The Rudy Bruner Awards for Urban Excellence have announced the five finalists for 2015. Founded in 1987, the accolade recognizes urban design, architecture and urban planning projects which address economic and social concerns within their environment.
Sponsoring the award is the Bruner Foundation, founded by Massachusetts architect Simeon Bruner who named the award after his late father, Rudy Bruner. Aiming to emphasize the role of architecture in the urban environment, the award identifies and honors places rather than people to advance discourse about how to improve cities. First to receive the award was Pike Place Market in Seattle. Seventy-three places in 25 states have been awarded since.
The finalists for the 2015 Rudy Bruner Awards for Urban Excellence are as follows:
Falls Park on the Reedy
The renaissance of a 26-acre river corridor running through the heart of Greenville, restoring public access to the falls and green space and catalyzing adjacent downtown development. (Submitted by the City of Greenville.)
Grand Rapids Downtown Market
Grand Rapids, MI
A new downtown public space promoting local food producers and community events, entrepreneurship, and education about nutrition and healthy lifestyles. (Submitted by Grand Rapids Downtown Market.)
The redevelopment of a vacant manufacturing building into an affordable and supportive living and working environment for public school teachers and education-focused nonprofits. (Submitted by Enterprise Community Investment.)
A two-acre community of 30 tiny houses and a common building that provides permanent, supportive housing for chronically homeless adults. (Submitted by Panza.)
The vibrant redevelopment of a corridor linking art, educational and healthcare institutions with surrounding neighborhoods, creating lively outdoor gathering spaces, retail shops, and restaurants, student and market-rate housing, and public transit connections. (Submitted by Case Western Reserve University.)
The finalists and ensuing Gold and Silver Medalists are selected by a nationwide committee of urban experts, including a mayor. The 2015 selection committee includes:
- Rebecca Flora, Sustainable Communities Practice Leader, Ecology & Environment, Chestertown, MD
- Larry Kearns, Principal, Wheeler Kearns Architects, Chicago, IL
- India Pierce Lee, Program Director, Cleveland Foundation, Cleveland, OH
- Mia Lehrer, President, Mia Lehrer + Associates, Los Angeles, CA
- James Stockard, Lecturer in Housing, Harvard Graduate School of Design, Cambridge, MA
- Mark Stodola, Mayor, Little Rock, AR
Next month, Brunder Foundation staff will conduct site visits to each finalist project in preparation for the committee’s selection of the medal winners in June. Staff will spend 2–3 days touring the site, taking photos and interviewing those who are involved in the project. The medalists will receive cash awards to support their projects: one Gold Medal recipient—$50,000, four Silver Medal recipients—$10,000 each. Past winners include Inner-City Arts in Los Angeles, a building complex located in Skid Row designed as a center for teaching inner city children art through afterschool and weekend arts programs.
“The Rudy Bruner Award offers the opportunity to showcase innovative placemaking responses to the needs of American cities and communities,” said Simeon Bruner, founder of the award. “We want to advance discourse about making cities better, and seek outstanding examples to share with those who care about improving our urban environments. There are a surprising number of inventive projects out there, if you just look for them.”