AIA Honor Awards 2009
Planning for Preservation in China
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill designed a master plan for central Foshan, a fast-growing city in Guangdong province, China, after city officials became concerned about the disappearing architectural heritage of the Old Town. With the 63.9-hectare (158-acre) Foshan Donghuali Master Plan, SOM aims to provide a new model for historic preservation and revitalization that can apply throughout China.
Outside the Old Town (Donghuali), a series of dense, mixed-use, transit-oriented private developments will be built to accommodate growth, while also creating a funding mechanism for preserving and restoring the Old Town, including the 900-year-old temple at its heart.
With the Old Town viewed as a central "valley" form, the tall high-rise developments were designed as "hills," increasing in height with distance from the historic area.
The $1.2 billion plan seeks to preserve the web of alleys and open spaces in the historic district, aligning and extending them into new outlying developments. The plan also calls for imposition of height limits to preserve the temple's famous roof profile and sky silhouette.
Traditional Chinese principles of feng shui, focused on sun, wind, and water, were integral to the design of sustainable features. For example, the east-west orientation of buildings will optimize daylighting and passive solar design, and the courtyards and open-screen fenestration will maximize cross-ventilation.
The first phase of implementation is currently underway, with full build-out expected in ten years. The Guangzhou Planning Institute served as the associate firm.
Cathedral in Baltimore
At the Basilica of the Assumption in Baltimore, Maryland, also known as the Baltimore Cathedral, John G. Waite Associates, Architects restored the 19th-century landmark to the innovative original vision of architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe, while also deftly introducing a below-ground addition.
The first Roman Catholic cathedral in the United States, and an exemplar of the Federal style, the building was constructed over many decades starting in 1806. A series of major alterations later compromised the spatial configuration and transformed the light-colored interior, awash in daylight, into a somber space.
For the $32 million, 35,000-square-foot (3,300-square-meter) project, the design team conserved the original stone and stucco exterior walls, and replicated windows, skylights, flooring, church furniture, and the wood-shingle-and-copper roof. The altar was recreated and installed on a track system so that it could be moved forward when needed to meet the worship guidelines of Vatican II.
In the undercroft, a chapel was constructed — a previously unbuilt feature planned by Latrobe. The foundation was underpinned and the undercroft excavated to provide an additional 8,500 square feet (790 square meters) of usable space. A new fire-resistant vault opening off the undercroft contains restrooms, mechanical rooms, and utility spaces, making the building ADA accessible and code-compliant, and reducing the fire risk.
Inside, the original paint scheme was restored, the 24 skylights uncovered, and stained glass replaced with clear window glass, once again allowing daylight to become the primary light source. A new fresh-air HVAC system helps reduce energy costs by about 30 percent.
Lakeside Redevelopment in Chicago
The Southworks Lakeside Chicago Development master plan details the redevelopment of the former South Works steel mill site in Chicago, Illinois. Located on about 600 acres (240 hectares) adjoining the city's working-class Southside neighborhood, with 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers) of Lake Michigan shoreline, the project has been accepted as a LEED-ND pilot project, with the goal of Silver certification or better.
Sasaki Associates, Inc. and SOM developed the master plan, with associate architect Antunovich Associates, based on the output of a public process. The 30-year redevelopment will transform the brownfield site into a compact, pedestrian- and transit-oriented urban district comprising thousands of housing units, two new schools, neighborhood retail and commercial spaces, research and development uses, and ample open space.
The AIA jury for regional and urban design commended the planners: "The welcome irregularities and idiosyncrasies in surrounding fabric create a wide variety of experiences and places."
A diverse range of building typologies are proposed, including high-rise towers that take advantage of water and skyline views; midrise residential buildings that define special districts and public spaces; and street-defining townhouses.
Southworks will also include a new 100-acre (40-hectare) lakefront park and a variety of smaller public spaces, helping connect existing neighborhoods to the lake for the first time in over a century. Sustainable landscape features will include pervious pavement, rain gardens, and migratory bird habitat.
Office in Rockefeller Center
New York City-based Tishman Speyer Properties, an international real estate development and management company, relocated its corporate headquarters to the historic Rockefeller Center, one of the firm's signature properties.
Lehman Smith McLeish modified the seventh floor of 1930s building to exemplify the company's work, with clean lines and reflective surfaces, juxtaposing solid and transparent volumes. Extensive reengineering of building systems allowed large spaces to be carved out of the structure, creating a gallerylike setting for the company's extensive modern art collection, highlighted as central to the client's identity.
The AIA interiors jury called the project "powerful in its subtlety and refinement," commending it as a respectful renovation of a historic building. "The architecture doesn't compete with the art work," added the jury. "It respects it without being a white box."
Eleven more projects received 2009 AIA Institute Honor Awards: seven in interiors and four in regional and urban design.
Barclays Global Investors Headquarters, San Francisco, by STUDIOS Architecture.
Chronicle Books, San Francisco, by Mark Cavagnero Associates.
Heckscher Foundation for Children, New York City, by Christoff:Finio Architecture.
Jigsaw (House), Washington, D.C., by David Jameson Architect.
R.C. Hedreen (Offices), Seattle, by NBBJ.
Town House, Washington, D.C., by Robert M. Gurney, FAIA.
World Headquarters for IFAW, Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts, by designLAB architects.
Regional and Urban Design:
Orange County Great Park, Irvine, California, by TEN Arquitectos.
Porchscapes: Between Neighborhood Watershed & Home, Fayetteville, Arkansas, by University of Arkansas Community Design Center.
Central Park of the New Radiant City, Guangming New Town, China, by Lee + Mundwiler Architects.
Treasure Island Master Plan, San Francisco, by SOM.
The recipients of the 2009 AIA Institute Honor Awards will be honored in April at the AIA 2009 National Convention and Design Exposition in San Francisco.
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