. Even the most compelling arguments about the appearance of buildings get caught up in the fate of their popular exemplars. So, for example, Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown, and Steven Izenour’s arguments in Learning from Las Vegas have gone the way of the “postmodern” building fashion with which they are (to my mind, too closely) associated. Yet those arguments could be fruitfully applied today. I’ll give an example.

The authors of Learning from Las Vegas argued that the abolition of ornament had left architects with an unsatisfied yearning for visual interest. As a result, instead of making simple buildings and then ornamenting them, architects designed highly (and unjustifiably) contorted buildings. Paul Rudolph was their smoking gun.

Today’s irregular polyhedra could profitably be discussed on the same terms, as could the contemporary fascination with materials that prompts the companion theme for this issue. Some such continuity of argument (discussion, “discourse,” theory…) might make up for the wild discontinuity in visual styles; might, even, moderate it.

 

People Assisting the Homeless (P.A.T.H.), Los Angeles, by Jeffrey M. Kalban & Associates Architecture, Inc. The building before and after renovation.

Learning from Las Vegas also gives us its own example of the proliferation of a novel building form: Kallman, McKinnell and Knowles’s Boston City Hall, which spawned diminished progeny from coast to coast. Interestingly, one of its offspring appears among this year’s Design Awards, as the “abandoned 1960s 3-story office building” that has been converted by Jeffrey M. Kalban & Associates into the headquarters for People Assisting the Homeless (P.A.T.H.).

Perhaps because it is, out of necessity, a problematic building for its time, the P.A.T.H. headquarters is, to me, the most intriguing of this year’s winners. Its attitude toward adaptive reuse is unpopularly synthetic: we’re not meant to tell easily what is old and what is new. It combines the earlier formal vocabulary of LeCorbusier’s Villa Savoye with the later language of La Tourette (of which Boston City Hall was itself the offspring). And it sports pop art signage. In short, it thoroughly confounds the question of the timeliness of form.

Amidst the churning of fashion, in which the new so quickly passes into the “oh, whatever” and timelessness seems entirely beyond us, untimeliness may be the most responsible way to be.

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Reflections on the Awards Jury: Eric Naslund, FAIA, and Hugh Hardy, FAIA

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[Originally published 3rd quarter 2004 in arcCA 04.3, “Photo Finish.”]

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Eric Naslund, FAIA, AIACC Design Awards Jury Chair

arcCA: What broad themes did you see in this year’s submissions?

Naslund: Somebody described it as the triumph of modernism. I am not sure if that is a larger trend in the field or just who submitted. I was on the AIA Arizona jury recently and noticed the same thing.

arcCA: You gave one honor award and 19 merit awards. Why only one honor?

Naslund: I think that the honor award rose to a higher standard; it is the one project that we were unanimous on.

arcCA: Several of the projects were either civic in nature or had a clear social purpose. Were you looking for that?

Naslund: We were looking for good work regardless of its program. We were interested in what the architect contributed to the final outcome. This is a design awards program for the architectural profession, after all. Any design problem begins with a set of conditions that an architect has little or no control over—site, program, and budget, for instance. What is important is what one does with these “givens.” Our interest as the jury centered on what you did with the cards you were dealt, not with what the client brought you. To judge based on the program is not really fair, nor is it indicative of the design intervention.

arcCA: You gave an Accessory Dwelling Unit Manual an award. Was that a first?

Naslund: That was an urban design award, and those are new to the California Council. It was a situation in which the architect participated in a way that was larger than any individual building. When you evaluate urban design awards, you look at them differently. There is a broader agenda.

arcCA: In some cases did a clear plan or diagram tip the scale?

Naslund: The award winners did all things well. It wasn’t just a good plan but also a good relationship to context, an elegant solution for the program at hand, and a compelling place. It was all those things. Some would do a couple of things well, but miss on others.

arcCA: Can you run through how you reviewed and eliminated projects?

Naslund: In the first round, each juror reviewed each binder. From there, we kept a project for further consideration if any juror wanted it in for any reason. The second round, we looked at the remaining projects again and laid them out on the table. If a juror thought it should go to the third round they would tag it. Projects with two or more tags were held over for further discussion. At this point, there were intense discussions, project by project. The final awards were a consensus view that everyone could support.

arcCA: So, there was no horse trading?

Naslund: I have heard of that in juries but have never witnessed it myself, and it didn’t happen this time. This jury was eclectic in terms of its taste, and nobody really pushed an aesthetic agenda. We were open to a wide range of ways of making architecture. I think that’s healthy.

arcCA: What could be done better?

Naslund: Many people don’t tell their story in an effective way. They need to look at their submissions like a design problem. Throwing a bunch of photos together generally won’t win. Any jury needs to know how the project resolves issues of program, construction, context, and site. The text should be succinct. The submissions that did a good job of communicating issues and solutions and documenting them became the compelling schemes. I am sure that there were projects that might have been in consideration longer and perhaps won an award, but the story was incomplete or missing altogether. We want to know, of all the potential solutions to your design problem, why was the one you landed on the best one?

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Hugh Hardy, FAIA, AIACC Design Awards Juror

arcCA: Could you talk about the idea of architecture as a language? This was something you mentioned in the jury discussions.

Hardy: Architecture is like any language that you can read. You can tell when it was built. You can read the motivation of the people who built it. You can understand how well it was built, but more importantly, you can discover by looking at buildings what brought them into being. For generations, there was a consistent language of architecture, which the modernists threw away. And we can see that schism. Modernism was the enemy of cities, the enemy of ornamentation, the enemy of history, really. It is now being embraced again, the clarity and the discipline, which is a form of classicism. The interesting thing about practicing architecture now is that everything is possible—it’s all going on at once. The diversity of approach—I do not use the word style, that’s a trap—is healthy. Rather than one orthodoxy, there are many possibilities, and the profession is richer. This program and the awards do not reflect a single point of view, but recognize this diversity.

arcCA: As a frequent juror, how do you get around the challenge of the “beauty contest” and look beyond the gorgeous photograph?

Hardy: That’s hard, because the means by which you make these evaluations are photographs. I think it’s legitimate to use the photos to go through the first cut in the jury process. They are the introduction and invite you to spend time to look at the parti, the plan, the site, and the context. But you can be seduced by photographs. On another jury, a fellow juror and I were on the way to the plane and we went by one of the award winning buildings and it looked so different that we called the chairman from the airport and told him you can’t give this an award. The creation of the photograph can be suspect if you don’t know anything about the context. This is important these days as we run out of room and everything runs into everything else. The context is as important as the individual character.

arcCA: The jury selected a large number of institutional or community related projects. Why do you think this is?

Hardy : We liked the sense of architecture having a social purpose, not a plaything of the rich. Some people believe it is only valuable if it costs a lot of money. I have a prejudice in favor of the public realms.

arcCA: Were there any surprises?

Hardy: There could have been more projects that recognized the relationship of landscape architecture, especially in the light of the modern premise about unity with the outdoors. The landscape tended to emphasize the building. You associate the west coast with unparalleled beauty and the natural world, so you expect a greater concern about those things. There was not any craziness. I guess there was less of a Southern California sensibility, a funky irreverence, than I had expected. They were mostly very sober and earnest submissions.

arcCA: What advice would you give to components organizing these awards? And then what advice would you give to architects submitting their projects?

