Page N2.2 . 05 December 2001                     
ArchitectureWeek - News Department
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  • New England Design Awards
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    New England Design Awards


    The careful selection of finish materials and inventive detailing in the loft apartment coordinate with extraordinary skyline views to connect the loft to the city beyond.

    In awarding Ruhl Walker an honor award for the project, the jury praised the sophisticated detailing, wonderful lighting, and terrific integration of materials, summing up by saying, "this is just a great apartment."

    A Special Chapel

    A pair of projects won honor awards for William Rawn Associates, Architects: the Symphony Lake Amphitheater in Cary, North Carolina, which the jury praised as "an example of structure expressed most elegantly as a metaphorical cloud," and the Glavin Family Chapel at Babson College, Wellesley, Massachusetts, a "way cool, original interpretation of a place of worship."

    The chapel, a 30-foot- (9-meter-) high space in a wooded hillside setting, provides a nondenominational sanctuary for gatherings of 150 people. Two solid walls of granite face towards the busy campus center, and two walls of glass open the sanctuary to the light-filled wooded area beyond.

    "This is a highly geometric building that nevertheless relates very well to the exterior through lighting and views," said the jury. "The strong ceiling form draws the eye upward for a truly spiritual experience."

    The chapel is purposely situated on the uphill side of the site. The siting creates a path that ascends from the heart of the campus to culminate in the connection of sanctuary and nature.

    A Plant Shows What's Possible

    Another pair of outstanding projects earned honor awards for Ellenzweig Associates. The jury praised the Multidisciplinary Science Building at Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pennylvania, for its beautiful loggia, and varied articulations of public and private spaces.

    The firm's design for the chilled water plant at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology won raves for its "exuberant gonzo detailing," "fantastic" stairs, and its sense of fun and wit. The design, says the jury, is "a tour de force for what could easily have been a commonplace building."

    The addition of the chilled-water production facility increases the central utility capacity of an original 1960s two-story chiller plant. The new building houses a sophisticated 5,000-ton (4500-tonne) steam absorption chiller at the main floor level, with associated pumps and equipment at the basement level.

    An exterior wall of acoustical glass displays the entire colorful array of utility systems machines, related piping, and maintenance cranes creating "public art" along a previously neglected street.

    The monumental expanse of the main chiller hall, with its extensive natural light and loft height, is reminiscent of the great industrial plants and water works of the 19th century. All of this provides an efficient and well-lighted 24-hour working environment for plant staff, a lively streetscape, and a welcome beacon at night.

    A Preservation Winner

    Union Station in Worcester, Massachusetts, has served as a landmark in the city since 1911 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The Beaux-Arts building, which served as the hub of a once major industrial center, had been vacant for 25 years. It suffered serious deterioration from neglect, vandalism, and exposure to the elements.

    The owner, the Worcester Redevelopment Authority, commissioned Finegold Alexander + Associates to restore and renovate the building for reuse as an intermodal transportation center, incorporating commuter rail and bus service, travel support facilities, and a 500-car parking facility. Also included in the redevelopment were bus ports, offices, restaurants, shops, and pedestrian, roadway, and landscaping improvements.

    The station's main entrance is characterized by three elegant arches that are supported on huge Ionic columns. Originally the building featured two ornate terra cotta towers, rising 175 feet (53 meters) on either side of the main arches, but structural weakness necessitated their removal in 1926.

    The reintroduction of this magnificent design feature in lightweight structural steel and fiberglass cladding plays an important role in the renovation. Significant restoration work was also done to the building's glazed terra cotta facade.

    The building's elliptical vaulted ceiling and marble, terra cotta, granite, birch, and mahogany details, which originally adorned the main waiting room, were almost entirely destroyed by vandalism and exposure. The architects worked with conservators and the owner to develop traditional and contemporary detailing for the restoration of the historic interior spaces.

    An elegant, curved, free-standing staircase has been introduced in the Rotunda to take passengers to a second-level train platform. This sculptural element is clearly recognizable as a contemporary addition to the building's historic fabric.

    In awarding Finegold Alexander + Associates a Special Award for Historic Preservation, the jury commended the Union Station Intermodal Transportation Center as "a wonderful interior space brought back to life, an extremely complex project masterfully handled."

    A Continuing Contribution

    With its 25-Year Awards the AIA pays special tribute to buildings that have made a continuing contribution to the built environment. One of the three winning projects in New England this year was the Riley House in Guilford, Connecticut, built in 1976, by Jefferson B. Riley, FAIA, of Centerbrook Architects and Planners. The house was designed to answer a young family's desire for economy, energy conservation, a collection of memories, and delight.

    "This witty vernacular modern house built on a small budget is as fresh today as when it was first occupied," said the jury. In a single composition, the house recalls Riley's favorite places, from the stepped dormers of Rue St. Denis in Paris and the garden entrances of Charleston, South Carolina, to his log cabin in northern Maine and the New England cottages of Guilford.

    The front door opens into a garden-room, giving both delight and a sense of being connected to the natural world. Upper floor rooms are set back from the exterior wall to reduce heat loss from their windows. The interior windows also make a small village of rooms where conversations can be passed along, and one can lift the sash to smell what's cooking for breakfast.

    The house's solar heating ensured an increase in delight as well as energy conservation. The house was also meant to feel organic, with one space flowing into another. An overall symmetry of massing offset by asymmetrical parts was intended to imbue the inanimate mass with certain qualities of life.

    The impact of this clever little house, says the awards jury, "was felt in college and university design studios for years."

    The other two 25-Year Awards went to Quincy Market at Faneuil Hall Marketplace in Boston and the Design Research Building in Cambridge, Massachusetts, both by BTA Architects, formerly Benjamin Thompson Associates, of Cambridge.

    The AIA New England Design Awards jury was chaired by Gordon Chong, FAIA, president-elect of the American Institute of Architects. The jury also included Bruce James Abbey of Syracuse University, Bryant Tolles of the University of Delaware, and Diana Tracey, AIA, of the Jacobs Engineering Group.   >>>



    ArchWeek Image

    William Rawn Associates, Architects of Boston won an honor award for the Glavin Family Chapel at Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts.
    Photo: Steve Rosenthal

    ArchWeek Image

    The Multidisciplinary Science Building at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania won an honor award for Ellenzweig Associates of Cambridge, Massachusetts.
    Photo: Anton Grassi Photography

    ArchWeek Image

    Ellenzweig Associates was also honored for MIT's Chilled Water Plant Expansion in Cambridge.
    Photo: Steve Rosenthal

    ArchWeek Image

    Finegold Alexander + Associates of Boston was honored with a Special Award for Historic Preservation for the Union Station in Worchester, Massachusetts.
    Photo: Steve Rosenthal

    ArchWeek Image

    The Riley House in Guilford, Connecticut, by Jefferson B. Riley, FAIA, of Centerbrook Architects and Planners, which won a 25-Year Award, was judged to be a "witty vernacular modern house."
    Photo: Centerbrook Architects and Planners

    ArchWeek Image

    The Quincy Market at Faneuil Hall Marketplacein Boston, by BTA Architects, won a 25-Year Award for its continuing contribution to the built environment.
    Photo: Steve Rosenthal

    ArchWeek Image

    The Design Research Building in Cambridge, by BTA Architects, won a 25-Year Award.
    Photo: Ezra Stoller/ ESTO

    ArchWeek Image

    Julian Bonder & Associates of Cambridge received a Special Award for a Sensitive Interior for the Center for Holocaust Studies at Clark University in Worcester.
    Photo: Julian Bonder & Associates


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