Monday, October 2, 2023

Design Awards – Commercial, Institutional, Educational, and Multi-Family Residential Design

609 Main

Pickard Chilton
609 Main at Texas is a LEED-CS Platinum certified, high-performance 48-story, 1.85 million gsf Class A tower in Houston. An expansive landscaped roof garden atop the 13-level podium conceals parking for 1700 cars.

It incorporates superior technology defining it as a next-generation office tower, offering tenants greater comfort, efficiency and productivity. The high-performance enclosure maximizes daylight while reducing solar heat gain. With walls of 10-foot, floor-to-ceiling glass with stainless steel accents, near column-free floorplates accommodate flexible workspaces and greater collaborative areas.  A two-story penthouse features an electrochromic glass skylight.

The double-height "hotel-style" lobby features a café, a conference facility, retail space, and a fitness center. Natural stone and wood, stainless steel accents, and interior landscaping attest to the lobby's quality.  A 28-foot tall greenwall and water feature greet visitors while serving as passive cooling elements.

609 Main captures and stores rain in a cistern for future use. In addition to energy-efficient lighting and harmonic-mitigating transformers, heat sensors adjust room temperature for the number of occupants. Efficient building systems include “smart” elevators and a sophisticated “Dual Path” underfloor HVAC system that allows for individual control and constant air purification.

“A glorious prism simultaneously timeless and exuberantly modern, As the tall building meets the ground it is articulated through material and form (a shaved corner) that creates a sense of inhabitation without changing the language of the building. It is unabashedly tall but not brutal.”

Photography Credit: Aker Imaging, and Alan Karchmer

The Karsh Alumni and Visitors Center

Centerbrook Architects

Adjacent to Duke’s main entry to its west campus and the undergraduate and graduate admissions centers, the Karsh Alumni and Visitors Center welcomes visitors as it celebrates Duke’s storied past and promising future.

The complex of four buildings was conceived as a pedestrian village within woodland, organized around a central court and wood cloister. This maintains Duke’s identity as a “University in the forest,” as it concentrates built development to optimize the surrounding woods to be a sustainable and continuous matrix of flora and fauna.

Duke stone (quarried locally) is the exterior base for the large Events Pavilion with precast stone above, as seen on Duke’s campus. The exterior masonry wings contrast with the Events Pavilion’s central steel and glass pavilion; this juxtaposition is reversed in the attached Meeting Pavilion, with glass wings off a solid center. The surrounding terraces of bluestone at the entry and arcades are flush with interior floors for accessibility. Next door, the Forlines House, is an historic preservation, restored for public meetings and offices

The project meets Duke’s proprietary green standards commensurate with LEED Silver.

Jury comment: “The reinterpretation of Gothic Revival as a timber building is intriguing. It speaks to both the first metaphor and the campus architecture.”

Photography Credit: Peter Aaron

McLeod Tyler Wellness Center


The 30,000 SF McLeod Tyler Wellness Center is a beacon for health and wellness situated in the center of campus. The design celebrates the surrounding landscape while incorporating natural stone and custom variations of the campus’s brick vernacular pattern to pay homage to the college’s traditions.

Floor-to-ceiling windows in public spaces provide expansive views of nature and allow abundant daylight to enter the spaces. Biophilic elements are incorporated throughout the interior with the use of natural colors, fabrics, stone, wood, and a large water feature along the main wall in the lobby.

The first floor houses the Student Health Center; multi-purpose spaces; staff offices; and meditation rooms. The second floor houses the Counseling Center, as well as meditation alcoves, conference rooms, and a shared break room with a food preparation area and teaching kitchen. Through this mix of private and public spaces, the search for healing and wellness is not seen only as an isolated endeavor but as a shared, communal experience.

The project achieved LEED Gold certification.

Jury comment: “Very nicely done. a well-rounded design from exterior to interior.”

Photography Credit: David Sundberg, ESTO


Yale Science Building

Pelli Clarke Pelli

Yale University’s Science Building is a 282,500 SF complex that houses Molecular Cellular Developmental Biology, Plant Biology, and Atomic Molecular Optical Physics with associated supporting core facilities. By combining new construction, existing space reconfiguration and renovation, the project provides a unified science campus that revitalizes Yale’s Science Hill by connecting the various science departments physically and experientially.

It refocuses, re-landscapes and restores Science Hill’s open spaces for pedestrian use.  The new, anemometrically placed dining pavilion serves to mitigate the wind that previously made the campus courtyard uninhabitable.

It is sustainably planned, utilizing chilled beams to reduce the project EUI to 50% below Yale’s lab average and 25% lower than the initial EUI goal. Innovative, prefabricated modular HVAC duct and piping racks were designed and installed in the lab module ceilings to speed construction time, reduce waste and provide greater flexibility for future renovations and repairs.  The Yale Science Building is seeking LEED Gold Certification.

Jury comment: “While a big building, the images demonstrate an intimacy in the interior and the adjoining landscape spaces. It appears that the project creates the environment for not only study and research but socialization.”

Photography Credit: Jeff Goldberg, ESTO

01 - Robert_Benson_Amenta Emma Architects_165 Capitol Avenue
03 - Robert_Benson_Amenta Emma Architects_165 Capitol Avenue

165 Capitol Avenue

Amenta Emma Architects

Converting Connecticut’s State Office Building, the new home for Constitutional Offices, into a vibrant, modern 21st-century collaborative workplace, saves a significant building and plays a pivotal role in an urban plan that stitches historic downtown district assets to a one-mile chain of parks, plazas and the renewed Connecticut River waterfront. Designers utilized multiple strategies to return this c. 1931 (Smith & Bassette) building to its grand place in Hartford’s Capitol District.