Hardy: How do you beat the drums? How do you make these programs valuable? The publicity is one thing, but I wonder if it would be possible to challenge the profession by having some thematic base for submissions. Prime the pump by thinking about the ideas that architecture represents. It could be old and new, environmental, civic, residential. But we should generate some new thinking. Instead of just saying it’s an awards program, you emphasize the need for innovation. Explain to the world what’s changing.

Obviously the photo is very important, but so is the clarity of the submission. Fancy graphics are not. Because of the computer, there is an enormous interest in overlapping images; it is a relief to have a clear, straightforward, simple presentation that you can understand. The context is absolutely crucial for understanding the building. I cannot say that enough.

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Photo Finish: Editor’s Comment

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[Originally published 3rd quarter 2004 in arcCA 04.3, “Photo Finish.”]

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arcCA is thicker this quarter. We’ve added a full-color section to celebrate the AIACC 2004 award winners: Design Awards, Maybeck Award, Firm of the Year Award, and Lifetime Achievement Awards. Also included are awards given by Savings By Design, a sponsor of this special section. All of our sponsors, to whom we’re most grateful, are recognized on the back “cover” of the section; take a look, and, if you have the opportunity, thank them for their support.

Over the last month or so, I’ve received two thoughtful letters critical of arcCA’s graphic design; during the same period, we’ve received a graphic design award, one of many that the magazine has earned. In an issue devoted to awards, the coincidence is worth noting. The simplest way to account for the discrepancy is to say that opinions differ, which is true enough. Some people like some things, and other people like others.

Alternatively, one might say not that opinions differ, but that criteria differ. The people who give graphic design awards aren’t likely to be the same people who make up our readership; they have different expertise, recall different precedents, are aware of different constraints. Similarly, our own award juries differ from year to year, as does the context within which the awards are judged. Trends emerge and fade. Hence, we found it useful last year to highlight several years of Design Awards, for your comparison. We repeat that exercise this year, in “Tracking the Awards.”

I mentioned constraints, an acknowledgment of which may constitute a third level of differentiation in the judging of work, graphic or architectural. Reflecting on the Design Awards selection process, juror Eric Naslund, FAIA, notes that this year’s Awards Jury took care to try to distinguish what the architect brought to the project from what was given by the circumstances.

arcCA, itself, operates within a number of constraints—many set, as one might suppose, by cost. The size of the journal, the matte paper, and the duotone printing are all, in part, a response to a limited budget, one structured to lessen the burden on dues revenue.

But there are other reasons, as well, chief among them a decision not to try to be a mini-Architectural Record, but rather to distinguish what we do as clearly as possible from it and similar magazines. Our mission is not to highlight individual buildings, but rather to illuminate the broader context within which architects practice.

Of course, we’re delighted to celebrate—and to make a lasting record of—the individual buildings that have won awards. But we also expect the special awards section to call out some of these graphic distinctions, so I want to be clear about them. I’m proud of our graphic design, and I’m committed to the identity that it has helped establish for arcCA as one of the most thoughtful AIA component publications in the country.

Which is not to say that, as our funding increases (which will happen most quickly if readers encourage their favorite consultants to advertise here), I would not entertain the possibility of a larger format, to accommodate larger images and type; or a paper stock that would afford higher resolution printing; or more color. Those of you who have suggested as much, know that you’re heard. Meanwhile, enjoy the pictures.

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Exceptional Residential: AIA East Bay

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[Originally published 1st quarter 2006 in arcCA 06.1, “Imbedded Knowledge”]

 

  • Regan Bice Architects, Crumpacker Residence, San Francisco. Merit Award. Photo by Joshua McHugh.

In Autumn 2004, The American Institute of Architects, East Bay launched Exceptional Residential: Bay Area Regional Design Awards (ExRes), a Bay Area design awards program offered every other year. What sets ExRes apart from other design award programs is that it is open to residential projects only, and those projects can be submitted by anyone: architects, design professionals, self-designing home owners, and so forth. ExRes requires only that the projects be located within the Bay Area.

Since many of the construction projects in the region are residential in nature, one would assume a large proportion of design award winning projects would also be residential. And, while we see juries awarding affordable housing and mixed-use projects, the number of single-family homes selected is always low. It’s not because of a lack of design excellence in these so-called “jewel-boxes”; it is usually because juries have a communal sense towards awarding projects that serve the greater good of our communities.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, our homes are a defining element of the fabric of our community. Recognizing this, the AIA East Bay leadership decided to highlight residential design excellence through an award program of its own. “The AIA East Bay knows it’s important to honor exceptional residential design that exemplifies what Bay Area living is about,” explains John Nelson, AIA, 2004 AIA East Bay President, “More importantly, the AIA strives to inform the public of the impact good design has on our lives. ExRes aims to do just that by examining what we all have in common: a living space.”

Equally important, the program is open to the public. In 2004 a number of the projects entered were submitted by residential designers and homeowners, groups that do not often have the opportunity to enter AIA awards programs. “While many awards programs tend to be exclusive, ExRes honors first-class residential design—no matter who was responsible for the vision. Most times, an architect is behind design excellence, but when the person is outside of the profession, we need to applaud their success,” asserts Nelson.

The ExRes 2004 jury (David Miller, FAIA; Larry Scarpa, AIA; and Lisa Findley, AIA) recognized projects ranging from a unique Airstream trailer to 60,000 square feet of affordable housing infill. Speaking on behalf of the jury, David Miller, FAIA, said, “Each of the twelve residences selected for an award uses a different approach to create a sense of home. Whether the project is affordable housing, single-family renovation, or mixed use, they each demonstrate an attitude toward issues and ideas. Focusing on good design, they offer experimental and clear solutions to critical issues.”

The AIA East Bay has grown more than 60 percent in the past two years, largely due to the fact that its membership highly values the role of the residential architect and sole proprietor in the profession. Exceptional Residential: Bay Area Regional Design Awards is one of the many programs this chapter uses in educating the public on the importance of design excellence in building and renovating homes.

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The Amazing arcCA Design Award Guide!

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[Originally published 3rd Quarter 2007, in arcCA 07.3, “Comparing Awards.”]
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For the benefit of the ambitious or the merely curious, arcCA presents this handy guide to awards programs. Our primary source has been James P. Cramer and Jennifer Evans Yankopolus’s The Almanac of Architecture and Design 2007 (Atlanta: Greenway Communications, 2007), which provides a robust record of happenings in the profession. We have supplemented the awards cataloged there with others of which we have become aware by opening our emails and snail mail and generally being in the know, as it were; and we’ve visited the websites for each award to find out more. The list is divided into two broad categories: national and international awards, and state and regional awards. We have limited ourselves to awards programs that accept building-scale projects. Accordingly, we list some urban design awards but no planning awards, which seem always to deal in larger scales of development.

Within the national and international awards, we categorize awards programs by building type and other things, but of course categories often overlap. The largest portion of the list concerns awards for individual projects, and these are annotated with the award website and brief description (where readily available). Quotation marks indicate that we found the text on the program’s website, but the reader should be aware that we may have changed the order of sentences or condensed or omitted phrases without noting it.

