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Archive for the ‘Awards’ Category

2012 Gobal BIM Award Winners Announced by Tekla Corporation

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

Article source: Tekla Corporation

Top of the Building Information Modeling Revealed

The winners of the Tekla Global BIM Awards have been chosen after the evaluation of competing models of unusually high standard. In the BIM Project category, Derby Business Park in Espoo, Finland, by Engineering Office Mäkeläinen, was the best. The Concrete award went to the Park&Ride De Uithof in Utrecht, the Netherlands, and the Steel award to the Emirates Air Line London Cable Car. Special recognition was given to the Icebergs – Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris. 

Derby Business Park Model Copyright © 2012 Tekla Corporation.

WZMH Architects, The First Fifty Years – Celebration

Friday, July 13th, 2012

Article source: WZMH Architects

This year has been an exciting year for WZMH Architects. The firm has secured a number of new projects and won awards for its latest work. However, 2011 is also special because it marks the fiftieth anniversary of WZMH and as such the firm has taken the opportunity to publish a book and launch a new website to mark the occasion.

WZMH Architects 50 The First Fifty Years book


Bay Adelaide Centre:

  • 2012 OAA Design Excellence Award

Durham Consolidated Courthouse:

  • Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships – Silver Award, 2012
  • CUI Brownie Awards – Category 3 – Financing, Risk Management and Partnerships, 2012
  • RAIC CaGBC Green Building Award of Excellence, 2011
  • World Architecture Festival Shortlist Finalist, 2011
  • ARIDO Award of Merit, 2010
  • AIA Certificate of Merit – San Francisco, 2008



Scenography, exhibition design for TENT in Rotterdam, The Netherlands by OOZE

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

Article source: OOZE


TENT presents the 8th edition of the TENT Academy Awards, a national competition between young audiovisual artists. The selection consists of the best final exam videos, films, shorts, and animations from all the Dutch art academies in 2007.

This year for the first time, the Awards include an exhibition in TENT, where the 2007 selection is presented alongside previous editions of the competition.

Images Courtesy Ximena Davalos

  • NAME OF PROJECT: Scenography, exhibition design for TENT
  • LOCATION: Rotterdam, The Netherlands
  • AWARDS: Tent Academy Award 2007
  • PHOTOGRAPHY: Ximena Davalos


2012 AIA Institute Honor Awards Recognize Excellence in Architecture, Interiors, and Urban Design

Monday, January 30th, 2012

Washington, January 27, 2012 – The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has selected the 2012 recipients of the Institute Honor Awards, the profession’s highest recognition of works that exemplify excellence in architecture, interior architecture and urban design. Selected from over 700 total submissions, 27 recipients located throughout the world will be honored at the AIA 2012 National Convention and Design Exposition in Washington, D.C.


The jury for the 2012 Institute Honor Awards for Architecture includes: Rod Kruse, FAIA, (chair) BNIM Architects; Barbara White Bryson, FAIA, Rice University; Annie Chu, AIA, Chu & Gooding Architects; Dima Daimi, Assoc. AIA, Rossetti; Harry J. Hunderman, FAIA, Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc.; Scott Lindenau, FAIA, Studio B Architects; Kirsten R. Murray, AIA, Olson Kundig Architects; Thomas M. Phifer, FAIA, Thomas Phifer & Partners and Seth H. Wentz, AIA, LSC Design, Inc.

8 House in Copenhagen, Denmark
Architect: BIG

This multi-family residential housing structure contains 475 units that accommodates a variety of residents. The bow-shaped building creates two distinct spaces, separated by the center of the bow which host the communal facilities of 5,300 square feet. The apartments are placed at the top, while the commercial space unfolds at the base of the building. As a result the apartments benefit from sunlight, fresh air and the view, while the commercial spaces merge with life on the street.

8 House in Copenhagen, Denmark - Night View (Images Courtesy Jens Lindhe)

41 Cooper Square; New York City
Morphosis Architects

As the new academic building for The Cooper Union, this building was conceived as a vehicle to foster collaboration and cross-disciplinary dialogue among the college’s three schools, previously housed in separate buildings. A vertical piazza—the central space for informal social, intellectual, and creative exchange—forms the heart of the new academic building. An undulating lattice envelopes a 20-foot wide grand stair which ascends four stories from the ground level through the sky-lit central atrium, which itself reaches to the full height of the building.

