AIA Honor Awards 2004
Using their update of the Los Angeles Design Center & Cisco Brothers Showroom as a focal point, John Friedman Alice Kimm Architects Inc. sought to improve the depressed area of South L.A. by creating a vibrant, pedestrian-oriented showroom district that would enable the many vendors in that area to display and sell their products, spur investment and job growth, and positively change the identity of the neighborhood.
The design-center/showroom is a renovation of 80,000 square feet (7,400 square meters) of abandoned 1920s warehouses. "This is a project that responds to the unique urban context of L.A. and incorporates color, materials, transparency, layering, and discovery into what used to be a very dead site," noted the jury. "Beautiful in itself, it is potentially the start of something even greater than itself."
Another architecture honoree is the Salt Lake City (Utah) Public Library by Moshe Safdie and Associates, in association with VCBO Architecture. The library features a triangular main building, an adjacent rectangular administration building, and a glass-enclosed "urban room."
The library was also designed to create a lively interactive public space previously missing in downtown Salt Lake City. The library's sloped and curving wall has already become an icon for the city, and its roof garden offers spectacular views of the city and surrounding mountains.
The awards jury noted: "The library makes a significant symbolic statement for Salt Lake City — proving that it is possible to design contemporary civic landmarks. This library will help redefine the downtown library for future generations, here and elsewhere. The glass-enclosed 'urban room' provides activity and delight."
One of the interior architecture awards went to the renovation of the First Presbyterian Church of Encino, California, by Abramson Teiger Architects.
The original 1954 A-frame church had tapering glulam columns and a stone exterior. The architects wanted to improve the quality of illumination and develop a form that would create a greater sense of closeness and reverie. They reorganized the pews in the round, brought the chancel floor forward, and lowered it to bring the pastor and choir closer to the congregation.
The architects also sculpted irregular planes and volumes to create different qualities of light in a unified expression as a metaphor for divine light and spiritual revelation. "The transformation heightens the experience of the building and embraces the worshippers," said the jury. "The light as a modulation of space was well-crafted."
One of the five urban design award recipients was Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, in association with Panto-Ulema Architects, for their Chicago Central Area Plan. The plan studies the location, scale, and design of new buildings and how future land uses and densities can be organized, balancing growth with quality of place and quality of life.
One goal as to make mass transit the first choice for everyone traveling to downtown. This plan, encompassing almost six square miles (1600 hectares), and with some of the densest urban districts in the nation, is unusual in its scale. The plan provides a guide to economic success, physical growth, and environmental sustainability.
The jury commented: "This plan takes a complex problem and explains it with understandable themes and graphics that communicate well. It illustrates an understanding of the city as a growing organism, recognizing the past so it keeps the historic character but adapts and develops in a bigger way."
Discuss this article in the Architecture Forum...
The jury chairs for architecture, interiors, and urban design, respectively, were Adrian Smith, FAIA, Lee F. Mindel, FAIA., and Ray Gindroz, FAIA. The recipients will be honored in June, 2004 at the AIA's National Convention and Expo in Chicago.
The Salt Lake City Public Library, by Moshe Safdie and Associates, received a 2004 Honor Award from the AIA.
Photo: Timothy Hursley
First Presbyterian Church of Encino, California, by Abramson Teiger Architects.
Photo: Richard Barnes
Chicago Central Area Plan by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP.
Image: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP
The Point House, Montana, by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson.
Photo: Nic Lehoux
Bayer Headquarters in Leverkusen, Germany by Murphy/Jahn.
Photo: Andreas Keller
The Brain, a house in Seattle by Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects.
Photo: Marc Prozzo
Skybridge at One North Halsted, Chicago, by Perkins & Will.
Photo: James Steinkamp
Center of Gravity Foundation Hall, New Mexico, by Predock Frane Architects Inc.
Photo: Jason Predock
Click on thumbnail images
to view full-size pictures.