Jury comment: “Good reuse and renovation of major building - uplifting Government service, and a thoughtfully executed renovation.”

Photography Credit: Robert Benson Photography


Pickard Chilton

2+U creates a space for the community in the heart of downtown Seattle. The space beneath the elevated tower creates a high forest-like canopy above 24,000 square feet of publicly accessible open space that serves the entire neighborhood. Envisioned as first-of-its-kind Urban Village, this multi-level pedestrian experience traverses a 30-foot grade change within a network of ramps, steps, and terraces that recall the passages at nearby Pike Place Market. Publicly accessible elevators and ramps fit seamlessly within the city's system of hill-climb assists, to help people of all abilities.

Targeting LEED-CS Platinum, the 530-foot, 1 million GSF Class-A office tower comprises a 19-story podium and 38-story tower.

Jury comment:  “I applaud the radical opening up of the ground planes, the section describes the success of the building at the ground. The "urban village" is a public space that stitches the city fabric together.”

Photography Credit: Benjamin Benschneider, and Lean Goat Photography


2020 AIA CT 2+U 01
2020 AIA CT 2+U 08


Barack H. Obama Magnet University School

Pickard Chilton
JCJ Architecture 

Located on the campus of Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU), the Barack H. Obama Magnet University School is a New Haven Public School serving 490 pre-K through fourth-grade students. It partners with SCSU’s School of Education to create a new “laboratory school” for graduate students preparing to be teachers. The school meets the standards for “High Performance Schools in Connecticut” and incorporates high performance strategies such as solar panels, a planted green roof, radiant floor heating, and chilled beams.

Jury comment: “The school has good light and openness on the interior making for a pleasant learning environment.”

Photography Credit: Pickard Chilton

Lafayette Hall at Housatonic Community College

Amenta Emma Architects

With a mission to provide educational opportunities to a diverse community, Housatonic Community College (HCC) is prominently located in downtown Bridgeport, CT on the site (and in the structure) of a former shopping mall. A 48,000-sf addition to the main campus building, which was converted to HCC in the mid-1990s, adds critical program areas and radically changes HCC’s relationship to its urban context. No longer set back from the street by a vast concrete plaza and visually lost between abutting structures, the main entry and architectural face of HCC boldly reaches out to the City.

Jury comment: “The section is essential to the design, describing the movement between programs and from interior to exterior. The massing of the building contributes to the campus making a destination, a place, from a former shopping mall.”

Photography Credit: Robert Benson Photography



Sacred Heart University, Bobby Valentine Health & Recreation Center

The SLAM Collaborative

The Health and Recreation Center is a social and fitness “hub” serving student recreation, Club Sports, Intramurals, and Fitness programs. The interior is flooded with daylight and offers panoramic views outward, creating an uplifting fitness experience that encourages participation. Careful planning of the floor areas allows the 3rd floor to be a mezzanine, so that all floor levels can be visually opened to each other as 2-story atria.

Jury comment: “The dynamic shape expresses motion. It seems well suited to its location within the playing fields. I’d like to work out there!”

Photography Credit: Robert Benson Photography

Bedford Square

Centerbrook Architects and Planners

“A thoughtful and highly sympathetic renovation and re-adaption. And it's a multi piece development, and when you walk along the sidewalk, it's just a remarkable improvement and investment. Westport was lucky to have selected this architect.”

Photography Credit: Nathaniel Riley

Bedford Square

Grace Church

The Pavilion at Grace Church

Centerbrook Architects and Planners

“This project demonstrates positive impact for the community in the images provided. The inversion of lighting and structure is an unexpected detail.”

Photography Credit: Jeff Goldberg, ESTO

The Westport Library

HMA2 Architects

“Having lived in Westport I know that there is no public forum available like this one and is a much-needed resource for Westport's vibrant community. It’s a great way to adapt to our changing times.”

Photography Credit: Aida Sulova

05 - Westport Library - Balcony and Forum - Aida Sulova

Urban Design and Planning

Resilient Bridgeport

Yale Urban Design Workshop

An international competition, sponsored by HUD, to promote resilient planning and design in areas affected by Superstorm Sandy asking for a comprehensive approach addressing climate change and flooding caused by rainfall and storm surge and creating a model for living and working along the coastline.

The resulting masterplan allowed the state to leverage additional funding for design of a city-wide Resilient Bridgeport Strategy and construction of pilot projects.  Developed with extensive community consultation, it provides a neighborhood- scale framework for adapting Bridgeport’s South End and Black Rock Harbor to meet the critical challenges of climate change and sea level rise, and the effects of storms on surge and flooding in the city, through innovative thinking about the form of its streets, public spaces, infrastructure networks, and architecture. Perimeter surge protection, dry egress, green and grey stormwater infrastructure, and utility micro-grids are integrated through a comprehensive urban design framework, with strategies for economic development, urban connectivity, and transit.  Through extensive engagement with state and municipal agencies, institutions, nonprofits, business owners, residents and other stakeholders, Resilient Bridgeport establishes a vision for a Bridgeport that is vibrant, safe, and flexible with new opportunities for development and recreation, as well as an attractive, vivid new blue-green public realm.

“Everybody can relate to it and I think it's more meaningful, I thought it was really comprehensive and well done, study addressed a lot of really interesting issues. They show evidence that they were community bases, and I think this was a good example of that.”

Photography Credit Yale Urban Design Workshop and Waggonner and Ball Architecture / Environment