41 Cooper Square - Image Courtesy Iwan Baan

The Gates and Hillman Centers for Computer Science; Pittsburgh
Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects

Located on Carnegie Mellon University’s west campus, this building houses four departments of the School of Computer Science. The design required negotiating a series of complex existing site conditions and programmatic pre-requisites. Site challenges included demolition of existing buildings, a large zone of subsurface rock, existing sewer lines that limited the constructable area, and an existing campus spacial hierarchy that had to be respected.

Images Courtesy © Timothy Hursley and © Nic Lehoux

Images Courtesy © Timothy Hursley and © Nic Lehoux

Ghost Architectural Laboratory; Upper Kingsburg, Nova Scotia
Mackay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects Limited

This project, an architectural education center in the tradition of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin is sited on Nova Scotia’s Atlantic coast, where Samuel de Champlain made his first landfall in 1604. The permanent structures which now occupy the site among the ruins – tower, studio, cabins, barns and boathouse – are, in part, products of the design/build curriculum itself. They provide accommodation for the program and a venue for community events.

Ghost Architectural Laboratory

Virginia Tech Solar Team

The house is both a dwelling and an exhibition informing the public about issues of alternative energy and sustainability and has been exhibited internationally. The structure is a grid-tied solar powered house based on the concept of ‘Responsive Architecture’. It adjusts to climactic changes and user requirements through automated systems that optimize energy consumption while offering an architecture of delight. As a net-zero energy house employing active and passive systems, it generates more power than it uses over the course of a year.

LumenHAUS - Image Courtesy Virginia Tech Solar Team

Pittman Dowell Residence; La Crescenta, California
Michael Maltzan Architecture, Inc.

Inspired by geometric arrangements of interlocking polygons, the home is a heptagonal figure whose purity is confounded by a series of intersecting slices. Bounded by an introverted exterior, living spaces unfold in a moiré of shifting perspectival frames. Movement and visual relationships expand and contract to respond to the centrifugal nature of the site and context. An irregularly shaped void defined by these intersections creates an outdoor room whose edges blur into the adjoining spaces.

Pittman Dowell Residence - Aerial View in Night (Images Courtesy © Iwan Baan)

Poetry Foundation; Chicago
John Ronan Architects

Visitors enter through a garden then move towards the library space, which contains an exhibition gallery that connects the library to the performance space, where visitors can listen to poets read their work against the backdrop of the garden. Public functions (performance space, gallery and library) are located on the ground floor, while office spaces are located on the second level, organized into three areas. The building is configured to allow for views from all spaces out onto the garden. The building’s outer layer of oxidized zinc becomes perforated where it borders the garden, allowing visual access to the garden from the street to encourage public investigation.

Poetry Foundation - Exterior View (Images Courtesy © Steve Hall and © Hedrich Blessing)

Ruth Lilly Visitors Pavilion; Indianapolis
Marlon Blackwell Architect

This project is the result of a studied relationship between building, land and art, and serves as both a threshold to and a destination within the 100 Acres Art & Nature Park at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. The pavilion is a place of shared resolve where nature and artifice are sensually perceived as one and many; the detail and horizon. The 100 acre park site is born of wildly turbulent natural and cultural phenomena constantly changing the land’s structure, and is a place where one becomes conscious of the residual forms that reveal the creative life force at work in our world.

Ruth Lilly Visitors Pavilion - Night View (Images Courtesy © Timothy Hursley)

The Standard, New York; New York City
Ennead Architects

The 18-story hotel straddles the High Line, a 75-year-old elevated railroad line recently developed into a new linear, public park. The two slabs of the building are “hinged,” angled to further emphasize the building’s distinction from the city’s grid and its levitation above the neighborhood. The building responds to its context through contrast: sculptural piers, whose forms clearly separate the building from the orthogonal street grid, raise the building fifty-seven feet off the street, and allow the horizontally-scaled industrial landscape to pass beneath it and natural light to penetrate to the street.

The Standard - Image Courtesy Jeff Goldberg/Esto


The jury for the 2012 Institute Honor Awards for Architecture includes: Elizabeth Corbin Murphy, FAIA, (chair), CMB Architects; Robert Allen, Jr., AIA, Metalhouse; Mark Jensen, AIA, Jensen Architects; David Lenox, AIA, University Architect/Dir. Campus Planning, Stanford University and Erick S. Ragni, AIA, MaRS Architects.