At the end of the national and international section, we list awards that are for bodies of work—the AIA Gold Medal is an example. For these, we give the name only, supplemented where necessary by an explanatory phrase.

We have illustrated a few of the awards, concentrating on California winners, but avoiding projects that have recently appeared in the pages of arcCA. The selections are by no means intended as a second level of judgment; they are arbitrary and editorially convenient, merely. Of course, criteria and availability may change, and we make no claim to completeness.

[Editor’s note: Awards and links given here were current at the time of print publication.]

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National and International Awards

Design Awards, General

AIA Honor Awards (Architecture, Interior Architecture, Urban and Regional Design)
www.aia.org/awards
“The Institute Honor Awards program recognizes achievements for a broad range of architectural activity to elevate the general quality of architecture practice, establish a standard of excellence against which all architects can measure performance, and inform the public of the breadth and value of architecture practice.”

Industrial Design Excellence Awards (IDEA) (Environments category)
www.idsa.org/idea2007/
“The IDEAS (International Design Excellence Awards) program is the premier international competition honoring design excellence in products, ecodesign, interaction design, packaging, strategy, research and concepts. Entries are invited from designers, students and companies worldwide. Winning entries . . . receive press coverage in BusinessWeek magazine and businessweek.com as well as in hundreds of newspapers and networks, including CNN, NBC, PBS, CNBC, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post and the general design press.

P/A Awards
www.architectmagazine.com
“Every year, five respected members of the design community sit down in a room for two days to determine the current meaning of the words ‘progressive architecture’ and select projects that fit their definition.”

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Design Awards, Building Type

Education

Exhibition of School Architecture Awards (AASA)
www.aasa.org
“The Shirley Cooper Award is presented to the project that best meets the educational needs of its students. The Walter Taylor Award is presented to the project that best meets a difficult design challenge. The jury, at its discretion, will award citations to other projects of distinction. Recipients of these awards are recognized annually at the AASA National Conference on Education.”

Learning by Design Awards
http://www.learningbydesign.biz
“Learning by Design showcases outstanding educational facilities, from innovative and sustainable school solutions to efficient college dorm rooms that are more like home, representing the best collaborations between architects and education leaders.”

SCUP/AIA-CAE Excellence in Architecture Awards
www.scup.org
“This juried competition is open to all professional service providers and institutions that have prepared designs for two year and four year colleges, universities, academic medical and research centers, public or private institutions of any size in any country.”

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Federal Buildings

GSA Design Awards
www.gsa.gov/designawards
“The GSA Design Awards Program is held every two years to honor “the best of the best” of the federal projects designed and constructed by GSA. The program has a broad number of categories that encompass virtually every way design professionals contribute to the quality of the federal workplace and leave an enduring imprint on America’s built environment. The entries are juried and selected by professional private sector peers.” (biennial)

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Healthcare

Healthcare Environment Award
www.healthdesign.org
Sponsored by Contract magazine, in association with The Center for Health Design and Vendome Group LLC, to recognize innovative, evidence-based design that contributes to the quality of healthcare. Categories: Acute Care, Ambulatory Care, Long-Term Care, and Health and Fitness facilities that show a demonstrated partnership between clients and design professionals and seek to improve the quality of healthcare. First-place winners will be awarded up to two complimentary registrations for the annual HEALTHCARE DESIGN conference in the fall. Winners and Honorable Mentions receive a specially designed award at the conference and Winners are published in Contract magazine.”

Modern Healthcare/AIA Design Awards
www.modernhealthcare.com
“The Design Awards program recognizes excellence in the design and planning of new and remodeled healthcare facilities. The program is open to all registered architects and accepts submissions of all types/sizes of patient care-related facilities.”

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Hospitality

Gold Key Awards for Excellence in Hospitality Design
http://ihmrs.com/goldkey/
“The Gold Key Award for Excellence in Hospitality Design is the premier interior design competition for the hospitality industry. It is held in conjunction with the International Hotel/Motel &Restaurant Show® (IH/M&RS). The 2007 Awards are sponsored by Interior Design magazine and HOTELS magazine and have a total of eight categories, which will give worldwide properties and design firms opportunities to showcase their skills and design expertise.”

Hospitality Design Awards
www.hdmag.com
James Beard Foundation Restaurant Design Award http://jamesbeard.org/awards Criteria: “Beautiful functional design that seamlessly melds the setting and theme of the restaurant environment.” Eligibility: “Any restaurant or design project that was completed or redone in North America within the last three years (2004–2006 for the 2007 awards).”

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Housing

AIA Housing Awards (Housing PIA of AIA)
www.aia.org/awp_housing
“The AIA Housing and Custom Residential Knowledge Community established this awards program to emphasize the importance of good housing as a necessity of life, a sanctuary for the human spirit and a valuable national resource. The categories are (1) One and Two Family Custom Residences, (2) One and Two Family Production Homes, (3) Multifamily Housing, and (4) Special Housing.”

AIA/HUD Secretary’s Housing and Community Design Award
www.aia.org/awp_hud
“The Housing and Custom Residential Knowledge Community of the AIA, in conjunction with HUD, recognizes excellence in affordable housing architecture, neighborhood design, participatory design, and accessibility. Good design is a cornerstone of thriving homes and communities of all incomes and backgrounds. These awards demonstrate that design matters, and provide examples of important benchmarks in the housing industry. The categories of the program include, (1) Excellence in Affordable Housing Design, (2) Creating Community Connection Award, (3) Community-Informed Design Award, (4) Housing Accessibility – Alan J. Rothman Award.”

Best of 50+ Housing Awards
www.nahb.org
“The NAHB 50+ Housing Council, which has promoted excellence in the 50+ housing industry for the past 15 years, presents gold and silver awards in 58 categories to current and on-the-boards projects from across the country. Design categories cover a range of product types such as active adult, aging in place, assisted living, continued-care retirement community, for-sale condominiums, rental apartments, and renovated 50+ housing. Winners are also honored for excellence in marketing strategies focused on the mature market. Special Judges’ Awards for Innovation are also presented to projects that demonstrate extraordinary creativity and insight.”

John M. Clancy Award for Socially Responsible Housing
www.johnclancyaward.org
“The John M. Clancy Award for Socially Responsible Housing was established in 2004 by the principals of the Boston architecture firm of Goody Clancy to recognize and honor the decades of creative commitment John Clancy FAIA brought to the planning, design and construction of multifamily housing for the diverse populations of our nation at all income levels.”

residential architect Design Awards
www.residentialarchitect.com
“Architects and designers may submit residential projects in the following categories: Custom Home, 3,500 square feet or less; Custom Home, more than 3,500 square feet; Renovation (residential remodeling and additions); Multifamily Housing; Single-Family Production Housing, detached; Single-Family Production Housing, attached; Adaptive Re-use (end use must include residential); Campus Housing; Architectural Interiors (residential); Affordable Housing. Other building industry professionals may submit projects on behalf of an architect or designer.”

