We begin 2015 by reflecting on and recognizing architectural excellence with the second annual Best of Design Awards. The Architect’s Newspaper would like to thank our jurors—Thomas Balsley, Kenneth Drucker, Winka Dubbeldam, Chris McVoy, Craig Schwitter, Annabelle Selldorf, and Erik Tietz—for their disciplined attention, engaged discussion, and great taste. We selected these jurors because of their recognized talents working in a variety of disciplines and scales, all of which we believe reflect the dynamic nature of the profession. We are thrilled with their choice of winners and believe these projects suggest a number of positive developments in American architecture. None more so than our Building of the Year, which balances social engagement, environmental and community responsibility, innovative programming, and great design—all delivered on a tight budget. It is a credit to its architect and its enlightened client, and should serve as a model for how schools can play a role in community redevelopment.
The awards program also reflects the depth of talent and diversity of practices of our readers, as well as the many facets of architecture, all of which are covered in the pages of AN as well as on our numerous digital platforms. With over 230 entries submitted, the projects tell us something about what our readers do and where the profession stands today.
After Building of the Year, the largest number of submissions was in the non-residential interiors category, which ranged from hospitality projects, to offices, to cultural institutions. The winner was a surprising find, the kind of subtle project in an out-of-the-way location that deserves to be spotlighted. Multifamily housing continues to be a very strong sector for our readers and reflects the nationwide trend toward more urban living. The only tie this year was for single family houses, and the two selected could not be more different, however both respect the environment and celebrate their sites. Though a relatively small number of landscape architecture projects were submitted, the winner is so exemplary that it is without a doubt the pinnacle of the profession for the year. One of the smallest categories, Student Built Work, is always one of the most rewarding to judge, and shows how impactful a hands-on approach architectural education can be. After a decade or more of ultra-slick, digitally driven fabrication projects, our jurors gravitated toward a project that is as funky as it is futuristic. Our facades winner points to a mastery of design and performance, which could set a new standard for the redevelopment of upper Manhattan.
Awards programs should evolve, and looking to the 3rd edition of the Best of Design Awards, we have decided to allow submissions of projects built outside the U.S. as long as they are designed by U.S. practitioners, to better reflect the global nature of architecture today. We have devoted more pages than ever to the design awards, but please make sure to check out archpaper.com throughout the month for a full list of resources for each project as well as several honorable mentions, which will be published exclusively online.
With a steadily improving economy and building sector in particular, 2015 promises to be a strong year for the architecture profession. A lot of grit, patience, and determination went into making the winning projects so successful. We look forward to recognizing the best of 2015. Look for submission deadlines and new categories this summer.