ARTifacts; Omaha
Randy Brown Architects

The Kent Bellows Studio and Center for Visual Arts strives to ignite the creative spark in inner city youth. The design focused on minimal interventions to upgrade the building and provide the new spaces for the facility. The storefront intervention was a three dimensional sculpture of steel plates/tubes which creates windows, seating, facility signage, and the main entrance. The staircase/balcony intervention creates a continuous steel plate walkway that connects the entrance, gallery, library, office and the second floor studios. The library intervention is a meeting and reading space hovering above the gallery defined by a folded wood panel wall/ceiling that frames the artist’s moving backdrop wall.

Artfact - (c) Assassi

Children’s Institute, Inc. Otis Booth Campus; Los Angeles
Koning Eizenberg Architecture

The adaptive reuse of three industrial buildings created the headquarters for a non-profit organization that assists children and families exposed to violence. The campus is split by an alley with the north site focusing on preschool and early childhood services and the south site anchored around a community center offering educational programs (art, technology, nutrition, and after-school) as well as counseling services. A key part of the process was re-thinking program organization to reveal opportunities for creative and collaborative community engagement.



Children's Institute - Photo by Eric Staudenmaier


David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center; New York City
Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects

Wedged into Manhattan’s dense fabric, the 7000-square-foot passageway serves as Lincoln Center’s public visitor facility, welcoming city newcomers and neighborhood residents. Cantilevered canopies announce the presence of the atrium. Visitors enter through large glass doors. They are greeted by 20 foot-high plant walls. Green marble benches, as well as moveable chairs and tables, offer places to rest. A fountain in the ceiling drops thin streams of water into a stone basin. Sixteen occuli pierce the golden ceiling to bring natural light into the double height space.

David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center - Photo by Nic Lehoux

HyundaiCard Air Lounge; Incheon, South Korea

This project shifts the paradigm of a traditional lounge by combining lounge, retail and museum programs. Rather than a static place for waiting, it is a dynamic space one passes through to better prepare for the trip ahead. Among the unique features in the lounge are a custom vending machine, fantastic dream-like art movies by Hiraki Sawa, and a personalized flight tracking system. Also, there are two virtual skylights in the black box, both of which move slowly through the color spectrum of the sky. Within the constraint of a small envelope, reflective surfaces provide visual relief while cove lighting plays up the ethereal atmosphere of the space.

Hyundaicard Air Lounge By Gensler - (c) Ryan Gobuty / Gensler

Integral House; Toronto, Canada
Shim-Sutcliffe Architects

The project integrates many sustainable features into the site and building. A field of vertical geothermal pipes supplies heating and cooling for the entire project including the main concert hall/performance space for 150 – 200 people. A lush green roof is centrally located and a visual feature from many parts of the project. The vertical wooden fins provide sun shading from the exterior as well as contributing to the acoustical performance of the concert hall/performance space. Materials have been carefully selected for their aesthetic contribution as well as their enduring qualities based on life cycle costing calculations.

Integral House - Photo by James Dow

Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology & the Ancient World; Providence
Anmahian Winton Architects

This project, on the campus of Brown University, restores Rhode Island Hall’s exterior, and entirely renovates its interior. Translucency of both glass and wood creates varying levels of transparency and daylight between program spaces, encouraging a more interactive dialogue between faculty and student. The project is a leading example of the University’s approach to reanimating its historic building fabric and also demonstrates its commitment to sustainability. Rhode Island Hall is the first building at Brown to be certified LEED Gold for New Construction.


Joukowsky Institute For Archaeology - Photo by Peter Vanderwarker

Memory Temple; Los Angeles
Patrick Tighe Architecture

The installation proposes a new structural materiality through the use of renewable polyurethane foam. The foam was used as a total building assembly: structure, envelope, and acoustical barrier. Layers of closed cell foam (used structurally) and open cell foam (used acoustically) were combined to make up the wall assembly. A spectrogram of the composition served as a source from which a mapping of frequency was translated into points and vectors. This provided a framework for the digitally modeled three-dimensional surface. The data was then used to robotically carve the interior surface of the volume.


Memory Temple - (c) Art Gray Photography

Prairie Management Group; Northbrook, Illinois
Goettsch Partners

Inserted into a single-story, speculative office suite, the 7,500-square-foot facility is organized around three compositional elements: the colonnade, created by the building’s exposed structural steel columns and central ridge beam; full-height glass screen walls; and a custom maple “pavilion.” The simple, classic interior composition of thin glass frames and bold, clear millwork forms rendered in a timeless color palette—all awash in natural light—creates a platform in which the appreciation of fine art, design, and nature enables the client to continue his lifelong passion for creating business value through design.

