Chicago Does Stars
In deference to the industrial-residential context, the living space is stark, with a steel frame suspended from the old masonry walls and with expanses of concrete, metal, and glass.
Perkins & Will designed a mixed-used, medium-rise tower, called the "Contemporaine" in the River North neighborhood of Chicago. The first four stories are retail and garage space, and they form a pedestal to an 11-story residential volume of concrete and glass.
Balconies of the Contemporaine extend outward, and multistory reveals are carved into the main form. "The whole program is expressed in the building's different facades," said a juror. The building can be clearly read as a series of combined parts of varying scales, addressing the neighborhood's mix of converted warehouses, low-rise retail, and newer residential towers.
Receiving special recognition from the Chicago AIA jury was a "Marble Curtain" by Studio Gang Architects for the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. The architects collaborated with a stone mason to explore new possibilities of stone as a building material.
The museum's low floor load capacity made it difficult to support stone from below, so they used tension rather than compression and created a suspended curtain of thin stone pieces. Interlocking jigsaw-puzzle shapes were cut with a water jet and backed with fiber resin to provide redundancy. The mason worked from the top down to create an 18-foot- (5.5-meter-) tall, one-ton (900-kilogram) curtain of marble that hangs from the ceiling without any supporting frame.
Receiving a sustainability award was the Racine (Wisconsin) Art Museum, designed by Brininstool + Lynch. The architects reused an existing building in a pedestrian-friendly downtown, adding to its anti-sprawl revitalization. Interior finishes include recycled rubber flooring and wood from rapidly renewable sources, while the exterior features recyclable materials such as acrylic and aluminum.
The jury for the Chicago AIA awards program included Lawrence Scarpa, AIA, Pugh + Scarpa; Cheryl McAfee-Mitchell, FAIA, Charles F. McAfee Architects, Planners and Program Managers; Stanley Boles, FAIA, BOORA Architects; Kendall Wilson, AIA, IIDA, LEED AP, Envision Design; Arthur Smith, FAIA, HarleyEllis; Miguel Rivera, AIA, Miró Rivera Architects Inc.; Douglas Farr, AIA, Farr Associates; Michelle Halle Stern, AIA, PE, Delta Institute; and Leonard Sciarra, AIA, Serena Sturm Architects Ltd.
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