The SteelStacks Arts and Cultural Campus in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania has been named as the winner of the Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence (RBA) Gold Medal. Meanwhile, four other projects won silver medals as the RBA, in celebrating its 30th year, awarded the five winners in recognition of transformative places that positively impact the economic, environmental, and social make-up of American cities.
The SteelStacks Arts and Cultural Campus was awarded the Gold Medal and $50,000. By 1995, the mill, which once supplied steel for WWII battleships, the Chrysler Building, and Golden Gate Bridge, was deserted. The $93.5 million adaptive re-use project was finished in 2016 and turned the abandoned facility into a 9.5-acre mixed-use cultural hub that makes a nod to its industrial past.
This reference to history is achieved through a public plaza that features blast furnaces as a backdrop to more modern structures including the Levitt Pavilion outdoor amphitheater, Bethlehem Visitor Center, ArtsQuest Center, PBS39 public broadcasting center, and Hoover-Mason Trestle Park. A year after its completion, the site has attracted 1.5 million visitors, many of whom attend events taking place such as free outdoor concerts.
“We are honored to be named the 2017 Rudy Bruner Award Gold Medalist for the SteelStacks Arts and Cultural Campus,” said Tony Hanna, executive director of the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Bethlehem. “It’s fitting that the award coincides with the 275th anniversary of the founding of the City of Bethlehem, as the development of the campus embodies many of the same attributes that went into Bethlehem’s development—vision, collaboration, creativity, public engagement, perseverance, tenacity, and commitment. The Redevelopment Authority and its campus partners have provided our community with a public gift, a place that is helping to reinvent and redefine our city while embracing and celebrating its cherished industrial past.”
The four other finalists who were awarded the Silver Medal (along with $10,000 each) are as follows:
Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building
A complex integrating public school headquarters, community meeting space, retail, and transit. (Submitted by City of Boston).
Iberville Offsite Rehabs 1 & 2
New Orleans, LA
The rehabilitation of 46 scattered site historic homes for homeless women and children. (Submitted by Kronberg Wall Architects/Planners).
La Kretz Innovation Campus + Arts District Park
Los Angeles, CA
A demonstration facility promoting clean technologies and the city’s green economy. (Submitted by Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator and John Friedman Alice Kimm Architects).
The 2017 selection committee comprised:
- Knox White – Mayor, Greenville, SC
- Kimberly Driggins – Director of Strategic Planning, City of Detroit Planning and Development Department, Detroit, MI
- David Lee, FAIA – President, Stull and Lee Incorporated, Architects, Boston, MA
- Willett Moss – Principal, CMG Landscape Architecture, San Francisco, CA
- Deidre Schmidt – President & CEO, CommonBond Communities, Minneapolis, MN
- Scot Spencer – Associate Director for Advocacy and Influence, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Baltimore, MD