Prairie Management Group - (c) Goettsch Partners

Record House Revisited; Owings Mill, Maryland
David Jameson Architect

Four decades after this project was featured in the 1969 Record Houses issue of Architectural Record, the current owners revisited the house with several alterations. A truss roof system allowed interior walls to be eradicated, yielding a condition of an unencumbered public and private pavilion linked together by a glass entry node. Floor to ceiling window apertures relating the pavilions could not be experienced within the original floor plan. The purity of the original brick fireplace and skylight ring at the center of the house is exposed and left uninterrupted, allowing for additional connection to the site.


Record House Revisited - (c) Paul Warchol

The Wright at the Guggenheim Museum; New York City
Andre Kikoski Architect, PLLC

The design solution references the building’s architecture, what Wright specifically called “the primitive initial,” without repeating it. In the process underlying architectural geometries were transformed into dynamic spatial effects. The sculptural forms create a flared ceiling. The undulating walls become comfortable seating. The arced bar and communal table animate the space. The playfulness of these forms offers a dynamic experience for visitors. The space achieves an elegant and dynamic setting for dining that both celebrates the museum and transcends it.


The Wright At The Guggenheim Museum - (c) Peter Aaron


The jury for the 2012 Institute Honor Awards for Regional & Urban Design includes: Bruce Lindsey, AIA, (chair) Washington University in St. Louis; Catherine Seavitt Nordenson, AIA, Catherine Seavitt Studio and Martha Welborne, FAIA, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Fayetteville 2030: Transit City Scenario; Fayetteville, Arkansas
University of Arkansas Community Design Center

As a complement to Fayetteville’s 2030 City Plan, this plan independently models a future based on development of a streetcar system. While city planning is generally future-oriented, scenario planning models specific futures from the insistent exploration of a particular driver through “what if” propositions. Scenario planning helps the community envision plausible planning possibilities that would not have emerged from charrettes and similar participation processes.


Fayetteville 2030 Transit City Scenario - (c) University of Arkansas Community Design Center

Grangegorman Master Plan; Dublin, Ireland
Moore Ruble Yudell Architects & Planners; DMOD Architects

This plan represents the largest higher-education campus development ever undertaken in the history of the state of Ireland, creating a vibrant new Urban Quarter for Dublin’s north inner city. It will accommodate 422,300-square-meters of academic and residential buildings for the Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT), along with replacement psychiatric facilities and new primary care facilities for Ireland’s national health care service, the HSE, and new amenities for the local community and the wider surrounding city.


Grangegorman Master Plan - (c) Moore Ruble Yudell Architects & Planners

Jordan Dead Sea Development Zone Master Plan; Amman, Jordan
Sasaki Associates, Inc.

This plan encompasses 40-square-kilometers of coastal land along the lowest body of water on earth. The plan lays out a vision and blueprint for fostering a dynamic, robust and sustainable tourism-based economy at the Dead Sea that will become a source of pride and revenue for the Kingdom and set the highest standard for sustainable development and innovative urban design. Critically, the plan establishes a “balanced approach” between development and conservation of this most precious resource. At the same time, it will strengthen local economies and greatly support social infrastructure for nearby existing communities.


Jordan Dead Sea Development Zone Master Plan - (c) Sasaki Associates

Master Plan for the Central Delaware; Philadelphia
Cooper, Robertson & Partners; KieranTimberlake

The master plan for six miles of the Delaware River waterfront in Center City Philadelphia, based on the Civic Vision which was prepared through an extensive public engagement planning process. The goal of the plan is to provide a practical implementation strategy for the phasing and funding of public realm enhancements to the waterfront, including the locations of parks, a variety of waterfront trails, and connections to existing upland neighborhoods. Specific zoning recommendations to shape private development as well as design guidelines for the public spaces are integral components of this project.


Master Plan For The Central Delaware - (c) Brooklyn Digital Foundry

Miami Beach City Center Redevelopment Project; Miami Beach
Gehry Partners, LLP; West 8; Hines Interests Limited Partnership

This 5.86-acre project consist of New World Center, an innovative facility for music education and performance; Miami Beach SoundScape, an adjacent 2.5-acre public park and event space; and a 556-space municipal parking structure. The project is located on two city blocks previously used as surface parking lots. New World Center is a unique performance, education, production, and creative space with state-of-the-art capabilities, owned and operated by the New World Symphony (NWS). Miami Beach SoundScape is a multi-use park that serves as an urban oasis and a gathering place for cultural and special events.


