San Francisco AIA Awards 2008
by Brian Libby
With 40 different awards given, and only a few repeat winners among them, there were plenty of happy architects by the Bay this year.
Pritzker Prize-winner Thom Mayne and his Santa Monica firm, Morphosis, received one of four honor awards for excellence in architecture. Morphosis shared the award for the San Francisco Federal Building with the local office of SmithGroup.
With its raft of "green" features, it seems the Mayne-designed structure could also have won in AIA SF's sustainability category. The building has a double skin for heightened thermal properties and a tall thin form to maximize daylight. Its elevators even skip numerous floors to force people to walk — and encourage them to congregate — in large open stairways. It all adds up to a building vastly more efficient than energy codes require.
Most of all, Mayne says there is an integrity to the design, rooted in sustainable programmatic goals, that can help its peculiar, futuristic form make sense to even those who don't follow the careers of "starchitects."
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