National Park Service Picks Best-designed Parks

The National Park Service’s first Designing the Parks competition announced that a total of 17 projects won honor and merit awards. The Park Service received almost 70 entries submitted by public organizations and private design firms in 20 states and five countries. To win, parks had to engage people, embody sustainability, break traditional barriers, involve the community in decision-making and development, and “demonstrate a reverance for place” (see earlier post). 

National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis said: “The entries prove that great park design can change derelict factory sites to ecologically responsible social spaces and old dairy barns to LEED-certified conference facilities. Because the National Park Service has a community and sustainability mission outside the national parks, it is inspiring to recognize these exceptional park designs. These places will improve people’s lives.”

The National Park Service’s Denver Service Center worked together with Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy to select the winners, recognizing park design excellence in four categories: master planning, site design, building design and historic preservation design. A number of these projects have also won ASLA professional awards.

Master Planning Awards 

  • Honor: Brooklyn Bridge Park (New York); Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc.
  • Merit: Parklands of Floyds Fork (Louisville, Ky.); Wallace Roberts & Todd
  • Merit: Minute Man National Historical Park (Concord, Mass.); Bargmann Hendrie + Archetype, Inc.
  • Merit: Flight 93 National Memorial (Somerset, Pa.); Paul Murdoch Architects and Nelson Byrd Woltz

Landscape Architects Site Design Awards

  • Honor: Waterfront Bunkaza Cultural Plaza (Osaka, Japan); RYUICHI ASHIZAWA Architects & Associates
  • Honor: Teardrop Park (New York); Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc.
  • Merit: Eielson Visitor Center, Denali National Park (Denali, Alaska); Denali National Park and Preserve
  • Merit: Concrete Plant Park, Bronx River Greenway (Bronx, N.Y.); City of New York
  • Merit: Santa Fe Railyard Park (Santa Fe, N.M.); Frederic Schwartz Architects, Ken Smith Landscape Architects, and Mary Miss, Artist
  • Merit: Hudson River Park, Tribeca Section (New York); Mathews Nielsen
  • Merit: Annenberg Community Beach House (Santa Monica, Calif.); Mia Lehrer and Associates

Building Design Awards

  • Honor: Pocono Environmental Education Center Multipurpose Space, Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (Dingmans Ferry, Pa.); Bohlin Cywinski Jackson
  • Honor: Liberty Bell Center, Independence National Historical Park (Philadelphia); Bohlin Cywinski Jackson

Historic Preservation Design Awards

  • Honor: Blue Ball Barn, Alapocas Run State Park (Wilmington, Del.); Wallace Roberts & Todd
  • Honor: Chapultepec Park (Mexico City); Grupo de Diseño Urbano S.C. /Mario Schjetnan
  • Honor: Cavallo Point Lodge, Golden Gate National Park (San Francisco); Architectural Resource Group and Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects, and Office of Cheryl Barton 

Learn more about the winning sites and read jury comments.

Image credit: Summer movies in Brooklyn Bridge Park / Julienne Schaer

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