Miami Beach City Center Redevelopment - (c) Robin Hill

Portland Mall Revitalization; Portland, Oregon
ZGF Architects LLP

Extending the entire length of downtown Portland, this plan mixes multiple modes of transportation, stimulates adjacent development and re-establishes itself as one of Portland’s premier civic spaces. The project involved renovation or rebuilding of 58 blocks and 59 intersections while providing exclusive transit lanes for buss and light rail, dedicated lanes for autos and bicycles, enhanced sidewalks for pedestrians, and parking and loading zones. The revitalized Mall combines design character, aspirations, active context, operations and management of a truly great street for the 21st century.

Portland Mall Revitalization - (c) Bruce Forster / Eckert & Eckert

Reinventing the Crescent: Riverfront Development Plan; New Orleans
Eskew + Dumez + Ripple

Hurricane Katrina heightened public understanding that the riverfront in New Orleans is in fact the “high ground” and ripe for possible redevelopment. As such, this plan calls for the East Bank of the city’s central riverfront to accommodate a continuous sequence of public open spaces, and along this sequence establish 15 special environments. Some of these places reinforce and enhance existing public domains, such as improving the riverfront’s Moonwalk and creating a better pedestrian connection between the Moonwalk and Jackson Square.


Reinventing The Crescent: Riverfront Development Plan - (c) Eskew+Dumez+Ripple

SandRidge Energy Commons; Oklahoma City
Rogers Marvel Architects

The master plan for the new headquarters of SandRidge Energy spans multiple buildings, and multiple city blocks, where architecture and landscape architecture weave to balance company needs and civic engagement. The project creates a network of programs to support employees while forming a destination location within downtown. The distribution of programs serves as catalysts to encourage development of adjacent properties and integrate the company into the fabric of the city. Shared outdoor spaces enable employees, their families, and the broader community to enjoy spending time downtown.

Sandridge Energy Commons - (c) dbox & Rogers Marvel

2012 Twenty-Five Year Award

Project: Gehry Residence
Architect: Frank Gehry Architect

Gehry Residence - (c) Leslie Brenner / Esto


Gehry Residence - (c) Leslie Brenner / Esto

Gehry Residence - (c) Leslie Brenner / Esto

Gehry Residence - (c) Leslie Brenner / Esto


Gehry Residence - (c) Leslie Brenner / Esto

About The American Institute of Architects
For over 150 years, members of the American Institute of Architects have worked with each other and their communities to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings and cityscapes. Members adhere to a code of ethics and professional conduct to ensure the highest standards in professional practice. Embracing their responsibility to serve society, AIA members engage civic and government leaders and the public in helping find needed solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world.

Europan 11 San Bartolome 1st Prize Geologia Rurbana

Friday, January 20th, 2012

Article source: CUAC Arquitectura


In the island of Lanzarote two ways of volcanic landscape transformation converge:  the rhythm of the earth and the rhythm of human life. We can talk about coexistence and overlapping of changing processes that belong to different scales: the geological and the urban one. The agriculture has turned people into powerful agents of ‘displacement of material’, as powerful as the wind which they protect themselves from.

The project takes the idea of accumulation and overlapping of layers in the landscape construction. We take the reference of a geological section from a site adjacent to our sector for the development of the proposal, planning a ‘perforated basement’ and an architecture that has the ability of recognizing the strata in which it is inserted.

Section and group of images. Perspective of the exterior of the houses and references

  • Auther: Pulido+Piriz (CUAC Arquitectura)
  • Architects: Tomás García Píriz, Javier Castellano Pulido, Luis Miguel Ruiz Avilés, Serrano y Baquero Arquitectos, Juan Antonio Serrano García, Paloma Baquero Masats
  • Contributors: Cristóbal Adrián García Almeida, José Enrique Iniesta Molina, Alejandro Pedro López Fernández, Alejandro Carlos Galindo Durán, María de Lara Ruiz, Juan Bachs Rubio, Elena María Lucena Guerrero.


Europan 11 Leeuwarden 1st Prize New Water Garden

Friday, January 20th, 2012

Article source: CUAC Arquitectura


NIEU WAter gaRDEN, a new landscape of water, meeting between urbanity and agriculture.

The proposal arises Niwu Water Garden by the ensounter of three main materials: water, city and farmland. In a scenic enclave of particular importance to the city of Leeuwarden an appropriate balance between these materials allows to think about a hybrid landscape which establishes a transition between rural and urban.