World Architecture News (WAN) House of the Year Award
www.worldarchitecturenews.com

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Libraries

Library Buildings Awards
www.aia.org
“To encourage excellence in the architectural design and planning of libraries, the AIA and the American Library Association/Library Administration and Management Association created this award to distinguish accomplishments in library architecture.” (biennial)

Library Interior Design Award
www.ala.org
“The biennial awards honor excellence in library interior design, incorporating aesthetics, design creativity, function, and satisfaction of the client’s objectives. Ten winners, two projects of merit, and one honorable mention were selected from more than 100 projects submitted from throughout North America.” (biennial)

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Religious Buildings

Religious Art & Architecture Design Awards
www.faithnform.com
“The Annual Religious Art and Architecture Design Awards program is co-sponsored by Faith & Form Magazine and the Interfaith Forum on Religion, Art and Architecture (IFRAA), a Knowledge Community of the American Institute of Architects. The Awards program was founded in 1978 with the goal of honoring the best in architecture, liturgical design, and art for religious spaces. The program offers three primary categories for awards: Religious Architecture, Liturgical/Interior Design, Sacred Landscape, and Religious Arts.”

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Retail Design

SADI Awards
http://retailtrafficmag.com/sadi_entries/
“The SADI Awards is a self-nominating awards program that recognizes outstanding architectural achievement in retail environments, honoring retail designs that successfully balance form and function to create imaginative environments for consumers.” Sponsored by Retail Traffic magazine and the AIA.

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Skyscrapers

Emporis Skyscraper Award
http://awards.emporis.com
“The Emporis Skyscraper Award selects the best new high-rise buildings of the world which were completed in the recent year. The award is being presented for the design of the buildings and their functionality.”

International Highrise Award
www.highrise-frankfurt.de
“The competition is organized by the City of Frankfurt / Main. The International High-rise Award is donated by DekaBank Deutsche Girozentrale, the central fund arm of the Sparkassen Financial Group, for a building that stands out for its particular aesthetic appeal, its pioneering design, urban integration and sustainability as well as innovative technology and economic feasibility.”

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Theater Design

USITT Architecture Awards
www.usitt.org
“Sponsored by the USITT Architecture Commission, the Architecture Awards Program honors excellence in the design of theatre projects. They were created in 1994 to recognize architects for superior design work, to increase the interest of architects in USITT, to promote USITT to a larger audience, and to provide resource material for USITT members on contemporary theatre.”

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Design Awards, Material or System

Lighting Design Awards
www.iald.org
“The IALD encourages submissions of all types and sizes. There is no minimum or maximum number of awards granted. Awards of Excellence and Merit will be based on points earned for both aesthetic and technical design achievement. Recognition in the form of a Special Citation may be given for a particularly innovative aspect of a project’s lighting design. The grand prize, IALD’s Radiance Award, will be presented to the project that is judged among all submittals to be the finest example of lighting design excellence.”

R+D Award
www.architectmagazine.com – select “R+D Award”
“New technologies are revolutionizing the process and product of architecture. To celebrate advances in building technology, ARCHITECT and Hanley Wood proudly announce the R+D Awards. The awards honor innovative materials and systems at every scale—from HVAC and structural systems to curtain-wall and ceiling- panel assemblies to discrete building materials such as wood composites and textiles. The R+D Awards are purposefully open to building technologies of all types, in order to encourage the broadest possible dialogue among architects, engineers, manufacturers, researchers, students, and designers of all disciplines.”

Tucker Design Awards
www.buildingstonemagazine.com
“Sponsored by the Building Stone Institute and recognized as one of the most prestigious architectural design awards in the country, the Tucker Design Awards honor those who have achieved excellence in the incorporation and use of natural stone.”

Wood Design Awards
www.cwc.ca
“The Wood Design Awards program is the only North American program that aims to foster growth in the quality of architectural practices by recognizing achievements in wood architecture.” Presented by the Canadian Wood Council.

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Design Awards, Sustainability

AIA/COTE Top Ten Green Projects
www.aiatopten.org
Judged on a set of ten metrics: Intent & Innovation, Community, Site, Bioclimatic Design, Light & Air, Water, Energy, Materials, Long Life, and Feedback.

BSA Sustainable Design Awards
www.architects.org
“Any built project of any type anywhere in the world by any design professional anywhere in the world is eligible.”

ED+C Excellence in Design Awards
www.edcmag.com
Environmental Design + Construction magazine’s . . . Excellence in Design Awards recognize commercial spaces and offices, institutional facilities, government buildings, multi-use residential buildings and single-family residential homes that clearly demonstrate a commitment to green building and sustainable design.”

Holcim Award for Sustainable Construction
www.holcimfoundation.org
“The Holcim Awards (main) competition is open to participants of every age for projects at an advanced stage of design with a high probability of execution. The competition celebrates innovative, future-oriented and tangible sustainable construction projects from around the globe and provides prize money of USD two million.”

IIDA/Metropolis Smart Environments Awards
www.iida.org
“The Smart Environments Awards recognize distinction in interiors that integrate design excellence, human well-being, and sustainability.”

National Green Building Awards
www.nahb.org
“NAHB honors individuals, companies and organizations that are ‘bringing green to the mainstream,’ by transforming green design and construction practices. Award categories include: Green Building Program of the Year; Advocate of the Year; Outstanding Green Marketing Program; Green Project of the Year – Single Family; Green Project of the Year – Multifamily; Green Project of the Year – Development; Green Project of the Year – Remodeling.”

Phoenix Awards
www.phoenixawards.org
“Created in 1997, this prestigious award honors individuals and groups working to solve critical environmental challenges of transforming blighted and contaminated areas into productive new uses. The awards are open to any individual, group, company, organization, government body or agency. Criteria for The Phoenix Awards focus on the magnitude of the project, innovative techniques, solutions to regulatory issues, and impact upon the community.”

SBIC Exemplary Sustainable Buildings Award
www.sbicouncil.org
“The Exemplary Sustainable Building Awards recognize commercial, residential, and government buildings that demonstrate the successful application of the whole building approach; it is open to all building professionals.”

Show You’re Green
www.aia.org
“The AIA Housing and Custom Residential Knowledge Community select “Show You’re Green” projects as examples of outstanding housing that is both affordable and green. The selected projects demonstrate how regional, geographic, climatic, and cultural influences generate different responses to unique needs.”

Sustainable Design Leadership Awards
www.aia.org

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Design Awards, Historic Preservation

National Preservation Awards
www.nationaltrust.org
“Each year the National Trust celebrates the best of preservation by presenting National Preservation Awards to individuals and organizations whose contributions demonstrate excellence in historic preservation.”

NTHP/HUD Secretary’s Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation
www.huduser.org
“The HUD Secretary’s Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation recognizes organizations and agencies for their success in advancing the goals of historic preservation while providing affordable housing and/or expanded economic opportunities, particularly for low- and moderate- income families and individuals.”

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Design Awards, Interiors

ASID Patron’s Prize
www.asid.org
“The Patron’s Prize honors those who support and/or promote quality interior design, and is given on an annual basis as merited. Eligible parties include individual clients (residential and commercial), organizations, government bodies, foundations, media and museums that have significantly supported and/or promoted quality interior design.”

Annual Interiors Awards (Contract magazine)
www.contractdesign.com

Design for Asia Awards
www.dfaaward.com
“The DFA Award is presented to companies from around the world that have generated business success through great design that impacts Asia. The Award is dedicated to promote design excellence. It also seeks to raise awareness amongst businesses and the public alike, that good design is an essential component in business success and the enjoyment of life.”

