AIA Announces Urban Design Awards

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) announced its 2011 Institute Honor Awards, “the profession’s highest recognition of works that exemplify excellence in architecture, interior architecture and urban design.” More than 700 submissions were received and 27 projects won awards. 

In the regional and urban design category, one landscape architecture firm won and a number of firms were also included as part of winning integrated design teams. Projects focused on sustainable urban redevelopment, open space development, “de-carbonization strategies,” green infrastructure, and ecosystem restoration. More information on project teams along with image slideshows can be found via the project pages. 

Winners in the regional and urban design category:

Beijing CBD East Expansion; Beijing, China
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (with landscape architecture by the Office of James Burnett)

“Accommodating up to 7 million square meters of new development over a 3 square kilometer site, the plan calls for a restored commitment to public open space and a heightened focus on connectivity and mobility through advanced public transportation systems. A district-wide intelligent infrastructure system, composed of integrated utilities and controlled by smart technology, enables the CBD to function at optimum efficiencies and creates a model for large-scale, low-carbon, urban development.”

Chicago Central Area DeCarbonization Plan; Chicago
Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture

“The project team developed a database (energy use, size, age, use, and estimated carbon footprint) of more than 550 buildings. The team used that database, tied to a 3-D model, to develop the DeCarbonization Plan, which interweaves energy engineering, architecture and urban design. In the DeCarbonization Plan’s synergistic approach, eight key strategies work together with a parametric model.”

Community | City: Between Building and Landscape. Affordable Sustainable Infill for Smoketown; Louisville, Kentucky
Marilys R. Nepomechie, FAIA; Marilys R. Nepomechie Architect + Florida International University and Marta Canavés, ASLA, IIDA; Marta Canavés Design + Florida International University (along with a range of other organizations, including the Louisville Metro Parks department and Olmsted Conservancy).

“This project remediates existing brownfields and re-activates a long-neglected connection among an African American residential neighborhood, an historic Olmsted park, and the Ohio Riverfront. By introducing a range of housing typologies, social service spaces, and new collective green spaces, it fills gaps in an existing 19th century neighborhood fabric, increasing density while sensitively reinforcing its historic urban structure. The project re-activates long-neglected interstitial neighborhood spaces to produce a newly robust public realm.”

Gowanus Canal Sponge Park™; New York City
dlandstudio llc

“The Gowanus Canal Sponge Park™ is a public open space system that slows, absorbs and filters surface water runoff with the goal of remediating contaminated water, activating the private canal waterfront, and revitalizing the neighborhood. The total proposed area for the Gowanus Canal Sponge Park™ system is 11.4 acres: 7.9 acres of esplanade and recreational open spaces, and 3.5 acres of remediation wetland basins. The most unique feature of the park is its character as a working landscape: its ability to improve the environment of the canal over time while simultaneously supporting public engagement with the canal ecosystem.”

This project also won a 2010 ASLA professional award.

Low Impact Development: a design manual for urban areas
University of Arkansas Community Design Center

“The 230-page publication, ‘Low Impact Development: a design manual for urban areas’ is designed for use by those involved in urban development, from homeowners, to institutions, developers, designers, cities, and regional authorities. Low Impact Development (LID) is an ecologically-based stormwater management approach favoring soft engineering to manage rainfall on site through a vegetated treatment network. The objective is to sustain a site’s pre-development hydrological regime by using techniques that infiltrate, filter, store, and evaporate stormwater runoff close to its source” (see an earlier post on the manual).

Townscaping an Automobile-Oriented Fabric; Farmington, Arkansas
University of Arkansas Community Design Center

“Once a vibrant farming community, central to one of the nation’s largest strawberry and apple-producing regions in the early 1900s, Farmington is now a bedroom community. Unlike the totalizing pattern of a master plan, townscaping employs a serial organization of nodes to create a walkable urban environment within an automobile-oriented fabric. The townscape plan for Farmington integrates multiple placemaking strategies in: 1) context-sensitive highway design, 2) public art planning, and 3) agricultural urbanism. Placemaking in the townscape vocabulary offers a strategic pedestrianization of automobile-oriented patterns without denying the automobile’s fundamental role in servicing contemporary development.”

Also, see larger images of the winning projects at Bustler.

Image credit: Beijing CBD Expansion / Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP

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