Projects of Lightness and Daring Win Design Awards

Event: AIA New York Chapter 2007 Design Awards Winners Symposium: Projects
Location: Center for Architecture, 06.13.07
Speakers: Alexander Cooper, FAIA — Cooper, Robertson & Partners; Thomas Phifer, AIA, FAAR 95 — Thomas Phifer and Partners; Eric Bunge, AIA — nARCHITECTS; Sara Caples, AIA — Caples Jefferson Architects; Robert Siegel, AIA — Robert Siegel Architects; Henry Smith-Miller & Christian Uhl — Smith-Miller + Hawkinson Architects; Kathryn Ogawa, AIA — Ogawa/Depardon Architects; Lea Cloud, AIA — CR Studio; Astrid Lipka — Lyn Rice Architects; James von Klemperer, FAIA — Kohn Pedersen Fox Architects; Robert Rogers, AIA — Rogers Marvel Architects; Frederic Schwartz, FAIA — Frederic Schwartz Architects
Moderator: Peter Waldman — juror, AIANY 2007 Design Awards
Organizers: AIANY Design Awards Committee

Design Awards

Courtesy AIANY

The Projects category of the 2007 Design Awards recognized 14 designs that are landscapes, still on the boards, fleeting, or otherwise ineligible for the Architecture and Interiors category. Light structures, flowing forms, and new ideas caught the jury’s eye, according to juror Peter Waldman.

The two Honor awards in the category went to projects memorable for their organic forms. Windshape, designed by nARCHITECTS, is a temporary inhabitable installation for the Savannah College of Art’s summer campus in Lacoste, France, that hosted events throughout the summer of 2006. Students helped wrap 30 miles of string around structural “tripods” made of arcing plastic pipes. As the wind increased, Windshape moved and shimmered over the natural landscape.

After gestating in the office for six years, Thomas Phifer and Partners’ design for the North Carolina Museum of Art is just now gearing up for construction. A “silky” roof of coffers and curved oculi will cover luminous gallery spaces. A series of louvers modulate sun and temperature. Landscape infiltrates the building plan, as the architects thought fitting for a museum with a well-known sculpture garden.

Thomas Phifer and Partners also won a Merit Award with the Office for Visual Interaction and Werner Sobek Ingenieure for a cast aluminum streetlight — the fifth in New York City’s “catalogue,” and the first to be added in 40 years. A taut LED strip, powered by a photovoltaic array, illuminates the entire cantilevered arm.

The façade of Smith-Miller + Hawkinson Architects’ 82-unit condominium 405 W. 53rd Street ripples like a boardwalk, permitting the best possible views of the Hudson River. Not yet constructed, this Merit Award winner will offer maisonettes in the tradition of Le Corbusier’s Unité d’Habitation in Marseille.

Rogers Marvel Architects won Merit Awards for two projects. For the Battery Park City Streetscapes, they designed a security system that incorporates street surfaces designed to collapse under the weight of a laden truck. A new park at 55 Water Street Plaza — a.k.a. An Elevated Acre — includes performance and play areas, artificial hillocks, and a steel-and-glass beacon whose colored evening glow is meant to enliven the southeastern tip of Manhattan.

A Merit Award also went to Robert Siegel Architects for the United States Land Port of Entry in Calais, Maine. Still in planning stages, this competition-winning project aims to deliver a welcoming gateway to the U.S., remain sensitive to the glacial geology of the site, and provide security by creating two fixed access bridges.

The Sheila C. Johnson Design Center at Parsons The New School for Design will be a soup-to-nuts rethinking of the ground floor of a campus building. Windows with occupiable ledges will be punched through the now-opaque façade, so that work displayed within will form the identity of the Center.

On the boards at Kohn Pederson Fox Architects is a pair of residential high-rises, 71 and 32 stories, for Pershing Square, Los Angeles. Going beyond the typical extrusion, Park Fifth creates “stacked neighborhoods” with a variety of scales and typologies. A low hotel/spa complex creates a monumental gateway.

Frederic Schwartz, FAIA, presented the NOLA shotgunLOFT Affordable Housing, an “affordable, sustainable, quality” housing project that received a Certificate of Excellence in the Global Green USA Housing Competition (sponsored by Brad Pitt). This prefab reinterpretation of the shotgun house includes a double-height space to enable natural ventilation, photovoltaic arrays, and some geothermal temperature regulation. While there is said to be a net 93% energy savings, Schwartz noted that some of the sustainable features were only possible thanks to the Hollywood budget available.

The Merit Award-winning 33,000-square-foot Zuccotti Park just southeast of Ground Zero, designed by Cooper, Robertson & Partners, has been in the works for 10 years. A reorientation effected with planters and an array of light strips in the paving will improve this open space won for the public through transfer zoning.

The Merit Award-winning Weeksville Heritage Center in Brooklyn, designed by Caples Jefferson Architects, celebrates a group of 19th century tenement buildings. The “heritage destination,” according to Sara Caples, AIA, acts as a gateway to the past with embedded artifacts and patterns derived from African art.

The Projects category of the AIANY Design Awards is, by nature, the most diverse. The 14 winning projects range in scale and type, are unbuilt or under construction, and are both temporary and permanent. The array of new ideas in the profession is reflected in this category, which was one of the jury’s main goals. More detailed reflections of jury members Peter Waldman, Frank Harmon, FAIA, and Jeanne Gang, AIA, are captured in a DVD now available for free from the AIANY.