The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has announced the 2015 recipients of its Institute Honor Awards, which it describes as “the profession’s highest recognition of works that exemplify excellence in architecture, interior architecture and urban design.” This year’s 23 recipients were selected from out of about 500 submissions and will be honored at the AIA’s upcoming National Convention and Design Exposition in Atlanta. Here are the winners in the urban design category. Beijing Tianqiao (Sky Bridge) Performing Arts District Master Plan; Beijing, China Skidmore, Owings & Merrill According to the AIA:
Old Tianqiao was once a bustling hub of cultural activities and folk arts traditions ranging from storytelling, variety shows, acrobatics, and operas. The project intends to reestablish the cultural heart of the capital with a collection of modern and traditional performance venues that respect the city’s sensitive, World Heritage context. An integrated design process across many disciplines laid out a series of environmental goals, including reintroducing the historic farm fabric, developing a storm water filtration system, reducing waste by using existing materials, and reducing automobile dependence and carbon footprint by creating walkable neighborhoods around three new subway stations.The BIG U; New York City Bjarke Ingels Group According to the AIA:
The BIG U is a 10-mile protective ribbon around lower Manhattan that addresses vulnerabilities exposed by Superstorm Sandy (2012). The BIG U consists of three components: BIG Bench, Battery Berm, and Bridging Berm. BIG Bench is a continuous protective element adapted to the local context that mediates new and existing infrastructure. The Battery Berm weaves an elevated path through the park, enhancing the public realm while protecting the Financial District and critical transportation infrastructure. This signature building features a “reverse aquarium” that enables visitors to observe tidal variations and sea level rise. The Bridging Berm rises 14 feet by the highways, connecting the coast and communities with greenways.Government Center Garage Redevelopment; Boston CBT Architects According to the AIA:
The redevelopment of the Government Center Garage project is an example of undoing the ills of the 1960's urban renewal in Boston that critically separated six thriving neighborhoods. The plan unlocks neighborhood connections, reopens urban vistas, and creates engaging public spaces by strategically removing a portion of the garage while preserving the remaining structure through creative phasing to provide for a sustainable and economically feasible redevelopment. The project introduces 3 million square-feet of housing dominant mixed-use program to downtown, creating a dynamic 24-hour neighborhood as a model for sustainable, transit-oriented development. The project also sets up a new position for urban design in Boston by shaping the urban form to respond to acute desire lines of a pre-grid city and promoting slender building typologies.Target Field Station; Minneapolis EE&K a Perkins Eastman company According to the AIA:
Target Field Station, which opened in May 2014, is a distinct transit station located in the heart of Minneapolis’ revitalized North Loop neighborhood. By combining sustainable design, open public space, and private development, all linked seamlessly with varying modes of transit, Target Field Station sets the bar for how modern cities leverage transit design to create iconic cultural centers.