Interior Design Competition
www.iida.org
“To recognize and reward outstanding interior design, and to encourage new ideas and techniques in the design and furnishing of interior spaces. Honoring Outstanding Design in the Following Categories: Commercial, Government, Health & Institutional, Hospitality, Residential, Retail.”

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Design Awards, Other Special Criteria

Aga Khan Award for Architecture (design for the Muslim world)
www.akdn.org/agency/aktc_akaa.html
“The Aga Khan Award for Architecture was established in 1977 by His Highness the Aga Khan, the 49th hereditary Imam of the Shia Ismaili Muslims, to enhance the understanding and appreciation of Islamic culture as expressed through architecture. Its method is to seek out and recognise examples of architectural excellence, encompassing concerns as varied as contemporary design, social housing, community improvement and development, restoration, reuse, and area conservation, as well as landscaping and environmental issues. Through its efforts, the Award seeks to identify and encourage building concepts that successfully address the needs and aspirations of societies in which Muslims have a significant presence.” (triennial)

AIA TAP BIM Awards
www.aia.org/tap_default
“The BIM Awards program accepts submissions from practitioners globally based on Building Information Modeling using advanced methodologies or processes. The program will judge submissions according to these general criteria: quantified benefits in cost, schedule, or quality; interoperability between software applications; effective team collaboration; “moving the ball forward” in terms of process change; cultural change; “return on value” (value achieved for the project divided by value expended in the effort).”

AR Awards for Emerging Architecture (architects and designers under 45)
www.arplusd.com
“Conceived in 1999 by the Architectural Review, the Awards are intended to bring international recognition to a talented new generation of architects and designers up to the age of 45. The awards have attracted entries from more than 80 countries and from every inhabited continent. The awards are supported by Buro Happold and InterfaceFLOR.”

AGC Aon Build America Awards (awarded to the contractor)
www.agc.org/awards
“The competition is open to all AGC general contractor and specialty contractor members working as prime contractors. Awards will be considered for new construction and renovation work.”

Business Week/Architectural Record Awards (collaboration and the achievement of business goals through architecture)
http://archrecord.construction.com
“Organizations use architecture and design to market their products and services, illustrate their commitment to sustainability and/or a culture of design, and attract qualified personnel, giving them a healthy and attractive environment to work in. Good design can help a company do its job better and can help it redefine itself. This program honors the architects and clients who best utilize design to achieve such strategic objectives. Recipients will be featured in Architectural Record and BusinessWeek magazines, read by over 5 million business and design professionals.”

Charter Awards (New Urbanism)
www.cnu.org
“The Charter Awards are one of the most respected urban design awards programs internationally. The awards seek to recognize exemplary efforts to plan and build according to the Charter of the New Urbanism.”

Cityscape Architectural Review Awards (design for the emerging world)
www.cityscape.ae/awards
“Cityscape and the Architectural Review have teamed up to organise the most prestigious architectural awards platform for the emerging world. The Awards recognise and reward excellence in Architecture and Design from the emerging regions of the Gulf States, the Middle East, Asia, Africa, South America and South and East Asia (excluding Japan, New Zealand & Australia) and Latin America.”

Dedalo Minosse International Prize for Commissioning a Building (client)
www.assoarchitetti.it
“The Dedalo Minosse is a biennal prize that celebrates the value of the project and highlights the importance of commissioning, which is often neglected in the discussion on architecture, forgetting that a good quality building can be realized only if there is a good fusion between the architect and the client of the work. Promoted by ALA–Assoarchitetti together with the international architecture and design magazine l’ARCA.

EDRA/Places Awards (place design and planning)
www.places-journal.org
“EDRA/Places awards recognize professional and scholarly excellence in environmental design, and reflect the related missions of the Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA) and Places. Entries represent the full breadth of environmental design and related social science activity, including architecture, landscape architecture, planning, urban design, interior design, public art, lighting design, graphic design, environmental psychology, sociology, anthropology and geography.”

European Prize for Urban Public Space
http://urban.cccb.org/prize/
“The European Prize for Urban Public Space is a biennial competition that aims to highlight the importance of public space as a catalyst of urban life, and to recognise and foster investment by public administrations in its creation, conservation and improvement, while also understanding the state of public space as a clear indicator of the civic and collective health of our cities.”

Excellence on the Waterfront Awards
www.waterfrontcenter.org
“The Waterfront Center Annual Awards Program is a juried competition to recognize top-quality urban waterfront projects, comprehensive waterfront plans, outstanding citizen efforts, and student waterfront work.”

National Design-Build Awards
www.dbia.org
“To be considered for a design-build award, projects must demonstrate successful application of design-build principles including collaboration in the early stages of the project and the acceptance of single-entity risk. The project must be completed both on-time and on-budget and without litigation. Winning projects are honored for their advanced and innovative application of total integrated project delivery and finding unique solutions for project challenges.”

Palladio Awards (traditional design)
www.palladioawards.com
“The Palladio Awards Program is designed to honor outstanding achievement in traditional design. The Program recognizes individual designers and/or design teams whose work enhances the beauty and humane qualities of the built environment through creative interpretation or adaptation of design principles developed through 2,500 years of the Western architectural tradition.

Twenty-five Year Award
www.aia.org/twentyfiveyear_award
“The test of time is used to single out the executed projects that receive this award. They must have been completed 25 to 35 years ago and must be projects (in the United States or abroad) designed by an architect licensed in the United States.”

Urban Land Institute Awards for Excellence
www.uli.org
“ULI Awards for Excellence define the standard for real estate development practice worldwide. In its 29th year, the awards program is the centerpiece of ULI’s efforts to identify and promote best practices in all types of real estate development. The awards recognize the full development process of a project—construction, economic viability, marketing, and management— as well as design.”

Veronica Rudge Green Prize in Urban Design
www.gsd.harvard.edu
“Established in 1986, the Veronica Rudge Green Prize in Urban Design is the foremost award recognizing achievement in this field. The Prize is awarded every two years [by the Harvard Graduate School of Design] to recognize excellence in urban design with an emphasis on projects that contribute to the public realm of a city and improve the quality of urban life.”

