2020 Best of Design Award for Young Architects: Atelier Cho Thompson
Location: San Francisco and New Haven, Connecticut
Atelier Cho Thompson is a bicoastal design and concept firm working between the disciplines of architecture, interiors, graphics, and design strategy. Its expertise and passions transcend the conventional boundaries between these disciplines, resulting in a rich cross-pollination of ideas and strategies. This integrated design approach produces holistic environments in which all elements are deeply related to each other and to the heart of a central concept. The firm pushes forward the architectural profession in three key ways: design excellence, business innovation, and community engagement. As a design firm, it believes in the power of collaborative, thoughtful, and forward-thinking design for all clients, whatever scale and budget they may have.
2020 Best of Design Award for Exhibition Design: Machine Hallucination
Designer: Refik Anadol Studio
Location: New York
Machine Hallucination is an immersive art exhibition of New York, by New York, and for New York—a fitting tribute to one of the world’s greatest cities and architectural marvels. Commissioned by ARTECHOUSE in Manhattan’s Chelsea Market and exploring over 100 million publicly available photographs of the city through artificial intelligence, the 30-minute experimental cinema piece visualizes New York’s story hidden deep in the city’s consciousness. By utilizing AI, a data universe of the city can be created in more than a thousand dimensions, allowing Refik Anadol Studio to intuitively understand the ways that memory can be spatially experienced and the power of machine intelligence to simultaneously access and augment human senses.
Project Name: Baleinopolis
Designer: Studio Gang
Project Name: The Polaroid Project: At the Intersection of Art and Technology
Project Name: Architecture Arboretum
Designer: Besler & Sons
Project Name: Haus Scallop, Haus Sawtooth
2020 Best of Design Award for Temporary Installation: Drawing Fields
Designer: Outpost Office
Location: Lake Forest, Illinois
Drawing Fields was a temporary performance venue on the campus of Ragdale, a nonprofit artists’ community just north of Chicago. Drawing Fields utilized GPS-controlled field marking robots to draw site-specific, building-scale drawings on the Ragdale campus. Outpost Office proposed this year’s ring as a series of temporal performances rather than a conventional installation. Each drawing in the series explored a different theme. Drawing Fields 1 probed robotic kinetics, Drawing Fields 2 delineated socially distanced zones for a scattered audience, and Drawing Fields 3 saturated the campus with colorful patterns. The project adapted to the financial and ecological precarity of our volatile present. Each temporary installation was water-soluble, nontoxic, and disappeared with rain, sun, and growth.
Project Name: Chapel for Luis Barragán
Designer: Robert Hutchison Architecture
Project Name: Society’s Cage
2020 Best of Design Award for Digital Fabrication: Stereoform Slab
Designer: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM)
Stereoform Slab examines the role of the ubiquitous concrete slab. It is an activation and an exhibition of a design method using advanced robotic fabrication to reduce the carbon footprint of concrete construction. Removed from its context, Stereoform replicates and abstracts a single-story concrete bay to create a simple architectural expression. SOM’s research reveals that 40 to 60 percent of a building’s carbon footprint results from concrete slab development.
When sustainable fabrication techniques are combined with robotics to create concrete formwork, material usage and waste are minimized. This new approach uses 20 percent less concrete, resulting in a 20 percent carbon reduction. At the full-building scale, carbon reductions of 25 to 30 percent through hyper responsive design and optimization are possible.
Project Name: Hobbs State Park Monument Trail Campsite & Trailhead Structures
Project Name: London Timber Pavilion
Designer: Schiller Projects and Novak Hiles Architects
Project Name: Rocket Mortgage Field House in Cleveland
Executive architect: Gensler
Engineering, fabrication, and installation of custom metal feature wall: Eventscape
2020 Best of Design Award for Research: New River Train Observation Tower
Designer: Virginia Tech
Location: Radford, Virginia
The New River Train Observation Tower design-build by Virginia Tech students and faculty sets multiple benchmarks for cross-laminated timber (CLT) research, design, and construction. Rather than import softwood CLT into oversupplied, hardwood-dominant forest regions of the eastern United States, the project team chose to “think local” to reduce carbon emissions. Following eight years of research, the team developed a structurally viable, high-performance local-species H-CLT product with low-grade wood. The H-CLT project is the first permanent building permitted for, and constructed with, hardwood CLT in the United States. The 30-foot-tall, 75-foot-long building sets a precedent for modular CLT construction and the upcycling of low-value local resources into high-value products in hardwood-dominant regions.
Project Name: The DW (The Dwelling on Wheels)
Designer: Modern Shed
Project Name: Fetch House
Project Name: GET WELL! Educational Design Ideas for the Post-Pandemic Era
Designer: LUBRANO CIAVARRA Architects
Project Name: Immersive Space Series
Designer: Office of Things
2020 Best of Design Award for Architectural Lighting—Outdoor: Constellations
Location: Pensacola, Florida
Constellations is a dynamic and immersive artwork animated by flowing patterns and algorithmic formations of light and shadow. It is an iconic sculpture that merges digital craft and cutting-edge fabrication with data visualizations of abstract phenomena found in nature at a variety of scales. Constellations creates a theater-in-the-round that acts like a portal into an invisible world of dynamic visual poetry inspired by ideas of science, art, and technology. Located between the Center for Fine and Performing Arts and the Hal Marcus College of Science and Engineering at the University of West Florida in Pensacola, the sculpture anchors the landscape between the STEM disciplines on campus and creates an open ended framework for dialogue between the arts and the sciences.
Project Name: Belvedere Castle Renovation, Central Park
Restoration architect and client: Central Park Conservancy
Lighting designer: Cline Bettridge Bernstein Lighting Design
Project Name: PG&E Larkin Street Substation Expansion
Designer: TEF Design
Exterior lighting design: Horton Lees Brogden Lighting Design
2020 Best of Design Award for Student Work—Group: Volland House No. 1
Designers: Design+Make Studio, a partnership between El Dorado and Kansas State University College of Architecture, Planning and Design
Location: Volland, Kansas
House No. 1 began as the Edison, a kit house commonly sold by the Gordon-Van Tine company. It was probably delivered in the 1930s by train to Volland, Kansas, where it was then assembled in its current location. The Edison was a two-bedroom bungalow described in the Van Tine catalog as a “snug little home…compact, easily heated, and with a room arrangement that is a wonderful space utilizer.” The house was subsequently transformed from a generic bungalow into a dedicated artist studio and accommodation space for the Volland Foundation. Its customization was both careful and complicated, requiring immense attention to detail and subtle refinements that heighten the home’s original features.
Project Name: The Bend
Designer: Kent State University
Project Name: Kaw Pavilion and Trail Markers
Designer: University of Kansas Architecture
2020 Best of Design Award for Student Work—Individual: Clearlake Wellness Retreat
Designer: Samuel Bager, Savannah College of Art and Design
Location: Clearlake, California
With this wellness retreat in Clearlake, California, the designer Samuel Bager found it was vital to employ architectural intervention strategies at three different scales to engage a lush, natural context. The project creates a cohesive atmosphere through a series of architectural moments that embrace the local environment, all with the aim of enhancing one’s perception of and relationship with nature. The separation of buildings on the site and the dispersion of programmed spaces foster privacy by distance—even in public spaces.
Project Name: The Asheville Museum of Algorithmic Art (MOAA)
Designer: Amanda Ridings, Savannah College of Art and Design
Project Name: Recovery
Designer: Sam Bager, Savannah College of Art and Design