Page N1.2 . 24 September 2003                     
ArchitectureWeek - News Department
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Chicago AIA Awards 2003


Less conspicuous but equally noteworthy, according to the awards jury, is a factory facade renovation by Andrew Metter, FAIA, annex/5 Architects, in the Chicago suburb of Schaumburg. The redesigned entry transforms the once ordinary facility leading one juror to say, "the composition is so beautiful, it borders on art." Using the language of the industrial curtain wall, the architects developed a steel frame that floats in front of the existing building. The infill panels for the south-facing facade consist of sun-shading louvers and sand-blasted privacy glass.

One of the distinguished-building awards went to a project in Germany: the Deutsche Post tower in Bonn by Chicago firm Murphy/Jahn. The 41-story, 530-foot (162-meter) office building is a split oval in plan, with a 24-foot (7.2-meter) wide atrium between two halves, which are shifted along their long axis.

Within the atrium are connecting glass floors at 9-story intervals forming sky gardens, which are conditioned by exhaust air from the offices. The building's double-shell facade is part of an automated building management system that controls cross-ventilation in the milder seasons as well as heating and cooling when needed.

The Highland Park High School Science Addition in Highland Park, Illinois, designed by Legat Architects, received kudos for its modern but respectful contribution to an older neighborhood. Spaced along a curving road, brick and precast concrete classrooms alternate with landscaped courtyards to mimic the smaller structures of the surrounding community.

Exceptional Interiors

Eastlake Studio received top honors in the interiors category for its design of the North American headquarters for Storck, a German candy company. Materials, forms, and bright colors were selected as a cheerful nod to the client's product. "The thing is a big jelly bean," joked one juror.

The white architecture contrasts with the caramel, chocolate, and citrus-inspired material palette. The plan avoids the monotony of open workstations by centering a power pole in each column bay and creating a rotated cluster of desks around it. An oval meeting area at the entry can be screened off by a sheer curtain and by pivoting millwork elements for displaying candy.

Another interior award recipient was the Racine (Wisconsin) Art Museum by Brininstool + Lynch Ltd. The Chicago firm also received a citation of merit award for the building itself. The 46,000-square-foot (4,300-square-meter) museum was created from a group of existing structures of varying ages and conditions. Gallery interiors are characterized by simply detailed, skillfully crafted neutral-colored surfaces. Said one juror, "The whole project is based on the idea of manipulating and controlling light; all the forms derive from that."

Honored with the "divine detail" award was an extraordinary residential stair made of perforated sheet metal. Designed by Wheeler Kearns Architects, the metal was folded and bent together, without fasteners, and suspended from an existing concrete floor slab. The steel is at once structure, enclosure, guard rail, and a continuous fold of treads and risers. The perforations allow light and view to pass through. Where the sheets double up at the joints, the opacity signals the stair's structure.

The Design Excellence Awards program, founded in 1955, is sponsored by AIA Chicago to recognize the best new projects by Chicago-area architecture firms. More award-winning projects are on display on the AIA Chicago Web site.

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This year's jury included Paul Jacob, III, AIA, RTKL Associates Inc.; Michael Murphy, AIA, Murphy & Dittenhafer Architects, Baltimore; L. Bradford Perkins, FAIA, Perkins Eastman Architects PC; Annie Chu, AIA, Chu + Gooding Architects; Steven Clem, AIA, TVS and Associates; James Timberlake, FAIA, FAAR, KieranTimberlake Associates LLP; Philip Enquist, FAIA, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP; Kathleen O'Donnell, AIA, Chicago; and Constantine Vasilios, AIA, Constantine D. Vasilios & Associates Ltd.



ArchWeek Image

Atrium of the Deutsche Post tower in Bonn by Chicago firm Murphy/Jahn. The office building was a 2003 recipient of a "distinguished building" award from AIA Chicago.
Photo: Andreas Keller Fotografie

ArchWeek Image

Highland Park High School Science Addition in Highland Park, Illinois, designed by Legat Architects.
Photo: James Steinkamp/ Steinkamp-Ballogg Photography

ArchWeek Image

Eastlake Studio received an honor award for interiors for the North American headquarters for Storck, a German candy company.
Photo: Steve Hall/ Hedrich Blessing

ArchWeek Image

The Racine (Wisconsin) Art Museum by Brininstool + Lynch Ltd.
Photo: Christopher Barrett/ Hedrich Blessing

ArchWeek Image

The "divine detail" award went to Wheeler Kearns Architects for a residential stair of perforated sheet metal.
Photo: Jun Fujinuma


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