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Design Awards, Body of Work

American Academy of Arts and Letters Academy Award for Architecture
American Academy of Arts and Letters Gold Medal for Architecture
American Academy of Arts and Letters Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize
AIA Architecture Firm Award
AIA Gold Medal
AIA Thomas Jefferson Award for Public Architecture
AIA Whitney M. Young Jr. Award (professional responsibility toward current social issues)
AIA Young Architects Award
Arthur Ross Award (Institute of Classical Architecture and Classical America)
Auguste Perret Prize (International Union of Architects (UIA) for work in applied technology)
Austrian Frederick Kiesler Prize for Architecture and the Arts
ASID Designer of Distinction Award
CSI Environmental Stewardship Award
Contract magazine Designer of the Year
Crowninshield Award (historic preservation)
Green Building Leadership Awards
IIDA Star Award
Lynn S. Beedle Achievement Award (extraordinary contributions to tall buildings and/or the urban environment)
National Design Awards (Architectural Design category)
National Medal of Arts
Places Placemark Award
Praemium Imperiale (Japan Art Association)
Pritzker Architecture Prize
RAIA Gold Medal
RAIC Gold Medal
Ralph Erskine Award (projects and initiatives that benefit the less-privileged)
RIBA Royal Gold Medal
Richard H. Driehaus Prize for Classical Architecture
Russel Wright Award (outstanding design for the general public)
Sir Patrick Abercrombie Prize (town planning and territorial development)
Sir Robert Matthew Prize (improving the quality of human settlements)
Spirit of Nature Wood Architecture Award
Tau Sigma Delta Gold Medal
Thomas Jefferson Medal in Architecture (Thomas Jefferson Foundation and University of Virginia)
UIA Gold Medal
Vincent J. Scully Prize (National Building Museum)
Wolf Prize for Architecture

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State and Regional Awards

Design Awards, General

AIA California Council Design Award for Architecture
www.aiacc.org
“There are several subcategories that fall under Awards for Architecture. These categories are only for internal filing purposes and an award may not be given in each sub category. They include: Commercial; Institutional or Educational; Residential; Multi or Single Family Residences; Mixed-Use; Historic Preservation; Adaptive Reuse/Renovation; Societal Advancement; and Other.”

AIA California Council Design Award for Interior Architecture
www.aiacc.org
“The AIACC Honor Awards for Interior Architecture acknowledge the excellence of building interiors. The intent of this awards program is to draw attention to the broad diversity of completed interior architecture. Entries may be large or small in scope and may involve renovation, adaptive use, or new construction.”

AIA California Council Design Award for Regional and Urban Design
www.aiacc.org
“The purpose of the AIACC Honor Awards for Regional and Urban Design is to recognize distinguished achievements that involve the expanding role of the architect in urban design, city planning, and community development.”

AIA California Council 25-Year Award
www.aiacc.org
“The test of time is used to single out the executed projects that receive this award. They must have been completed 25 to 50 years ago.” California Construction’s Best of California http://california.construction.com “California Construction presents Best Of California, an extensive, year-end profile of the most intriguing projects completed in the past year. Best of California has established itself as the premiere showcase of a wide range of outstanding projects in the state. The award event honors the entire development, consultant, design and construction team.”

Gold Nugget Awards
www.goldnuggetawards.com
“The oldest and largest program of its kind, Gold Nuggets honor creative achievements in architectural design and land use planning for residential, commercial and industrial projects. Entries come from 14 Western states and international entries are now accepted for all countries. Gold Nugget winners share one common denominator: excellence and innovation in addressing complex design/build issues. The competition is sponsored by PCBC and BUILDER, a national magazine of the housing industry.”

__________

Design Awards, Sustainability

Savings By Design Energy Efficiency Integration Design Awards
www.savingsbydesign.com
“Resource efficiency, responsibility for the environment, human productivity, quality of life— all are essential benefits of well-designed buildings. The Savings By Design Energy Efficiency Integration Design Awards, cosponsored by the American Institute of Architects, California Council, annually recognizes professionals who achieve such results in their designs.”

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Design Awards, Building Type

AIA/Sunset Western Home Awards (Single-Family Residences)
www.sunset.com
“The biennial Western Home Awards program, cosponsored by the AIA and Sunset since 1957, is the oldest such program in the country. It spotlights outstanding residential design in the 13 Western states and western Canada.”

C.A.S.H./AIACC Leroy F. Greene Design and Planning Awards (K-12 Public Schools)
www.cashnet.org
“The Design Awards recognize built and unbuilt school facility projects in California. The award criteria reflects the mission and values of C.A.S.H./AIACC.”

__________

Design Awards, Materials and Systems

Concrete Masonry Design Awards
www.cmacn.org
“The Concrete Masonry Design Awards Program recognizes and encourages outstanding architectural design that incorporates the use of concrete masonry. The program recognizes the Designers, Builders, Craftsmen, Structural Engineering Firm, Concrete Masonry Supplier, and the Owners. This annual program is sponsored by the Concrete Masonry Association of California and Nevada (CMACN) and co-sponsored by AIA California Council.”

__________

Design Awards, Body of Work

AIA California Council Firm Award
www.aiacc.org
“This award is the highest honor the AIACC bestows on an architecture firm. The award recognizes firms who have: consistently produced distinguished architecture for a period of at least 10 years; contributed to the advancement of the profession in at least 3 of the following areas: design, research, planning, technology, practice, preservation or innovation; promoted continuing collaboration amongst individuals; produced work that has transcended a (single) specific area of expertise and have made connections between areas; developed a culture which educates and mentors the next generation of architects.”

AIA California Council Maybeck Award
www.aiacc.org
“Honoring an individual California architect for outstanding lifetime achievement in producing consistently distinguished design. The Maybeck Award recognizes outstanding achievement in architectural design as expressed in a body of work produced by an individual architect over a period of at least 10 years. The award is intended to honor the individual rather than the firm. The basis for the award is the quality of the body of work, consistently designed, during one’s career.”

__________

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2014 AIACC Design Awards Program Announced

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This year marks the 32nd anniversary since the inauguration of the state-wide American Institute of Architects, California Council’s, Design Awards Program. And this year entries will be judged a bit differently.

Submittal guidelines now include metrics for resource efficiency and resilience. Each entrant is now required to submit an Energy, Water, and Resource Efficient Design Metrics form. This an important exercise in order to best prepare architects for the near future, as Sustainability will be a standard for which design award programs are measured.

What is important to remember is these new requirements do not change the integrity of the program as it still strives to recognize projects that inspire architectural design thought and exhibit formal, technological and spatial innovations.

Deadline to register is Jun. 13; to submit: Jun. 27 July 3. For more information, click here.

Since 1982, AIACC has celebrated outstanding architecture through this program, and takes great pride in recognizing excellence in design.

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2013 Design Award Winners Announced

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Award Recipient Gallery

Architecture
Interior Architecture
Small Projects
Urban Design
Sustainability

From a cantilevered residence that plays tricks with the eye, to an inner-city charter school and over to a geology museum in China, all the recipients of this year’s awards have a unique spin on how they contribute to the environment and increase the value of design.

Since 1982, The American Institute of Architects, California Council (AIACC) has celebrated outstanding architecture through the AIACC Design Awards program. Once again, The AIACC proudly recognizes excellence in architecture and design, announcing the recipients of this year’s Design Awards competition and celebrates the value of design.

The awards program includes architecture, urban design and sustainability and each has their own jury.

Design Awards Jury

Gabrielle Bullock, AIA – Perkins + Will
Merrill Elam, AIA – Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects
Vivian Lee, AIA – Edmonds + Lee Architects
Jenna McKnight – Architizer Magazine
Ronnette Riley, FAIA – Ronnette Riley Architect

Urban Design Awards Jury

Brian Fletcher, ASLA – Callander Associates
Frank L. Fuller IV, FAIA – Field Paoli Architects
Mia Lehrer, FASLA – Mia Lehrer + Associates
Maria Ogrydziak, AIA – Maria Ogrydziak, AIA Architect
Stephanie Reich, AIA, LEED AP – City of West Hollywood
Andrew Spurlock, FASLA – Spurlock Poirier

Sustainability Awards Jury

Stephan Castellanos, FAIA – California Commission on Disability Access
Diane McClean, AIA – Southern California Edison
David Kaneda, PE, AIA – Integrated Design Associates, Inc.
Dan Heinfeld, FAIA, LEED AP – LPA

The caliber of all work submitted was very high—even the submittals which did not make it to the final rounds received oohs and ahhs and accolades.