Thus become a new environment in which elements of the city (the traditional and the present) establish a proper dialogue with the existing agricultural plot and its associated infrastructure.


  • Auther: Pulido+Piriz (CUAC Arquitectura)
  • Architects: Tomás García Píriz, Javier Castellano Pulido, Luis Miguel Ruiz Avilés, Serrano y Baquero Arquitectos, Juan Antonio Serrano García, Paloma Baquero Masats
  • Contributors: Cristóbal Adrián García Almeida, José Enrique Iniesta Molina, Alejandro Pedro López Fernández, Alejandro Carlos Galindo Durán, María de Lara Ruiz, Juan Bachs Rubio, Elena María Lucena Guerrero.


VJAA Receives 2012 AIA Architecture Firm Award

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Article source:  Zach Mortice, Managing Editor, AIArchitect

VJAA | 2012 AIA Architecture Firm Award Recipient

The American Institute of Architects Board of Directors on Dec. 8 awarded the 2012 AIA Architecture Firm Award to VJAA (Vincent James Associates Architects), the modest Minnesota firm respected for its consistently rigorous approach to research-driven form-making. The AIA Architecture Firm Award, given annually, is the highest honor the AIA bestows on an architecture firm, and recognizes a practice that has consistently produced distinguished architecture for at least 10 years. VJAA will be honored at the AIA 2012 National Convention and Design Exposition in Washington, D.C.

AIA President Clark Manus, FAIA, notified firm principal Vincent James, FAIA, by telephone immediately after the Board made its decision. “Thank you very much,” James said. “The AIA has been wonderful, and we depend on it in many ways. This is really just amazing.”

St. John’s Abbey and Monastery Chapter House and Chapel in Collegeville, Minnesota

Searching for embedded logic

Founded only in 1995, VJAA has already won acclaim for the way it uses architectural research to create buildings uniquely and empirically attuned to their geography, climate, history, and culture. The firm’s three principals—Vincent James, FAIA; Jennifer Yoos, AIA; and Nathan Knutson, AIA—have led VJAA on a wide-ranging search for the embedded logic of projects: the essential markers of place, function, materiality, and craft that lie beneath each work and serve as an armature for its development.

For a moderately sized firm in a struggling economy, spending time and money on these kinds of open-ended explorations could be a risky gambit, but Minneapolis-based VJAA has made it an explicit part of its practice. One area this research has focused on is material innovations, including technologies that combine structural and skin elements, surfaces that filter specified amounts of sound and light, and systems that temper the ambient climate. Another area of intensive research for VJAA is digital practice tools, like energy models. With digital energy modeling, the firm’s latest projects have started their design path with projections of how they’ll perform in a real-world environment, and these buildings are frequently cited for their pioneering sustainability. One recent project, the Charles Hostler Student Center at American University in Beirut, Lebanon, received a 2009 COTE Top 10 award, but this isn’t the only honor VJAA has been celebrated with recently: ARCHITECT Magazine named VJAA the top award-winning firm in 2010.

The Charles Hostler Student Center at American University of Beirut in Lebanon

For VJAA, this research has a much broader purpose than coming up with new gadgets to impress prospective clients. Most importantly, James and his colleagues use it to revise and refine the design process itself. From the firm’s award submission packet: “The critical function of our research is as much to provoke a rethinking or retooling of our process project-by-project as it is to inform the specific content of our work.”

It’s a design philosophy noted by previous winners of the AIA Firm Award, including David Miller, FAIA, of Miller Hull Partnership. “Theirs is an archetypal example of a reflective practice where they are constantly reevaluating the process with the undertaking of each new enterprise,” he wrote in a letter of recommendation.

The Dayton House in Minneapolis all images courtesy of VJAA

Until relatively recently, VJAA was a regional practice centered in the Upper Midwest, but its research has allowed it to create buildings that expertly respond to diverse geographies and climates in locations as varied as New Orleans and the Middle East. This research doesn’t only look forward to new levels of building performance and function; it also helps the firm look backwards. VJAA applied this practice approach in additions, renovations, and interventions to several Marcel Breuer–designed buildings on the Collegeville, Minn., campus of St. John’s University. In these mid-20th-century Brutalist buildings made of cast-in-place concrete, VJAA sensitively added new views, public spaces, and circulation routes, preserving the unique Modernist legacy of the campus and the work of an AIA Gold Medalist. Similarly, the firm’s international projects have explored how vernacular building traditions can be re-imagined with contemporary levels of function and performance.

