Page N3.2 . 28 November 2007                     
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    Chicago AIA Awards 2007


    The building's "divine detail" is its rain-screen cladding system and window detail. Brightly colored fiber-cement panels are arrayed in a seemingly random pattern, making it possible to replace damaged or vandalized panels without drawing attention to the change. Slot windows join the pattern, their proportions matched to the panels, but recessed, in the plane of the building envelope. By day they seem to be dark holes in the cladding; by night, strips of light.

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    Among the many green-roof entries, the youth center's stood out as "exceptional," jurors said. Classrooms, offices, and exhibition spaces on the third floor overlook an 8,400-square-foot (780-square-meter) planted roof garden above the gym/theater and cafeteria. A generous 24-inch (61-centimeter) soil depth allows children to plant vegetables to be used in cooking classes in the center's kitchen. The skylights are integrated into this green landscape.

    Murphy/Jahn received an honor award for the Mannheimer 2 Corporate Headquarters in Mannheim, Germany, a companion building to the corporate headquarters the firm designed previously. The transparent new building meets its granite-and-glass older sibling at one corner of the block, reaching a glazed arm over the lower portions of the original building, then extending away, forming a courtyard between the structures.

    The new building organizes office spaces linearly, interrupted by an eight-story atrium, with solid cores on either side. The stairs are part of the building's skin. Executive spaces top the structure, under a roof with skylights. "It's filled with light and detail," the jury commented.

    One juror also remarked, "It's trying to push sustainability to a new level." A twin-shell facade reduces energy consumption. Outside air is taken in at each floor and distributed horizontally, eliminating the need for large air handlers and vertical shafts. Groundwater cooling is used in lieu of cooling towers.

    The Hyde Park Art Center in Chicago was another winner of an honor award. For this "distinguished building," Garofalo Architects sought to make the most of a modest budget by creating spaces that seem bigger than they really are.

    The signature element of the new facility is a glass-and-steel tube that seems to float above the sidewalk. This tube is a canvas for projected digital art, visible from both inside and out. In warm weather, the whole main gallery facade can open to the sidewalk. "The idea of the ever-changing element of the facade is outstanding," one juror said, "an idea to keep what appears to be a very limited budget from getting in the way of making beauty."

    Inside, disappearing doors maintain permeability while providing necessary fire separation, and long bands of vitrine windows provide transparency and can also house small exhibitions.

    Another of the four honor awards for distinguished building went to the Raymond Port of Entry (not pictured here), designed by Hammond Beeby Rupert Ainge Architects. This border-crossing station in northeastern Montana receives a high volume of commercial trucks and farm equipment. In the flat, open landscape, the facility is exposed to extreme heat and cold and constant high winds.

    The 23,500-square-foot (2,200-square-meter) building comprises two simple cube structures set within a precast framework. The glazed cube houses functions that require visibility and natural light, while the solid cube contains utilitarian spaces requiring low levels of natural light. Jurors praised the building for its "combination of two forms under a large roof they have a beautiful relationship. The solid form has external support, and the translucent form for daily use is made slightly smaller." One juror said, "It embraces the huge sky above; it's an elegant representation of the landscape out there."

    Sustainable Designs

    LCM Architects received one of four honor awards in sustainable design for the new Chicago headquarters for Access Living, a nonprofit disability advocacy and service organization. "The thought that went into this was incredible," jurors said. "They went above and beyond, incorporating universal and green design."

    The intersection of those two philosophies is the hallmark of the building, which was designed both to achieve LEED Silver certification and to accommodate a wide variety of users. For example, the lighting system incorporates daylighting to reduce energy use, but is also adjustable for people with visual impairments. The facility features low-emitting materials, which help people with allergies and chemical sensitivities as well as meeting LEED requirements. The four-story, 50,000-square-foot (4,600-square-meter) building also sports a green roof.

    Far from the urban fabric, the Conard Environmental Research Area Education Center of Grinnell College won a sustainable design honor award. Holabird & Root designed the LEED-Gold-rated education center, located in the college's Conard Environmental Research Area in rural Iowa. It includes a field lab, classroom, and greenhouse, to support both artistic and scientific nature study.   >>>

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    ArchWeek Image

    A green roof covers the Gary Comer Youth Center gymnasium, punctuated by several round skylights. The roof received a special recognition from AIA Chicago.
    Photo: Steve Hall

    ArchWeek Image

    Large projecting windows provide a counterpoint to the colorful rain-screen panels and slot windows at the Gary Comer Youth Center.
    Photo: Steve Hall

    ArchWeek Image

    Ground-floor plan drawing of the Gary Comer Youth Center.
    Image: John Ronan Architects Extra Large Image

    ArchWeek Image

    Second-floor plan drawing of the Gary Comer Youth Center.
    Image: John Ronan Architects Extra Large Image

    ArchWeek Image

    Third-floor plan drawing of the Gary Comer Youth Center.
    Image: John Ronan Architects Extra Large Image

    ArchWeek Image

    Gary Comer Youth Center longitudinal section drawing looking southwest.
    Image: John Ronan Architects Extra Large Image

    ArchWeek Image

    Detail section and elevation drawings at a projecting window of the Gary Comer Youth Center.
    Image: John Ronan Architects Extra Large Image

    ArchWeek Image

    The Hyde Park Art Center by Garofalo Architects received a distinguished building honor award from AIA Chicago.
    Photo: Garofalo Architects


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