Following is a list of all the winners. Check back soon for a featured gallery of all winning projects.



2013 Awards for Architecture

Honor Awards
GreenDot Animo Leadership High School, Los Angeles BROOKS + SCARPA
NYC Multifamily, New York NMDA, Inc
Health Sciences Education Building, Arizona CO Architects
Buck Creek Residence, Big Sur Fougeron Architecture
Merit Awards
Center for Manufacturing Innovation Metalsa CIDeVec,
Monterrey Mexico
BROOKS + SCARPA
Broadway Housing, Los Angeles Daly Genik
UCLA Outpatient Surgery and Oncology Center,
Santa Monica
Michael W Folonis Architects
UC Davis Health System Parking Structure, Sacramento Dreyfuss & Blackford
Venture Capital Office Headquarters, Menlo Park Paul Murdoch Architects
University of California, Berkeley Biosciences Building, Berkeley SmithGroupJJR
28th Street Apartments, South Los Angeles Koning Eizenberg Architecture, Inc.
Flip House, San Francisco Fougeron Architecture
Adobe Systems Utah Campus, Lehi, Utah WRNS Studio
Cedars Sinai Medical Center Advanced Health Sciences Pavilion, Los Angeles HOK
Wild Beast Pavilion, Valencia Hodgetts + Fung
Dapeng Geology Museum and Research Center,
Shenzhen, China
lee + mundwiler architects
Hallidie Building, San Francisco McGinnis Chen Associates, Inc.
eHouse, Tel Aviv, Israel Axelrod + Stept Architects
West Hollywood Affordable Housing, West Hollywood Patrick Tighe Architecture
Yin Yang House, Venice Brooks + Scarpa

2013 Awards for Interior Architecture

Merit Awards
Grupo Gallegos Creative, Huntington Beach Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects
Skid Row Housing Trust Management Office, Los Angeles Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects
Heavybit Industries, San Francisco IwamotoScott Architecture
One Kearney Lobby, San Francisco IwamotoScott Architecture
Gensler Office, Los Angeles Gensler


2013 Awards for Small Projects

Honor Award
Voussoir Cloud, SCIArc Gallery, Los Angeles IwamotoScott Architecture
Merit Awards
[C]SPACEPAVILION, London, England Synthesis Design + Architecture / Nex Architecture
PDU – Portable Dining Unit, San Rafael EDG Interior Architecture + Design
Montrose Residence, Montrose Warren Techentin Architecture
The Offices of Buck O’Neill Builders, Inc., San Francisco jones | haydu

2013 Awards for Urban Design

Merit Awards
Xiasha New Economic Business Park, Hangzhou China Woods Bagot
Nanhu New Country Village Master Plan, Jiaxing, China Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP
The Willowbrook MLK Wellness Community Vision and Campus Plan, Los Angeles Gensler


2013 Awards for Sustainability

Honor Awards
GreenDot Animo Leadership High School, Los Angeles BROOKS + SCARPA
Yin Yang House, Venice BROOKS + SCARPA
Sweetwater Spectrum Community, Sonoma Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects
The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Los Altos EHDD
Conrad N. Hilton Foundation Headquarters, Agoura Hills ZGF Architects LLP
Merit Awards
Campus Center at the San Diego County Operations Center, San Diego RJC Architects
Center for Manufacturing Innovation, Metalsa CIDeVec, Monterrey, Mexico BROOKS + SCARPA
Lands End Lookout and Visitor Center, San Francisco EHDD
AT&T The Foundry, Palo Alto Gensler
Los Gatos Library, Los Gatos Noll & Tam Architects
Merritt Crossing Senior Apartments, Oakland Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects
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2013 Design Awards – Call for Entries

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AIACCBanner_660x327

Attention California architects! It is time again to recognize the very best architecture in California for the 2013 AIACC Design Awards. Awards will be conferred in five categories: Architecture, Interior Architecture, Urban Design, Small Projects and Sustainable Design. Open to AIA members and non-members, projects built in California or to California architects’ projects outside the state, this program provides the most successful way to communicate the value of design to the public.

There have been several changes to the program in 2013

  • The Sustainable Design category. All awards are eligible to submit additional documentation for consideration for a special award.
  • The 25 Year Award: nominate your favorite project that has made a significant and lasting impact on your community. The submittal package no longer required and there is no fee to enter!

Schedule:

Registration Deadline: May 9, 2013
Submittal Deadline: May 23, 2013
Final Jury Meeting: Mid July

Awards Celebration: October 2013 (specific location TBD)

The 2013 Design Awards Jury will review all entries.

Gabrielle Bullock, AIA – Perkins + Will
Merrill Elam, AIA – Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects
Vivian Lee, AIA – Edmonds + Lee Architects
Jenna McKnight – Architizer
Ronnette Riley, FAIA – Ronnette Riley Architect

REGISTER NOW!!

Nominate for the 25-Year Award

Download the Submittal Guidelines

Download the Project ID Forms

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Interior Architecture Award – Bar Agricole, San Francisco, CA

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Photo © Matthew Millman

With a name inspired by the farmhouse rums of the French Caribbean, Bar Agricole embodies both the urban and the agricultural. Designed by Joshua Aidlin, founding partner of Aidlin Darling Design, the restaurant is both down-to-earth and sophisticated in its approach to food, drink, and the dining experience.

As a primary spatial gesture, the existing long, tall warehouse interior is given a sense of intimacy and scale by a wooden “hull.” The hull is crafted of reclaimed whiskey barrel oak, milled into thin strips and lapped in a scale-like texture. Delicate glass sculptures descend from skylights above the hull, puncturing through the wood ceiling and distributing daylight throughout the dining room, while promoting both natural ventilation and passive cooling. Their airy and fluid lines are formed by warped pyrex cylinders, fused into curvaceous glittering volumes that float gently overhead.

The restaurant’s bars, banquettes, and service spaces are arrayed as furniture-like objects within this interior volume. Two bars, made of board-formed concrete and recycled 100-year-old barn beams, are anchors of space and activity. Contrasting their orthogonal geometry are the sinuous banquettes, also of cast concrete. In the banquettes, however, the concrete is a seemingly impossible one-inch thick ribbon, achieved using a new Ductal concrete. More recycled wood, here riddled with wormholes, warms the concrete for the sitting body and links the booths with the overall project palette.

Photo © Matthew Millman

The dining experience does not end at the perimeter of the building envelope. Through a deep steel and glass facade, the dining room connects out to a courtyard and biodynamic garden. Homegrown organic herbs for artisanal cocktails are harvested from a series of raised beds, which directly adjoin outdoor dining tables—reconnecting the city dweller to earth and agriculture while providing respite from the urban streetscape.

The construction uses durable and sustainable materials, fabricated either on site or within a 15-mile radius of the site, to achieve the greatest effect in a minimal and efficient manner. The restaurant is located within a LEED Gold building and benefits from the base building’s solar arrays and living roof. Bar Agricole achieved LEED CI Platinum certification.