“VJAA creates a place- and purpose-specific architecture founded on broad societal, technological, and artistic values,” wrote Andrea Leers, FAIA, of 2007 AIA Firm Award recipient Leers Weinzapfel Associates, in a recommendation letter. “Their work eloquently demonstrates the creative possibilities of joining environmental innovation, material exploration, and a thoughtful and economical response to site and program.”

The Lavin-Bernick Center for University Life at Tulane in New Orleans

Refinement and restraint

True to their Midwestern roots, VJAA’s aesthetic is unassuming, clean, subtle, and contextual; its buildings are unfailingly polite and friendly, no matter where in the world they’re located. “In an era frequently characterized by architectural indulgence and excess, VJAA is creating architecture of refinement and restraint,” wrote Leers in her recommendation letter.

A few of VJAA’s most notable projects include:

The Charles Hostler Student Center in Beirut, Lebanon, which organizes a village of contextual masonry and glass student amenity buildings around a radial “street” plan designed for ideal solar orientation, thus creating shaded microclimates. The facility uses a multitude of active (as well as passive) sustainability strategies like solar power, green roofs, and geothermal cooling.

The Type/Variant House in Wisconsin, a collection of richly textured wood-framed and copper-clad rectilinear volumes arranged on a rural site asymmetrically, which use their unique geometry to enhance the display of art objects in a sequential pattern.

The Lavin-Bernick Center for University Life at Tulane University in New Orleans, a student center addition and renovation that uses layers of porch-like screening and shading to facilitate the circulation of daylight and natural ventilation.

The Minneapolis Rowing Club Building in Minneapolis, a simple building that lets light pour in from a canted top corner window, illuminating a parallel series of interior roof trusses that serve as a visual metaphor for the teamwork associated with rowing; oars pushing their craft forward in lockstep.

Like all the best VJAA projects, these buildings offer a rare gift: expertly balanced designs situated at a precise intersection between expression and context, offering new ways for users to experience their site. “What I admire most about VJAA is the resoluteness of their work at every scale,” wrote Marlon Blackwell, FAIA, in a recommendation letter. “Whether it is at the scale of the city, the scale of the building, or the scale of the hand, each project is developed as a comprehensive, integrated system of determined relationships.” Whether it’s a simple house addition’s way of re-centering the domestic sphere toward better views, sunlight, and summer breezes, or a college campus’ second opportunity to define its identity through the evolution of the work of a Modern architecture master, VJAA has perfected the art of envisioning its buildings as vehicles to fully and truly experience a place.

The Minneapolis Rowing Club Building in Minneapolis


Sunday, January 15th, 2012

Article source: Steven Holl Architects


Profession’s highest honor goes to architect known for humanist approach to formal experimentation

Washington, D.C., December 9, 2011 – The Board of Directors of The American Institute of Architects (AIA) voted today to award the 2012 AIA Gold Medal to Steven Holl, FAIA. The AIA Gold Medal, voted on annually, is considered to be the profession’s highest honor that an individual can receive. The Gold Medal honors an individual whose significant body of work has had a lasting influence on the theory and practice of architecture. Holl will be honored at the 2012 AIA National Convention in Washington, D.C.

Holl and his firm, Steven Holl Architects have completed projects that tackle the urban-scale planning and development conundrums that define success in the built environment throughout the world. He’s able to work with diverse clients to get his projects executed, all while being a tenured professor at Columbia University. His explorations have served as an inspiration to his colleagues.

Higgins Hall

Holl completed two projects located in China in 2009 that are emblematic of his approach to architecture and his innovative method of design inquiry. His Linked Hybrid, in Beijing, is a series of circularly arranged towers, filled with 700 apartments and enough ancillary programming (hotels, schools, restaurants, park spaces) to form its own micro-urban community. The towers are linked by a system of 20th floor skywalks that trace a ring of public programs. In contrast to the mega-block street walls typically erected by Chinese developers, the Hybrid invites the city in with green space, public programs, and playfully varied porous massing.

The Vanke Center in Shenzhen is quite literally a horizontal skyscraper: a long rectilinear mass tipped on its side with arms and branches reaching out from its main stem. Holl’s building hovers above garden and park spaces on eight legs, creating a shaded micro-climate and quality public outdoor space that’s sorely lacking in developing-world cities. Making the building co-exist with the green space below necessitated that this developing nation take a fundamental symbol of its burgeoning prosperity–a new shimmering high rise tower–and tip it on its side. Such depth of inquiry and lack of presupposition in Holl’s work makes this kind of audacious gambit almost common in his buildings.

