While architecture and design firms across the country and around the world gear up to register (the deadline is November 3) for The Architect's Newspaper's 2015 Best Of Design Awards, we'd like to take the opportunity to introduce this year's jury. As with last year, we invited a group of prominent design professionals whose expertise covers the nine categories in which we are giving awards. Collectively, they will lend their broad experience and individual perspectives to what is certain to be the very difficult task of choosing the best of many sterling projects. Thomas Balsley is the founder and design principal of New York City–based landscape architecture, site planning, and urban design firm Thomas Balsley Associates (TBA). Founded in the early 1970s, TBA has completed a range of work from feasibility planning studies to built urban parks, waterfronts, corporate, commercial, institutional, residential, and recreational landscapes. In New York City alone, the firm has designed more than 100 public landscapes, including Peggy Rockefeller Plaza, Chelsea Waterside Park, Riverside Park South, and the Queens West parks Gantry Plaza State Park and Hunters Point Community Park. Winka Dubbeldam is founder and principal of Archi-Techtonics and the Chair of the Graduate Architecture School at PennDesign, Philadelphia. Since 1994, Archi-Techtonics has completed multiple ground-up buildings and renovations, including 497 Greenwich in New York City's Soho neighborhood, which combines the renovation of a 19th-century warehouse with the construction of an 11-story "smart loft." The firm has also received many awards, including The Architecture League of New York's 2011 Emerging Voices award. Kenneth Drucker has been director of design in HOK's New York City office since 1998. During that time he's lead the design process on all kinds of projects around the globe, including the Harlem Hospital Modernization in New York, the Sheraton Incheon Hotel in South Korea, and the University of Buffalo School of Medicine in Buffalo, New York. He is also a member of HOK's board of directors and design board. Chris McVoy has been with Steven Holl Architects since 1993. He made partner in 2000. He has been the partner-in-charge and co-designer for the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, the Whitney Water Purification Facility and Park, the Campbell Sports Center at Columbia University, and the Glasgow School of Art. He is currently partner-in-charge for the Institute for Contemporary Art at VCU, and the new Visual Arts Building at the University of Iowa. Craig Schwitter founded Buro Happold's first North American office in 1999. With more than 20 years of experience, he has led the multi-disciplinary engineering process on multiple project types, including educational, performing arts, cultural, civic, stadia, transportation, and master planning projects. Under his direction Buro Happold has developed the Adaptive Building Initiative and G. Works, both related industry efforts that address today’s critical low carbon and high performance building design issues. Annabelle Selldorf is principal of Selldorf Architects, which she founded in 1988. The firm has worked on public and private projects that range from museums and libraries to a recycling facility; and at scales from the construction of new buildings to the restoration of historic interiors and furniture design. She is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, an Academician of the National Academy Museum, and seves on the Board of the Architectural League of New York and the Chinati Foundation. Erik Tietz and Andrew Baccon founded digital design and fabrication studio Tietz-Baccon in 2007. The studio has realized custom architectural elements and installations for a broad spectrum of clients that range from Asymptote Architects and Belzberg Architects, to Tiffany & Co. and The Museum of Modern Art. The firm works on every stage of a project, from conception to prototyping to fabrication and installation.
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The Architect's Newspaper is proud to announce its second annual Best Of Design Awards. This year we are accepting submissions of completed works from students and design professionals in nine different categories. The categories showcase building typologies and building elements that reflect the interests of our readership, including residential work, landscape and facade design, fabrication projects, built student work, interiors, and the much coveted Building of the Year. Submissions will be judged by a blind jury made up of AN editors, prominent architects, and members of allied fields, including Annabelle Selldorf of Selldorf Architects, Craig Schwitter of BuroHappold, Kenneth Drucker of HOK, Thomas Balsley of Thomas Balsley Associates, and Erik Tietz of digital design and fabrication studio Tietz-Baccon. Registration opens today and will close on November 3. Submissions are due by December 7. The jury will convene on December 12. The winners will be published in AN's January 2015 print issues. For full details on the 2015 Best Of Design Awards, as well as to register and submit your projects, visit our Best Of Design Awards website. Last year AN accepted submissions in six categories.Check out all the winners and honorable mentions here: Building of the Year, Best Fabrication, Best Facade, Best Interior, Best Landscape, and Best Student Built Work.
Tietz-Baccon fabricated a 7-foot by 23-foot freestanding wall, and a 10-foot by 160-foot decorative wall for Enova's Chicago offices.As more and more companies embrace open workspaces that support collaborative and impromptu group work, acoustics are of utmost importance to employee productivity. To craft sound-absorbing feature walls for the Chicago offices of financial firm Enova, Brininstool + Lynch turned to fabrication studio Tietz-Baccon. Their six-person facility in Long Island City, New York, makes bespoke solutions for a variety of design-minded clients who appreciate—and ultimately benefit from—the founders' architectural background: Erik Tietz and Andrew Baccon met as students at Harvard's Graduate School of Design. "On the fabrication end, we take nonstandard projects and make them achievable by relying heavily on our digital capabilities," Baccon said. "Brininstool + Lynch had a concept that was worked out very well and was looking for someone who could execute on a tight budget in a short period of time." According to Baccon, the architects came to the fabricators with a family of shapes and a way of aggregating them, which was then applied to different materials, helping Tietz-Baccon deliver finished projects very close to the firm's original requests. "There was good collaborative discussion, and a back-and-forth to tweak and bring the concept to realization. They didn't have to compromise their idea that much." A free-standing "stack" wall serves as a spatial divider that doubles for heavy-duty sound mitigation. Realized in Micore® mineral fiberboard, 3/4-inch strips of the porous and lightweight material were CNC-milled to form a 7-foot by 23-foot wall between a cafe area and workstations. Selected for its acoustical absorption, exceptionally light weight, and varying density availability, Micore® had an appealing tactile quality that agreed with the architects' design. "All the selected shapes are related and contribute to material efficiency," Baccon says. "We extrapolated [from that premise] to tweak the scale and amplitude of the surface but tried to remain true to their initial approach." The "fin" wall, the larger of Tietz-Baccon's contributions at 10 feet by 160 feet, also serves to soften noise from bouncing off the preexisting wall. Three-quarter-inch strips of MDF in dozens of individual sizes are installed as a series of sets to produce a unique rhythm. Raw material was juxtaposed against lacquered MDF at the bottom that alternates for textural variation as well as durability. Each "rib" can be removed to replace bulbs in the concealed lighting scheme or for necessary repairs, and the lacquer safeguards the MDF from task chair run-ins or related daily impacts. "The most interesting part of this was trying to use the material in a slightly different way without affecting the durability or lifespan of the project," said Baccon, referring to the unconventionally exposed edges. "There is a strong presence of other materials, for example bespoke concrete next to highly refined acrylic panels with backlighting, so it's the juxtaposition of the really refined next to the raw that helps us understand the materiality." The architects introduced their concept for the fin wall with 2D drawings. Tietz-Baccon modeled the third dimension in Rhino and realized the final product with a CNC router. Each rib fits within a registered slot on an aluminum laminate track, and is locked into place with a shelf plate at the bottom. The entire system is secured with a series of water jet–cut aluminum mounting fins screwed into the preexisting wall.