After earning his Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Cincinnati, Aidlin founded a furniture design studio that later expanded to incorporate architectural design. His work explores the principles of design for multi-sensory human experience through a broad range of project scales. Aidlin’s dedication to design is augmented by his lifelong interest in the arts and by his strong sense of responsibility towards the environment.

Photo © Matthew Millman

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Design Awards Celebration

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Celebrating the innovations of California Architects and to highlight exceptional design in our communities, the AIACC recognized the 2012 Design Award recipients at SCI-Arc on Thursday – Nov 8, 2012. The goal of this presentation was not only to honor quality design and recognize people for their outstanding contributions and service to the profession, but to engage in a meaningful dialogue about our role in shaping communities.

The program featured several awards programs – click on each for a complete list of recipients.

  • Design Awards – acknowledging outstanding built projects
  • Urban Design Awards – which recognizes distinguished achievements that involve the expanding role of the architect in urban design, city planning, and community development.
  • Residential Awards – which recognize and celebrates outstanding achievements in residential architecture and design from Californian firms and architects
  • 2013 Council Awards – which are the highest achievement awards bestowed on a group or individual. They include the Distinguished Practice Award, the Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Firm Award
  • The Nathaniel A. Owings Award – (sponsored by the California Architectural Foundation) which recognizes projects by individuals or groups that demonstrate outstanding accomplishments in the reconciliation of nature and the built environment.

Want to see who was at the party?
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Special thanks to Andersen Windows and Doors and Titan AEC for sponsoring and supporting the 2012 Awards Program.

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Announcing the 2012 Residential Award Recipients

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The AIACC is proud to announce the recipients of the 2012 Inaugural Residential Awards. A total of nine projects were selected and awarded in three categories honor, merit and citation.


Honor Award Category

Merit Award Category

Citation Award Category

Special Acknowledgement was bestowed upon Studio EA for the 747 Wing House.

The prestigious jury consisted of architects, designers, and critics from California and Seattle, WA.

  • Mary Johnston, FAIA, Johnston Architects
  • Tom Kundig, FAIA, Olson Kundig Architects
  • Elizabeth Ranieri, FAIA, Kuth/Ranieri Architects
  • Anni Tilt, AIA, Arkin Tilt Architects

The award recipients will be acknowledge at the upcoming awards ceremony on November 8, 2012, at SCI-Arc, located at 960 East 3rd Street, WM Keck Lecture Hall, Los Angeles. Winners will be awarded in conjunction with AIA California Council’s Design Award and Council Award recipients.

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2012 Design Award: Golden Gate Branch Library

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[it-rotate group=”171″]



In November 2000, San Francisco voters approved a $105.9 million bond measure to upgrade branch libraries throughout the City. Bay Area Paulett Taggart Architects (architecture) and Tom Eliot Fisch (interiors) were selected with a goal to strengthen communities by bringing every neighborhood branch up to building and disability access standards, thus transforming them into environmentally sustainable, 21st century libraries. The project won a 2012 Honor Award from the AIA California Council.

Nestled in the City’s Cow Hollow neighborhood, the project is one of seven Carnegie branch libraries to benefit from San Francisco’s Branch Library Improvement Program. Designed by Ernest Coxhead in the Beaux Arts style, the elegantly curved basilica structure was built in 1918. The $4.2 million Golden Gate Valley Branch Library rehabilitation, completed in October 2011, brings a historic jewel into contemporary library use as a safe, accessible, technology-rich, LEED Gold public resource, while preserving its historic integrity for future generations to enjoy.

Golden Gate Branch Library

Photo © Bruce Damonte Photography

The rehabilitation involved accessibility, life safety and systems upgrades, façade restoration, and a complete interior renovation consistent with the Secretary of the Interior’s standards for the treatment of historic properties. A small modern addition, which provides accessibility, sits adjacent to the existing structure but remains distinct from the historic language of the original architecture. The architecture of the addition incorporates contemporary materials and elements that share the tonal warmth of the building’s original terra cotta and provides a complementary counterpoint to the historic building.

Challenges of the project included the seismic upgrade of the building. Moment frames had to be designed to minimize any change in the appearance of the interior of the building and carefully dropped into place from above by crane. A second design challenge was the intersection of new and old, where the addition surrounds the historic building’s southwest corner. Their solution was to preserve the existing building corner by showcasing it as an interior element within a new, two-story space, which accentuates the coming together of the historic and the modern.

Photo © Bruce Damonte Photography

Sustainability was an important issue in this rehabilitation. As this is an historic building, materials were restored, cleaned and reused wherever possible, and systems upgrades were done for energy efficiency. Solar photovoltaic panels were also added to the south sloping roof, which is located at the back of the building and thus not visible from the street.

This award-winning project was a joint venture headed by Bobbie Fisch, a partner at Tom Eliot Fisch, and Paulett Taggart, FAIA, of Paulett Taggart Architects. Taggart was raised in Boston and the Netherlands. She received her B. Arch. from University of Oregon and M. Arch. from Harvard University. She has a staff of nine who specialize in community facilities and affordable housing.

Left: Paulett Taggart, FAIA
Right: Bobbie Fisch

Growing up, Fisch lived in many places: Virginia, New Jersey, New Mexico, Iowa, and Okinawa. She attended Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia. Her firm of 23 employees specializes in interior architecture and programming for practice areas that include workplace and healthcare.

To view this award winning project and other 2012 Design Award recipients click here.

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The Maybeck Legacy

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As this year’s award winners are revealed, we take a look back at the past winners of one of the most prestigious Design Awards: the Maybeck Award, which honors individual Californian architects for their outstanding bodies of work over ten years or more. Since 1992, only fourteen architects have been selected for the Maybeck. Who are they, and what is their legacy in California?

Bernard Maybeck (1862-1957) was a visionary creative force in California architecture. After spending the early years of his career at the University of California, Berkeley, in the 1890s, working as the school’s first professor of architecture, he opened a San Francisco practice focused mainly on homes and churches. Among his many acclaimed buildings that have stood the test of time are the First Church of Christ, Scientist in Berkeley and the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco.

Maybeck Award Recipients

1992
Joseph Esherick, FAIA
1993
William Turnbull Jr., FAIA
1994
Edward C. Bassett, FAIA
1995
Ray Kappe, FAIA
1996
Pierre Koenig, FAIA
1997
Frank Gehry, FAIA
2000
Mario Ciampi, FAIA
2001
Craig Hartman, FAIA
2003
Charles Davis, FAIA
2004
Daniel Solomon, FAIA
2005
Rob W. Quigley, FAIA
2006
George Homsey, FAIA
2007
Thom Mayne, FAIA
2011
Steven Ehrlich, FAIA
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Jonathan Segal, FAIA, Recognized by Residential Architect Magazine

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design awards, San Diego

The Charmer - Jonathan Segal, FAIA, Architect - Photo courtesy of Matthew Segal


The Charmer, San Diego, designed by Jonathan Segal, FAIA, has been named 2012 Project of the Year by Residential Architect magazine. Other California winners are Aidlin Darling Design, Ehrlich Architects, Brooks + Scarpa, Push, Warren Techentin Architecture, and Minarc. Read about them here.

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