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Going Public

Going Public

The new Brooklyn Botanic Gardens Visitor Center by Weiss/Manfredi, one of ten award winners.
Courtesy Office of the Mayor

As one of the largest developers and builders in the five boroughs, New York City has been committed to good design for over a century, through the Public Design Commission. Founded in 1898 as the Public Art Commission, the little-known body oversees nearly every detail in projects constructed by and for the city. To honor its most outstanding work, the commission has been conferring its Awards for Excellence in Design since 1982, the latest of which were handed out at a packed event last night at the New Museum.

“Public projects help define how New Yorkers relate to the city around them,” Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said. “In tough economic times, we all have to do more with less, but that doesn’t mean simple, elegant, and timeless public design can’t flourish. These award-winning projects exemplify the ideals of high-quality public design, and prove that public projects can be at once cost-effective, sustainable, and beautiful.” (He also made a lot of puns on the word “new” without much reaction from the crowd.)

In addition to the quality of the work, their sustainable aspects were very much on display, touted as a sign of the success of the city’s PlaNYC program. And as a further sign of the city’s commitment to spread quality design to the masses, all five boroughs were represented.

“I am fortunate to work with an administration that recognizes the impact that good design can have on our city,” Design Commission President James Stuckey said. “Many of tonight’s award-winning designs are the result of initiatives like Design and Construction Excellence, announced by the Mayor at these awards in 2004, and PlaNYC, that have set a new standard for public projects.”

View a slideshow of the ten winning projects here. They are:

Bronx River Greenway
The Bronx
New York State Department of Transportation, WSP Sells, The RBA Group

EMS Station 3
The Bronx
Smith-Miller + Hawkinson Architects, SCAPE / LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE

Croton Water Treatment Plant
The Bronx
Grimshaw, Ken Smith Landscape Architect, Great Ecology & Environments, Rana Creek

Brooklyn Botanic Garden Visitor Center
Brooklyn
Weiss/Manfredi

Bushwick Inlet Park District Headquarters and Community Facility
Brooklyn
Kiss + Cathcart, Architects, Starr Whitehouse Landscape Architects and Planners

Inside Out @ Riverside Health Center
Manhattan
Richard Artschwager

The Opposite of a Duck @ Glen Oaks Community Library
Queens
Janet Zweig

Shapes @ Elmhurst Community Library
Queens
Allan McCollum

Mariners Harbor Branch of the New York Public Library
Staten Island
Atelier Pagnamenta Torriani

A Special Recognition Award for the Staten Island Court Complex
Staten Island
Polshek Partnership Architects, Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects

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