Knut Hamsun Center

In addition to China, Holl’s work can be seen across the United States and Europe. Examples of his work include:

  • The Nelson Atkins Museum Bloch Building in Kansas City, Mo., a subterranean art museum expansion that pierces the ground plane with five translucent boxes that materialize light like blocks of ice.
  • MIT’s Simmons Hall in Cambridge, Mass., a dormitory that Holl used to develop his ideas about urban porosity, later seen in his Chinese projects. Based around the conceptual motif of a sponge, the building features irregular volumetric gaps and transparencies, as well as vertical, funnel-shaped incisions that act as light and air chimneys.
  • The Knut Hamsun Center in Norway, a historical museum honoring the Norwegian writer that takes cues from Hamsun’s work to create a wooded vernacular-referenced façade pierced by walkways and glass observation decks, literary symbols of hidden impulses.
  • NYU’s Department of Philosophy in New York City, which redesigns the interior of a historic masonry building and inserts an open six-story light shaft, taking formal and conceptual guidance from the work of philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein.
  • Pratt Institute’s Higgins Hall Insertion, an addition to Pratt’s architecture school, in New York City, that join two red brick buildings with a glowing bar-shaped volume of varying transparency and opacity.

Linked Hybrid

“What, in my view, especially commends him as a candidate for the Gold Medal,” wrote Harry Cobb, FAIA, of Pei Cobb Freed, in a recommendation letter, “is his brilliantly demonstrated capacity to join his refined design sensibility to a rigorously exploratory theoretical project.”

Holl is the 68th AIA Gold Medalist. He joins the ranks of such visionaries as Thomas Jefferson (1993), Frank Lloyd Wright (1949), Louis Sullivan (1944), LeCorbusier (1961), Louis Kahn (1971), I.M. Pei (1979), Santiago Calatrava (2005), Glenn Murcutt (2009, and Fumihiko Maki (2011)). In recognition of his legacy to architecture, his name will be chiseled into the granite Wall of Honor in the lobby of the AIA headquarters in Washington, D.C.


About The American Institute of Architects

For over 150 years, members of the American Institute of Architects have worked with each other and their communities to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings and cityscapes. Members adhere to a code of ethics and professional conduct to ensure the highest standards in professional practice. Embracing their responsibility to serve society, AIA members engage civic and government leaders and the public in helping find needed solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation and world. Visit


Fumihiko Maki, Hon. FAIA, Awarded the 2011 AIA Gold Medal

Friday, December 9th, 2011

Article source: Zach Mortice, Associate Editor

The American Institute of Architect’s Board of Directors awarded the AIA Gold Medal to Fumihiko Maki, Hon. FAIA, the Tokyo-based architect whose international body of work has served as an extended meditation on the relationship of the part to the whole in architecture and in cities. The AIA Gold Medal is the highest honor the AIA confers on an architect. It acknowledges an individual whose significant body of work has had a lasting influence on the theory and practice of architecture. Maki will be honored at the 2011 AIA National Convention in New Orleans.

Fumihiko Maki, Hon. FAIA.

AIA President George H. Miller, FAIA, notified Maki by telephone after the Board made its decision. “The United States is my second country,” Maki said. “I am very very honored by this distinguished award.”


2011 Winners of the National Design Exchange Awards

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

In a ceremony on November 23rd the Design Exchange (DX) and distinguished judges announced Canada’s top 50 design projects. In its 20th year the awards welcomed hundreds of applications across Canada in the categories of Architecture, Interior Design, Industrial Design, Landscape Architecture, Urban Design, Visual Communications, Fashion and CEO of the Year. Projects were judged on their level of innovation, sustainability/accessibility, function, profitability and aesthetics.

About The Design Exchange:
The Design Exchange (DX) is Canada’s design centre and museum with a mission to promote the value of design. We are an internationally recognized non-profit educational organization committed to promoting greater awareness of design as well as the indispensable role it plays in fostering economic growth and cultural vitality. We build bridges by improving communication between various design disciplines, educators, businesses and the general public through programs, exhibits, lectures, and workshops.

Interior Design Commercial – Gold
Project: Espace Culturel Georges-Émile-Lapalme
Design Firm: Menkès Shooner Dagenais Letourneux Architectes / Provencher Roy + Associés, Architectes

Espace Culturel Georges-Émile-Lapalme


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